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The military community is comprised of nearly 30 million consumers with a purchasing power of over $1 trillion annually. This includes active duty, reservists, the National Guard, retirees, military employees, and veterans, plus their spouses and other dependents. With so many deserving consumers in this group, it’s no surprise that many companies try to give exclusive offers to the military community, however, many don’t know how to create a success military discount program that provides value to these special customers. Working closely with hundreds of clients, we’ve pulled together the 5 proven ways you can create a successful military discount program: + - Unfortunately, there are many not-so-honest companies out there trying to take advantage of the military community, and most military members see right through it. Before you launch a military discount, take a look at your company culture. Recognize your employees who have served and get them involved with the campaign. They will be able to give your insight into the military community and a better understanding to create a military-friendly message that is genuine.

Word of mouth 

Although marketers have a love/hate relationship with word-of-mouth, there is no way of getting around this powerful tool within the military community. The military community is a tight knit group that trust each other’s opinion. In fact, 76% of the military community say they learn about military discounts from word of mouth - just another reason to create a genuine experience for your military customers from the get-go. It’s important to pay special attention to what is being said about your military discounts so you can make changes based on feedback.

When it comes to customer loyalty, there is no perfect equation. Formulas vary from brand to brand, while technology plays a pivotal role in both deterring and generating repeat purchasing. While customer loyalty has always been an elusive, yet vital part of any successful business, recent years have proven that a focus on personalization and “getting to know the customer” are essential to keeping customers coming back. With that said, studies also show that discounts and promotions tend to drive conversion rates, with up to 50% of consumers nothing that they only make a purchase when an offer or promotion is involved. Taking that one step further, a 2017 study published by Capgemini Consulting found that 65% of customers are frustrated when discounts and promotions for retail stores are not personalized. But, these are just stats right? Over the years, our clients have shown that these stats are true. From offering exclusive promotions on tickets to military families, to creating special promotions specifically to help students during back-to-school, we’ve pulled just a few examples of how our clients are using exclusive discounts to better reach their customers and generate customer loyalty for the long-term.

Investing in a personalized customer experience is a win-win situation, both for today’s businesses and for their customers. As marketers serve up seamless experiences that include personalized features such as the perfect article, product recommendation, discount, or email messages, consumers are responding with more meaningful engagements, quicker conversions, increased spending, and most importantly, ongoing loyalty. So where else does the ROI come in? Nine out of ten consumers say that personalization has some impact on their purchasing decisions, so it is no coincidence that nearly 80% of high-performing marketers indicated that personalized strategies have boosted their revenue. In fact, a recent survey from Kibo found that:
  • Personalized home page promotions influence 85% of consumers to make a purchase
  • Personalized shopping cart recommendations influence 92% of shoppers to complete a purchase
  • Loyalty discounts influence 55% of customers to complete a purchase
  • Targeted recommendations on product pages influencer 44% to make a purchase
Tommy Hilfiger is one great example of a brand who has embraced personalization in their customer experiences across channels. Here’s their story:

Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is almost here and 54% of people surveyed by the NRF are planning to celebrate. In fact, it is expected that $18.2 billion will be spent on gifts for significant others, other family members, children’s classmates, coworkers, and even beloved pets. Here’s how it breaks down:
  • $4.3 billion on jewelry
  • $3.8 billion on an evening out
  • $2 billion on flowers
  • $1.9 billion on clothing
  • $1.7 billion on candy
  • $1.4 billion on gift cards/gift certificates
  • $1 billion on greeting cards
A few of our clients have a great selection of Valentine’s Day gifts to help their customers find the perfect gift this year, and the best part is, you can order online and avoid the crowds. With exclusive offers for military members, teachers, students, and first responders, here are just some of the deals from our wonderful clients for this Valentine’s Day:

In nearly every aspect of our lives now, we demand instant gratification. The same rings true when we are shopping. So much so that companies like Amazon are centering their entire model around convenience - two day Prime delivery, two hour PrimeNow delivery, Amazon stores, and now, there’s even talk of Amazon drones. Since it’s not feasible for all companies to have this direct of service (at least for now) many companies are turning their focus to creating successful omnichannel strategies as a way to boost their customer satisfaction. In fact, WorldPay recently highlighted that omnichannel shoppers spend between 50-300% more than single channel shoppers, making them an increasingly valuable demographic for retailers. This survey also revealed that:
  • 80% of smartphone shoppers use their mobile in-store to help with shopping
  • More than 50% of purchase are now influenced by digital information
  • 39% of retailers use in-store signage to convert customers to digital
  • 67% of consumers start shopping on one device and finish on another
  • 63% of shoppers use multiple channels when making orders (ie: view in-store, buy online or view online, buy in-store)
So what does all of this mean for retail in 2017?

