How the rewards and loyalty industry is winning big

Transform It Forward with Wes Schroll: How the rewards and loyalty industry is winning big

Establishing a personal relationship with your customers is all about building a strong foundation of trust, understanding and mutual respect. In other words, people want to feel like the brands they support are also supporting them. 

One way to make customers feel truly valued is by rewarding them for their loyalty through perks, points, special deals or gifts—and this is where the rewards and loyalty industry comes in. However, on the quest to continually up-level the customer experience and strengthen relationships with consumers, many brands are missing the mark when it comes to this important piece of the puzzle. 

Transform It Forward with Wes Schroll: How the rewards and loyalty industry is winning big

For decades, brands have been rewarding faithful customers through loyalty programs, and now, platforms like Fetch Rewards are making it easier than ever for brands to maintain strong relationships with consumers. Through its unique approach, the company is streamlining the process to help both brands and consumers make the most of rewards and loyalty programs.

In the latest episode of Transform It Forward, I sat down with the founder and CEO of Fetch Rewards, Wes Schroll. Fetch is an online rewards and loyalty platform that allows consumers to turn everyday purchases into Fetch points, which they can redeem in exchange for digital gift cards. During our conversation, Wes and I discuss what’s new in the rewards and loyalty space, why consumer loyalty has become more of a priority in recent years, and much more.

Refining consumer loyalty programs

As a kid growing up in the 70s, I remember saving up Campbell’s Soup labels so I could bring them into school and earn us some new gym equipment. Today, the rewards programs brands are implementing look a little different, but the end goal of engaging with customers and helping them feel valued remains.

When Wes first approached the rewards and loyalty space, one of the problem areas he identified was that most rewards and loyalty programs tended to place the onus on the customer to do the work, when it should have been the other way around.

“I was like, ‘why am I the one having to jump through all these hoops? Why is it the sole responsibility of the consumer to actually have to put in the effort to get that reward?’ But I think there’s this innate desire for consumers to feel like they’re getting rewarded, to feel like they’re valued from the brands that they choose to spend money with. And I think that’s the biggest thing that we’re seeing right now is that brands still have an altruistic desire to make a consumer feel rewarded, feel valued, feel like they’re getting rewarded for their loyalty. But I think now that’s being combined with this demand from consumers to have it be in a way that is easy for them to approach and participate in.”

Enter: Fetch Rewards. Wes founded the platform based on the need for a more streamlined, consumer-friendly approach to rewards and loyalty programs. The result is a company that’s leveraging digital technology to benefit both sides of the brand-consumer equation. 

A consolidated experience

From the beginning, the vision Wes had for Fetch was to create a consolidated, one-stop-shop platform for brands and consumers, and in just a few years, he’s fully brought that plan to fruition. The mobile app platform gives brands an opportunity to bring their story to life through personalization tools, while offering consumers a unified experience that will save them time and money in the long run.

This approach has ultimately enabled Fetch to put the consumer at the center of the journey, while giving brands the freedom to stay innovative and engage with their customers in a way that fits their brand narrative.

“While it is a platform-based approach, I think what actually makes it valuable long term and continues to have dollars flow through it, which is what the consumer needs for the platform to be valuable, is the fact that we do take a brand approach underneath it and we’re really just providing the tooling for them to actually build ways to engage with that consumer, without having that consumer have to go out and sign up for 15 different programs that all have slightly different mechanisms for how to participate.”

For the average consumer making everyday purchases, this system makes much more sense than relying on fragmented infrastructure. Overtime, Fetch’s setup will serve to foster long-term relationships between brands and consumers, which ultimately benefits everyone involved.

Content is king

In the digital age, we all know that content is king. The brands who successfully engage with audiences online by creating unique, entertaining and informative content that adds value to their community will come out on top—especially following the pandemic, which has only served to accelerate the digital revolution.

As a rewards and loyalty platform, Fetch is no stranger to this idea. Now more than ever, brands should be looking to engage consumers through high-quality content on every channel, and rewards and loyalty programs are no exception. 

“We have a fundamental belief that brands will need to bring themselves to life, not just with the currency, but also in a way that’s entertaining. I think everyone is looking to consume content, especially post-COVID. I mean, everyone is spending time consuming content, and if you can wrap up earning points in content together, that’s really valuable.”

In other words, rewards and loyalty programs aren’t just transactional—they’re another facet of a company’s brand and an opportunity to strengthen any marketing plan. Wes alluded to the Campbell’s Soup example I provided earlier, noting that part of the reason it was effective (and memorable) was because it played into an emotional connection, which resonated with consumers in a way that went beyond the financial element.

Fetching the future of rewards and loyalty

Since its inception in 2017, Fetch has already grown massively, and Wes says it’s only going to continue scaling up in the near future. The company has plans to continue revolutionizing the rewards and loyalty industry by putting the power back into the hands of the consumer.

“We want to be able to enable consumers to have their voice heard, to get rewarded for doing that, and to feel like they have companies out there competing for them. And what you often see when that happens is whatever company does win in that competition for the consumer will get the lion’s share of that consumer spend long term. And that’s what we think will truly unlock loyalty, is when companies prove their loyalty to the consumer—not the other way around.”

Key takeaways:

  1. The concept of rewarding customer loyalty isn’t new—in fact, it’s been around for decades. When it comes down to the psychology behind the customer journey, it’s clear that consumers want to feel valued by the brands they buy from regularly. On the other side of the equation, brands also typically have a desire to reward their most loyal customers. In other words, there will always be room for the rewards and loyalty industry within the customer journey.
  2. As technology evolves, the rewards and loyalty industry is evolving right along with it. Gone are the days of brands forcing their customers to jump through several complex hoops just to join a loyalty program. With platforms like Fetch, it’s becoming easier for brands to simplify the process, ensuring a streamlined customer journey from beginning to end.
  3. By taking a platform-based approach, Fetch has carved out a unique niche for itself within the rewards industry. As Wes explained, the company is fulfilling the public’s desire for a consolidated destination where you can earn loyalty points for the things you buy every day. This ultimately creates a unified experience, which benefits both consumers and brands.
  4. When it comes to the loyalty programs of the future, it won’t be enough for brands to simply issue points to their customers and call it a day. Instead, loyalty programs will provide brands with an opportunity to bring their story to life and entertain customers through original content. According to Wes, the brands that use the platform to weave a compelling narrative and connect with consumers on an emotional level will see the most success. 
  5. In many ways, the rewards and loyalty industry is helping to put the power back into the hands of the consumer. Through their unique approach, Fetch is enabling consumers to enjoy the lion’s share of the benefits from the transactions they make on a daily basis. This strategy will ultimately contribute to a more competitive landscape, while empowering customers to be more active participants in the process.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

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