loyalty programs

Talk Commerce - Lin Dai

The Future of Loyalty Programs: Insights from Lin Dai of Superlogic

In this episode of Talk Commerce, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Lin Dai, the CEO and co-founder of Superlogic, to discuss the evolving landscape of loyalty programs. Lin shared his expert insights on how brands are revolutionizing their rewards strategies to drive customer engagement and retention in innovative ways. As an entrepreneur and points enthusiast himself, Lin brought a unique perspective to the conversation that left us with plenty of food for thought.

The History and Importance of Loyalty Programs

Lin kicked off the discussion by walking us through the history of loyalty programs, from their humble beginnings with copper coins and paper stamps to the sophisticated digital ecosystems we see today. He emphasized the critical role that rewards have come to play in the business models of industries like airlines, hotels, and credit cards.

“If you look up American Airlines stock today, I think it’s trading somewhere between $8 to $9 billion. So essentially, they are being perceived as a very profitable and very well-run rewards program that happened to run a money-losing business of flying planes.” – Lin Dai

This quote from Lin really drove home the point that loyalty programs have become more than just a marketing tactic – they’re a core part of many companies’ financial strategies.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Loyalty Landscape

Of course, running a successful loyalty program is no easy feat. Lin highlighted some of the key challenges that brands face, such as the massive liabilities created by unredeemed points on corporate balance sheets.

“American Express issues about more than $1 billion of new points every quarter. So when they give you 100 points, they have to track on their corporate balance sheet a dollar of liability. So that piles up very fast.” – Lin Dai

But with challenges come opportunities, and Lin shared how Superlogic’s technology platform is helping brands tackle these issues by incentivizing customers to burn their points in creative ways. By capturing customer data across online and offline touchpoints and rewarding behaviors beyond just transactions, brands can build more engaging and profitable loyalty programs.

The Future of Loyalty: Hybrid Rewards and Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

Perhaps the most exciting part of our conversation with Lin was hearing about the innovative strategies that Superlogic is pioneering to take loyalty programs to the next level. He introduced us to the concept of hybrid rewards models that incorporate digital collectibles and badges alongside traditional points.

“What we do is we build a system or hybrid system to integrate with existing programs or build brand new programs that has a hybrid points, but also digital badges, essentially non fungible rewards that represent you completed a specific action. And by collecting the right combination, you unlock really big rewards.” – Lin Dai

Lin also shared a case study of how Superlogic helped Warner Music achieve a 9x increase in loyalty engagement by implementing a peer-to-peer rewards marketplace. The idea of empowering customers to trade points and perks with each other is a fascinating one, and it’s clear that this kind of outside-the-box thinking is what will define the future of loyalty marketing.

Final Thoughts

Talking with Lin Dai was an enlightening experience that left me with a newfound appreciation for the complex world of loyalty programs. It’s clear that the brands that will win in this space are those that are willing to innovate, experiment, and put the customer experience at the center of their rewards strategies.

As marketers and entrepreneurs, we could all stand to learn from the examples and insights that Lin shared. Whether you’re looking to optimize an existing loyalty program or build one from scratch, this episode of Talk Commerce is a must-listen.

The Art of Clienteling

The Art of Clienteling: Building Customer Loyalty with Casey Drake

Hello everyone. Brent, again, and today, I’m excited to share a special episode of our podcast with you. This episode features a fascinating discussion with Madeleine Anderson and Casey Drake from Endear. We discuss clienteling, its evolution, and its importance in retail sales. We also touch on the role of associates in clienteling and the impact of COVID-19 on loyalty and customer engagement.

The Art of Clienteling

Casey Drake, VP of Sales at Endear, is not just a sales expert but also a passionate entertainer. She runs a YouTube channel where she tries to make people laugh and be interested in her content. I must admit, her style of humor is quite different from mine, which tends to make people want to leave. But let’s get back to the topic at hand – clienteling.

Casey explains that clienteling is proactive sales outbound activity in retail. It’s all about ensuring that customers have an exceptional experience, love their products, and are informed about new products and different ways to purchase them. In essence, it’s retail’s fancy word for sales.

The Evolution of Clienteling

We then moved on to discuss how clienteling has evolved over time. Casey references the show “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and explains that clienteling originated from the cutthroat world of retail sales in the 50s and 60s. Salespeople relied on their contacts and provided personalized service to customers. We also reminisced about an episode of “Gilmore Girls” that showcases the high level of attention and service provided to customers in the past.

The Role of Associates in Clienteling

Casey highlighted the significance of associates in Clienteling. She emphasized that when customers enter a store, the first person they encounter is an associate, and that person becomes the face of the brand for the customer. Customers’ loyalty and attachment towards a brand are often influenced by their interactions with these associates. Casey gave an example of a client who prefers shopping at Lululemon because of her attachment to a specific associate, even though Alo Yoga offers a better product at a better price.

Clienteling in High-End vs. Mass-Market Brands

Madeleine Anderson then asked about the difference in clientele between high-end brands like Diane von Furstenberg and mass-market brands like Target. Casey explained that bigger department stores still focus on clienteling, mainly because of their commission-driven sales approach. However, she believes that smaller brands can compete by adopting new technologies and providing a higher level of service. She also mentioned that the success of clients’ telling lies in the hands of the designers who can put passionate associates in their stores and maintain communication with customers.

The Challenges of Scaling Customer Service in Retail

The conversation shifted to the challenges of scaling customer service in retail. Casey suggested that retail needs to reset its approach to incentivizing associates and customers. She also emphasized the importance of personal messaging in clienteling. For instance, marketing for events at a store can be considered retail marketing, and messages should come from the store and be written in a conversational tone. Two-way communication and the ability for customers to reply to messages are also crucial.

Personal Experiences with Being Clientele

Casey shared that he has never been personally clientele by anyone, but he has successfully influenced others to become clientele of certain brands. He mentioned that he is a target shopper and not a big spender on clothes, but he still loves the brands they work with.

The “Great White Buffalo” Brand

Casey shared his “great white buffalo” brand, Farideh, a men’s brand that he admires. He talked about the founders and their cool factor. Madeleine joked about calling it a “white bison” in North Dakota.

Advice for Retailers

As we concluded our discussion, I asked Casey for advice on how retailers can improve their client-telling efforts. Casey emphasized the importance of data and tracking, as well as incentivizing associates and customers.

Upcoming Webinar and YouTube Channel

Casey announced a webinar they will be hosting on Wednesday at 2 pm Eastern Time. The webinar will feature Shopify and Psycho Bunny, discussing Psycho Bunny’s story of getting set up within Shopify. Casey also encouraged listeners to follow and subscribe to his YouTube channel, Casey from Endear, for great content. Madeleine added that the webinar will be available on their website even after Wednesday, October 25th, and Casey mentioned that he will also upload it to his YouTube channel.

Wrapping Up

Casey asked me about my favorite memory from the podcast’s 200 episodes as we wrapped up the episode. I mentioned that I don’t have one specific favorite memory but enjoy learning something new from each episode. I see the podcast as a learning activity and hope listeners can take away actionable insights from each episode.

Casey congratulated me on reaching 200 episodes, and I mentioned that the episode would be released the next day. I joked about having extra time to edit because I am in Hawaii.

I hope you found this episode as informative and engaging as I did. Stay tuned for more insightful discussions in our upcoming episodes.

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