The Rewards Matrix
Customers buy products on-line and in retail stores as part of their every-day life. Given the ease of access and variety of choice available on the internet there is a constant opportunity to search out new experiences and better deals. This makes creating and maintaining customer loyalty very difficult for any retailer.
Our aim is to create loyalty by giving the customer a relevant and compelling experience paid for by the rewards he gains from buying from a specific store. His loyalty account will offer him access to one or more portal sites catering to his interests, in which he can see news, interviews, audio and video content and have access to relevant retail content which he can buy with points instead of cash. Entertainment content is expensive to produce, so we as the portal need to find new and interesting content economically. By partnering with bloggers and smartphone apps who are looking for an audience we can reach a symbiotic relationship – we send them clients with “free money” in their pockets and they entertain them for us.
The odd couples
Rewards networks are nothing new, pooling customers to keep them within a retail group has been tried before with varying levels of success. The biggest hurdle for these networks tends to be the time taken to work up enough points to get the first reward. In a world of immediate satisfaction a player would need to be very motivated to offer loyalty for a reward which looked too distant to be achievable.
To counteract this ‘rewards-lag’ we have put together a carefully matched set of partners. Retailers with large player-spends will build up players rewards balances very quickly, and low-price-point partners such as phone apps will offer buying opportunities which are almost immediately attainable. House stores offering premium videos allow us to offer free ‘movie tickets’ on first deposits. By offering our players immediate access to a variety of content we can lock them in to the buy-to-win mentality which adds value to any purchase.
Accounting for tastes
The portal website sits between the spend and the rewards for a customer. Allowing our members to tailor their experience on the portal site means that we can offer them content which they are looking for, and which will lead them to the spend that maximizes their pleasure. In the case of music, the portal which lives at www.RockMyWorld.com, allows the user to define his tastes simply by choosing the genre of headlines and music feeds he is interested in.
The house stores on this site are the book store, the screening room, the box office ticket store, music-based dating the clothing store, jewelry store and the memorabilia room. The partner apps cover karaoke, song lyrics, music messaging, gig guides, new bands, games and more. A group of twelve apps highlighted at any time gives the player lots of choice but allows us to send enough traffic to each app that they see serious traffic. Adding a new app every two weeks and retiring one from the front page means there is always something new on the site.
The news articles cover opinion and reviews, as well as interviews, the agony column, social feeds such as reviews and commentary and plenty of interaction with users. By linking to all social media platforms (the comment feeds for each article are Twitter based, gigs build into Pinterest galleries and reviews can post directly to Facebook walls), we optimize our web presence and search engine performance.
The online mall
We can imagine the matrix as a series of online shopping malls, each of which has two or three ‘anchor tenants’ and a number of speciality boutiques. The anchor tenants bring the clients in by dint of their name and reputation, and the boutiques round off the shopping experience. Add in a constant stream of entertainment in the mall concourse, a movie theatre and live music and you have a true destination. The value in the concept is the relationship between all parties.
The commercial basis
All parties involved in the matrix should see positive benefits from membership:
- Their players gain gain a richer buying experience, and see the retailer as offering added value to each purchase.
- By giving rewards points on all purchases they become the source of that experience, encouraging re-purchase.
- By introducing players into the matrix they will earn a commission on all purchases ‘their’ players make on any other partner store. This can produce a very real secondary income, particularly for the smaller app partners.
- Being part of the matrix and having their sites promoted on the portal and in other partners sites will expose them to a large and friendly audience.
- Matrix players will be able to log in and buy from any partner store using a single ID and buy products without giving out their payment information when using rewards points.
The Rewards Matrix – firstname.lastname@example.org