Like millions of American consumers, I prepare for the holiday season with two important lists - my wish list and the list of loved ones I plan to shop for. And every year, my wish list gets shorter and my shop list seems to get longer. But for marketers, there is a third list to consider. Where will we go to buy all this stuff?
New data suggests that the all-important third list is pretty well decided by the time holiday shopping season arrives. A whopping 60 percent of American shoppers polled by Colloquy for its Holiday Loyalty Shopper Study plan to save money on holiday gift purchases by using loyalty program rewards they've earned.
In other words, we'll shop where our patronage has already been rewarded with personalization and attention to our privacy concerns. And for any company who has failed to innovate or advance on these essential fronts, the news only gets worse: the biggest growth in loyalty redemption toward gift shopping is among millennials.
According to the survey, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds planning to use points or loyalty rewards on gifts in 2014 will rise by more than 40 percent. And their parents and grandparents aren’t far behind. More than 60 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds plan to cash in rewards points for gifts, a 19 percent rise over 2013 and more than half of consumers 45 years old and older say they'll trade in points to use as gifts in 2014, which represents a 20 percent increase over 2013.
Loyalty programs fueled by preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication - will clearly deliver significant returns this holiday season.
For the companies who continue to struggle on loyalty, the holidays represent an important opportunity to build towards a better 2015. Increased web traffic powered by sales and rebates can boost an opt-in list and significantly expand the prospect and customer pool. Honoring the preferences of those new customers and, over time, delivering a personalized experience will ensure inclusion on that all-important third list next Christmas.
Robert Galop is the Senior Director of Product Architecture for PossibleNOW.
Labels: communication channel preference, data, frequency of communication, loyalty programs, personalization, preference management, Privacy, product interest