Loyalty programs are an integral part of offline marketing and have been for years. They create a bond between the brand and the customer. Buy a product, receive adhesive, stick adhesive on a loyalty card, take the full trading card to customer service or send it by mail and receive a reward. Stop. What reads like a loyalty program from the last millennium is, hard to believe, still in circulation today. But the time has come to change this. Read this article to find out how your marketing department can use a digital, data-driven loyalty program with AI-based OCR (optical character recognition) software.

Admittedly, most companies are not that far behind, as illustrated. But you see what the point is. Even the most irresistible of loyalty offers makes little sense if the loyalty program process is too complicated and too lengthy,  customers the less they jump on the bandwagon, or – even worse – they turn directly to your competitors.

To avoid such unnecessary trouble in the future, loyalty programs should be rethought from the ground up. You want another reason for doing so? Here you have one. The data that can be obtained on one of these loyalty cards is of limited use and generates relatively little additional data. But we agree that “Data” is king. While the technology boom in recent years has shifted the focus increasingly to online marketing, it is now essential to integrate digital components in offline marketing and loyalty programs as well. Capitalize on the fact that practically every customer always carries his cell phone in his pocket: after a purchase, the customer simply pulls out his cell phone and takes a photo of the receipt via the loyalty application. That is all. The rest is done by the software, which automatically extracts all relevant data from the photo, including simultaneous crediting and adding to any existing loyalty points. Everything is simply stored in one place and always available. Tedious collecting, storing (and therefore constant risk of loss) of a cards is no longer necessary.

Apart from the fact that a digital loyalty program makes life easier for customers around their purchases, it also has numerous advantages for your marketing team. Especially if you sell your products through middlemen and places where direct customer contact or customer loyalty is already difficult anyway. This is where a digital loyalty program can create customer proximity. At the same time, leading brands, for example, can of course also see directly whether the products sell equally well or even better at the intermediary than through their own sales force. As you can see, you tend to gain a clear insight and can validate hypotheses with hard data.

By integrating a powerful extraction solution into a digital loyalty program, you open up new possibilities. Every single receipt becomes a holy grail for your marketing team. OCR automatically extracts relevant customer transaction data from the receipt:

  • Where was the product purchased?
  • When was the product purchased?
  • What other products were purchased at the same time?
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“Data is king”

As you certainly know much better than I do, customer data is clearly the fundamental basis for a successful digital loyalty program. To take the design and scaling of it to the next level and to bring more relevant data into the process, there are several possible solutions. Regardless of the approach, however, a highly functional OCR solution should always be part of the concept, so that you can safely increase the processing volume and minimize process costs, which ultimately enables more meaningful clustering of target groups due to more data, and can lead to more effective and efficient marketing initiatives. In other words: Moving away from a general “one size fits all” program to precise, personalized loyalty and reward offers tailored to the individual customer. Customers with different demographics, with different preferences and therefore different buying behavior can decide for themselves how they collect points and what loyalty rewards they receive.

A digital and practical loyalty program is essential for the customer of the future. But the design of a digital loyalty program in the form of data also offers very valuable advantages for marketing, resulting in a win-win solution.

We are happy to advise you and support you in your initiative so that you too can benefit from the added value of new opportunities and create a modern, appealing customer experience.