When Loyalty Programs Go Bad

We all know that when it comes to marketing, loyalty programs, buying clubs and the like are great tools, but only if you use them right. Like any other tool, these things can prove very useful or they can do a lot of unintended damage. While perusing one of my favorite sites, consumerist.com, I ran across a couple of stories that illustrate just how not to manage your company’s loyalty program, an object lesson in the need to keep the corporate chaos to a minimum.  Loyalty in the Reward Zone It begins with Best Buy. This big-box behemoth offers a rewards program called “Reward Zone Premiere Silver,” a bigger and more rewards-intensive version of its original free Rewards Zone program; and as if to demonstrate that they take the concept of “customer rewards” very seriously, they restrict membership to those who spend at least $2,500 each calendar year. Your reward for supporting Best Buy l... [Read Full Article]


Customer Stereotyping Leaves a Bad Impression

Every retailer has a strategy on how to best serve a customer that walks through the front door. There's nothing insidious about that. Tailoring your initial approach to someone based on their gender, age, or general appearance is not anything new, and people on both ends of the experience have become accustomed to certain norms that are both socially and morally acceptable. A man walking into a lingerie store, for example, will draw a different reaction than a woman. Is he shopping for his wife? Himself? Is he a pervert? Maybe he's just lost? All of which are legitimate questions that may come to mind in the initial few seconds he enters the establishment. What is new in big box corporate America is the practice of developing whole personas for customers. These personas come complete with fictitious names and backgrounds that incorporate family structure, moral values, emotional needs and wants, attitudes and psyche. There are even more precise sub-set types for each persona. Acco... [Read Full Article]