It’s no secret that customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be. It takes just one experience with a brand to make or break a customer’s opinion of a company forever. In fact, a recent survey by Access Development reported that 79% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service. The estimated cost of losing a customer due to poor service is $1.6 trillion. Customers are the most important asset a company has and earning their loyalty early on is crucial for not only creating customer lifetime value, but also running a successful business. Now more than ever, retailers are using loyalty programs to connect with their customers. It is rare to purchase an item without being asked to enter an email or phone number in order to receive special offers. But one of the biggest reasons retailers are offering loyalty programs is simply because it works - consumers love exclusive discounts and exclusivity. In order to understand more about the successes and failures retailers are experiencing with their discounts and loyalty programs, SheerID recently surveyed 76 companies nationwide. Here’s what we found:

When making a purchase, there are a slough of psychological factors that come into play that most of us don’t even realize. Whether it be pricing or packaging or something in between, the one factor that marketers rely on time and time again to motivate consumers to purchase is personalized exclusivity. Psychologically, our desire for exclusiveness stems from our basic hierarchy of needs. In Abraham Maslow’s “A Theory of Human Motivation”, he explains the five categories of fundamental motivators, including esteem needs, such as the need to belong, the need for the respect of others, as well as the need for achievement. All of these are at the core of why exclusivity is so attractive to us, and why it’s such an effective marketing tool. Here are just two of the ways that personalized exclusive discounts can help your brand:

Improve relevance & targeting

In today’s world, it’s much harder to break through the noise and get customers to notice your brand, especially if you aren’t able to reach the specific groups you want to attract. By targeting certain customer groups with exclusive discounts, such as the military community, teachers, and students, you can cut through the chatter and hone in on that group’s individual needs. Not to mention that currently, the market for both military members and students is made up of over 52.4 million members.

For businesses across the globe, driving loyalty through personalized customer experiences is both a necessity and a challenge. For those that have decided to offer exclusive discounts, that challenge increases exponentially. How do you target specific customers? How do you ensure only those customers are redeeming the discount? How do you market it without risking discount fraud? These are all serious questions that impact both the success of these programs and the success of your bottom line. After working with some of the biggest brands in the world to identify the challenges they’ve seen, we decided to pull together a list of the 9 most common indicators that your business could benefit from eligibility verification. Here are just a few:

You have hidden landing pages all over the place

One of the major components of creating a successful customer experience is ensuring that the shopping journey is as simple as possible. Hidden landing pages, such as those that house exclusive discounts, often create a convoluted experience that deters customers from completing transactions. If you fear that your promotions will go viral if you put it on your main landing pages, then it’s time to look at eligibility verification as a solution. Eligibility verification can help you bring your exclusive offers to the forefront, not only giving you more opportunity to openly market your deals, but also increase conversions by making the redemption process easier.

With over 47% of online consumers using ad-blocker, marketers can no longer reach their audience by “just running ads.” Businesses are having to adjust by incorporating their products and services into the content that is already being consumed. However, that may sound simpler than it actually is. It’s all about seamlessly and organically integrating into content. One of the most popular solutions is known as influencer marketing, which is all about providing subtle product mentions, context and expertise through an inspirational person. Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing. Currently almost 60% of fashion and beauty brands have influencer marketing campaigns in place and 21% plan to invest in it within the next year. Over the past year, online outlets and social media channels have played a huge part in influencer marketing. 88% of customers trust online reviews by strangers as much as they would a recommendation from friends. Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter, especially, also have a major role in influencer marketing:
  • Instagram announced that they officially have over 600 million users and have recently launched new features including Instagram story and live video, which has proved to be wildly successful. In fact, 59% of micro-influencers think Instagram is the most effective social media platform to engage their target audience.
  • YouTube has become so popular that millennials say YouTube creators are more influential than tradition celebrities. In a recent Google survey, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities.
  • As the epicenter of real-time conversation, Twitter is the best place to spread word-of mouth with celebrities and influencers. Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.