Goodbye stamp cards – Customer loyalty becomes digital

Goodbye stamp cards – Customer loyalty becomes digital

The first form of loyalty program is assumed to go back to the late 18th century, when American retailers began to provide copper tokens to their customers for their purchases, which they could redeem for products during future purchases. A clever marketing strategy, while the term marketing probably did not even exist. Modern customer loyalty programs, as they are known today, go back to the yearly 1980s, when American Airlines started its frequent flier program. Since then, an entire industry has arisen from this program and there are wide-ranging variations of customer loyalty programs. Royalty programs have been established especially in the retail industry, but also in hotel and gastronomy. And it is no wonder, because the end consumers, in particular, enjoy the small gifts they receive for constantly collecting points. Now, since digitalization makes its way in all business segments – or has already done so – it is no wonder, that the Loyalty Program is also digitalized. Although the practically already classical stamp cards are still present today in the case of bakeries, who offer every tenth coffee on-the-house, still today there are digital programs, too, which are growing in popularity. Especially because they cut the costs.


Technology allows cross-channel experiences

Loyalty programs have outgrown the days of paper and have evolved into mobile applications. And this is especially due to the customers’ wishes, since they desire a wireless, cross-channel experience, which allows them to access and redeem their points over several channels. Brands can do this and much more using technology. Thus, companies can now use mobile apps to provide, for instance, self-service to their customers. This allows travellers to book their room and the app offers self-check-in, without turning to the reception. Regardless of the time when you get to the hotel, you can go to your room directly – very simple and convenient. A lot is being tried out with virtual reality, too, because it allows customers, for instance, to “test products before purchasing them”. A promising retail service, which can be integrated by brands into their loyalty programs, so that loyal customers have a better experience with the brand in terms of purchase. Social Listening can help brands understand the needs of their customers. Digitalisation makes it possible and many companies still do not make the most of the potential of customer loyalty programs.


The future lies in customisation

The loyalty program of the future could, namely should be a program which brings the customer and the brand together, allowing them to develop a customized loyalty program, based on a series of exciting components. Loyalty programs should provide more relevant and personal brand experiences, so that each customer receives exactly that bonus which makes sense for him and offers him added value.

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