At Blackhawk, we specialise in developing innovative incentive technologies to influence customer behaviour and help drive growth for our customers. We sit down with Will to chat through the importance of digital solutions at a time when digital channels have never been more crucial in business.
Blackhawk: In one sentence, what does your role involve?
Will: I look at how our solutions can help our clients grow through acquisition of new customers, retention of existing customers or increasing revenue per customer.
Blackhawk: We’re seeing some challenging times ahead with consumer spending, how are Blackhawk working with brands to support their businesses?
Will: We are fortunate to have very close relationships with our customers. We are working with them to identify their individual needs and challenges and helping them with a response. Sometimes this is with a product or service of ours and sometimes it’s not. The important focus right now is collaboration and tailoring solutions for this new world. Our teams are getting very used to Zoom-based brainstorming and very fast turn arounds!
Blackhawk: Why is it now more important than ever for brands and retailers to consider their digital channels?
Will: It is amazing how quickly we are all adapting to a digital-based world. Whilst most of these channels have always been available, they are now not optional and, in many instances, the only channel to have a direct relationship with a customer. This will have a significant impact on the reputation of each brand and retailer in the customer’s eyes. If a customer has a poor digital experience, this will be amplified in the current environment.
Blackhawk: Why do you think people are demanding personalised services and expect the opportunity to shape the products and services they consume?
Will: Today’s consumer has an expectation of personalisation. The digital world has meant that organisations have almost limitless data to provide a tailored solution and a tailored journey. It also means that the competitive landscape online is global – the experience a customer has with Google or Facebook or Amazon is now the expectation for any online experience. This environment has led to customers expecting the ability to personalise the things they buy. The rise of personalised products through platforms like Etzy and brands like Nike by you and Vans has meant customers don’t need to be told what they need – they want to design their own solution for their own needs.
Blackhawk: How do you see this trend evolving and what is Blackhawk working on to respond?
Will: As an incentive-based growth company, we need to ensure our incentives are relevant and attractive enough to influence behaviour. This has led to the launch of our SwitchIt product which allows customers to choose how and where they redeem their own incentive – customising their reward gives a personalised touch that will bring the customer and the brand closer together.
Blackhawk: What excites you about SwitchIt Gift Cards?
Will: I love the ability to completely open our range of incentives through one card. It means we’re not turning anybody off the incentive by forcing a single redemption partner. These cards will be as good as cash!
Blackhawk: How does Blackhawk work with brands and retailers to create products consumers want?
Will: One of the benefits of the agile way we develop products is that we can be incredibly nimble in our response to consumer trends and demands. We work closely with our research partners, review our own usage data and work with our brands and retailers to continually develop cutting edge solutions (pun intended).
Blackhawk: Digital and mobile solutions are becoming more and more popular. What’s the most important thing to consider when creating a new product?
Will: The customer! Always start with what the customer wants, what they are comfortable using and how to deliver it to them efficiently as possible.