At LoyalTap, we’ll be the first to tell you that coalition loyalty programs are awesome.
We’ve written about this before, but it’s worth reiterating: coalition loyalty programs encourage loyalty on a deeper level because they get more businesses involved, more customers engaged, and create a genuine community that can thrive.
All of that is great, but it begs the question: if coalition loyalty is so great, why isn’t every business doing it?
Well, there are a few reasons. For one thing, the truth is that some businesses don’t need loyalty programs. Luxury jewelers, for instance, aren’t particularly inspired to create loyalty programs when they only see customers once every ten years or so. Some corporate titans, like Apple, rely only on the reputation of their brand to foster loyalty. And let’s be real; it’s hard to imagine Apple teaming up for a coalition loyalty program (although even they might be wise to consider it).
What about everyone else, though? It would seem that the great majority of businesses could benefit from coalition loyalty. What’s stopping them?
Coordination of the program is the biggest barrier to coalition loyalty programs. In sports, coordination means smoothly and efficiently using the different parts of your body to perform tasks. Uncoordinated people don’t tend to do too well in athletic endeavors (trust me, I know).
In the same way, coalition loyalty programs that lack coordination often end up performing poorly or even looking a bit awkward.
Simply put, getting a group of businesses to do anything can be a challenge. Getting them to do it together is even harder. Here are a few ways this can play out.
Disparities in Promotion
The first way that a coalition loyalty program can lose coordination is through disparities in promotion between businesses. One business, for example, might promote a coalition loyalty program very well in-store, with highly visible signage and great featured offers. The business down the street, though, might not hold up their end of the bargain, offering little visible signage or failing to promote their program offers.
The disparity between businesses can confuse customers and end up dragging the program down.
Lack of Employee Training
When a coalition loyalty program involves twenty businesses, it means that there are probably hundreds of employees that need to be trained to assist customers with the program. That can be a challenge, especially when one business can train their employees well only to see another store neglect employee training.
Finally, coordinating a coalition loyalty program means getting a group of businesses to maintain their promotions, rewards, and offerings. If some businesses are constantly updating their users about new offers, and others have set a single offer or let a promotion expire, the incongruence will be confusing to customers.
So, coordination is the barrier to coalition loyalty. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome it.
An Easy-To-Use Platform
The program should be easy enough for every business to use, without too much training. This makes getting all merchants on the same page much easier, and it means that there are fewer instances of poor employee training.
The platform should also be able to suit each business’ individual needs. It needs to be able to represent the concept of loyalty for counter service restaurants and clothing boutiques, all in a way that makes things easy to set up for businesses, and easy to understand for customers.
A Community Organizer
This might be the key to coalition loyalty: there should be an entity responsible for the program’s success. This entity is the brains of the operation. Just like an athlete’s mind, the community organizer needs to synthesize moving parts to act together. Without some form of oversight over the program, a coalition loyalty program will end up dissolving into its separate businesses.
At LoyalTap, we strongly believe in the concept of coalition loyalty. Community loyalty is what we’re all about. That’s why we’ve designed our product to be as conducive as possible to great coalition coordination.
We provide a white-label platform that is easy to use, but customizable enough to work for everyone. And we provide reporting and tools for the community organizer, like our Community Panel, that make coordinating the program as easy as possible.
To learn more about how LoyalTap is helping coalition loyalty programs get coordinated, get in touch with us.