TRENDS IN LOYALTY FOR 2019
An interview with the people from Fanly by Matthijs Wolff
1. Increased integration of Payment
No better timing to look at the upcoming trends in the business than the end of the year. And no better people to speak to about loyalty and engagement than my expert colleagues at Fanly. I recently joined Fanly to head up the business development and marketing activities. And it’s great fun so far. Because Fanly is not just about loyalty. It is about creating engagement opportunities with clients, about anticipating on the upcoming demand for mobile payment options and about developing and creating new ways for QSR’s to integrate and renew their ordering and delivery systems. Time for CEO Bas Jongerius and head of product Floris Heeg to reveal some 2019 loyalty & engagement secrets. The first question on the table at our Amsterdam Herengracht office is:
We are the loyalty platform experts. What trends will we see and implement in 2019?
Bas: ‘First of all we think it is not really fair anymore to speak about loyalty platforms. Every time I hear about that I have a connotation with the old-fashioned plastic cards. Getting rewards and points is still a part of the platforms we develop and maintain, but there are way more features than that. At Fanly we position ourselves as creators and innovators in loyalty, engagement and payment platforms. For 2019 the most important trend in digital loyalty will be the growing importance of platform integrated mobile payment options.’
Floris: ‘I agree. Our Bagels & Beans platform already consists of a much-used wallet option. In the US the Starbucks wallet is already the most used in-store mobile payment method, as in it’s bigger than Apple Pay and Google Pay. I think it’s a no-brainer that seamless payment methods will be a big hit in 2019, especially for the so called ‘love brands’ and supermarkets. Consumers are willing to use apps of their favorite brands when purchasing goods online or in a store, and retailers will prefer that traffic on their own platforms above the external ones.’
2. Introduction of AI for CRM and engagement
Okay, so we will be able to order and pay out of our retailer loyalty app. Any really new technology upcoming?
Floris: ’When you look at the engagement and CRM aspects of cloud-based loyalty platforms, I think you will see the increasing use of AI and chatbots. I know this may sound a bit scary, but you shouldn’t be scared about this.’
Bas: ‘Data science, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, and chatbots are not just buzzwords. When you look at the big cloud companies and the way they are moving there is no doubt that AI and chatbots are really getting good. We have a very solid Google Cloud partner In Qlouder, and through them, we are on top of all latest developments. A lot of this technology is already good enough for smooth consumer adoption.’
3. Integration of omnichannel into loyalty platforms
Does this mean there will more of an online aspect to shopping?
Bas: ‘Well, let’s say the boundaries between online shopping and physical shops are fading away… Loyalty is not an extension to the customer journey anymore, but loyalty, engagement, and payment are a full part of the customer journey. They are all mature touch points in the customer journey. Retailers, but also quick service restaurants and even professional sports clubs we speak to all agree that online and brick & mortar will come together in their loyalty environment. We knew that already, but I guess it always takes some time for organizations to evolve accordingly.’
Floris: In 2019 we will move from mobile first to mobile only. With our platform, we create new touchpoints in the shopping experience of the consumer and add extra value to existing touchpoints. Bas already mentioned the boundaries between online shopping and physical shops will slowly fade away. This will be the result of the increasing quality of seamless experience via mobile features like direct payment, (skip the line) ordering, engagement and personal service (chatbots).
4. Reward segmentation and innovation
So, I get it that loyalty is not just loyalty but there are a lot more bricks that are building your platforms. But there is still a large part of rewarding customers to choose for a specific brand, shop or restaurant, right? Do you expect any innovations there in 2019?
Floris: ‘Loyalty is indeed still very much about rewarding consumers for spending their money at your business. Fanly is all about digital and innovations. We are no longer restricted to the old-fashioned way of loyalty. And neither are our clients for that matter. It is really exciting to work on truly new reward methods. And there really are no limits. With professional football clubs, we are determining which type of rewards are suitable for their endlessly loyal fans. With a very trendy restaurant chain here in the Netherlands we have come up with a reward scheme based on hidden gems: you never know when to hit the next reward tier, but you know you want to be there.’
5. Supplier brand partnerships
Sounds like we are going to have an exciting year coming up. But will the Fanly clients make more money in 2019 because of our platform and apps?
Bas: ‘We already know from clients like Bagels & Beans, but also Doppio Espresso and The Sunflower that consumers using the apps are visiting their stores more often, and they spend more on one visit. So that is a clear yes. We also know that the data and dashboard to access and process the data are extremely valuable. The Sunflower Black Friday offer showed the enormous power of personal engagement with consumers. So that is a yes again. But we are foreseeing another trend in brand partnerships. We all know that supermarket chains thrive with the business they have with suppliers regarding in shelf positioning of goods. We are seeing a similar demand in loyalty. Mid-market supermarkets want to include their suppliers into the loyalty schemes. This will give those suppliers more visibility for their brand, and likely some valuable data and it’s a great addition to the business model of the supermarkets.’
Thanks for sharing your vision guys. If your predictions are accurate we will be having a fun and busy 2019.