Blackhawk Network’s CMO Teri Llach Reveals Loyalty-Building Tips for Retailers to Consider Beyond the Holiday Season on


Blackhawk Network’s CMO Teri Llach shared loyalty-building tips that retailers should keep top of mind year-round. The full article ran on, which requires a (free) subscription to read. In case you missed it, the full article is below!

Providing a convenient and pleasurable shopping experience ultimately helps retailers to build long-lasting customer relationships. To help encourage customer loyalty far beyond the holiday season, retailers should consider the following tips to ensure consumers have a seamless shopping experience no matter the time of year.

Ensure that omnichannel offerings are seamless. Our survey findings1 show that consumers use a variety of methods when researching and purchasing gifts. For example, shoppers may look online to research the best deals or options, but then they may visit a physical retail outlet to actually purchase an item, and vice versa. Given these shopper habits, it is imperative for retailers to meet consumer needs across multiple channels and provide a consistent and easy-to-use brand experience to earn customer loyalty.

With digital retailers offering free and same day delivery; providing “buy online, pick up in-store” options; making it easier than ever before to return items purchased online; and simplifying purchases with the use of “buy buttons”, brick-and-mortar retailers must also incorporate similar digital offerings.

Use prepaid cards to reward shoppers. Gift cards remain popular, with 60 percent of consumers surveyed saying they planned on giving some type of gift card this holiday season. Gift cards are also popular gifts beyond the holiday season, and consumers are using them as a tool to stay within a budget or to find discounts on daily shopping trips.

Marketers should pay attention to the growth of digital gift cards—or egifts—as a way to earn shopper loyalty. There are two data points about egift trends to note. First, of consumers who planned to give gift cards this year, 27 percent planned on giving egifts or e-codes. To encourage greater egifting, it is important for retailers to make the process easy for shoppers and recipients. Consumers say they would give egifts primarily because they are a quick way to send a gift (53 percent) and are simple and convenient options for the gift giver (50 percent). However, 44 percent say they are concerned about how easy it would be for recipients to redeem egifts, meaning there needs to be more promotion by retailers about the acceptance of these products.

Secondly, there is data to indicate consumers are using egifts for self-use. Our research2 shows that consumers purchase and receive egifts for different reasons, like through a discount or a reward program for self-use. The prevalence of consumers purchasing egifts at a discount or receiving them through reward or rebate offerings is evident as well, with 37 percent having purchased an egift at a discounted rate and 65 percent having received an egift as part of a rebate or reward program within the last year. The majority of those recipients have kept their egift to use themselves. These findings show the increasing prevalence of egifts and emphasize the importance of having a seamless process in place for selling, promoting, and acceptance beyond the holiday season.

Use social media for ecommerce and to promote deals. Millennials’ use of social media as a way to shop and find deals has changed the face of retail shopping, according to findings from our incentives division3, Blackhawk Engagement Solutions. With the weight of their numbers, and size of their combined wallets, millennials are unintentionally disrupting established shopping patterns with the ways they research and purchase products.

Additionally, millennials are hypersensitive to price, listing it as their first consideration over quality, brand, store and availability, and they’ll comparison shop and track down offers until they get the one they want. They’ll also gladly take a rebate later over an instant discount to save a greater amount, and almost 90 percent of them would consider buying something online and then picking it up in store (BOPIS) to save $10 on a $50 item. In fact, more than half have already done so in the past six months.

With the holiday season wrapping up, it’s a perfect time for retailers and marketers to reflect on what the make-or-breaks were for this year’s shopper. The New Year provides a great time to implement a new customer experience strategy.

1 Blackhawk Network’s Online and Mobile Gifting Survey was conducted in September 2015. The sample size included 1,140 American respondents.
2 Blackhawk Network’s Gift Cards for Self-Use and Gifting Survey was conducted in October 2015. The sample size included 1,000 American respondents.
3 The Millennials Disrupt Shopping Report is comprised from the findings of two Internet-based surveys conducted by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions: Where It’s At, A Connected Shopper Study: Millennials, was conducted from April 1, 2015 to April 17, 2015. The sample size included 546 American respondents ages 18 to 29. Gift Card and Shopping App Study was conducted from October 23, 2015 to October 30, 2015. The sample size included 500 American respondents ages 18 to 29.

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