CHICAGO—Maintaining customer loyalty has long been a key component of any business’s strategy for success. Today’s digital world presents retailers with a new frontier for engaging their customers and finding new ways to keep them coming back time and again.

Wednesday’s education session, “Modern Strategies for Customer Engagement and Loyalty,” will offer a look at how a digital component can be a part of developing a complete business-to-consumer marketing strategy. The session will be held in room E450B from 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Michael Caldwell, loyalty manager for Yesway; Whitney Gretz, vice president of digital and loyalty at Burger King; and Art Sebastian, vice president of digital customer experience for Casey’s General Stores, will join moderator Sam Herro, director of client solutions for digital growth at Hathway, to discuss how their companies have used the digital domain to build and maintain loyalty among their customers.

Wednesday’s session will highlight the digital journey of the quick-serve restaurant industry, which is about five years ahead of many in the convenience industry. Burger King, for example, began testing a new loyalty campaign earlier this year called “Royal Perks” that awards customers 10 points, or “crowns,” for every dollar they spend at participating restaurants by ordering on the BK app or website. Those “crowns” can be redeemed for eligible menu items and store purchases, including free upsizes on many BK sides like French fries, hash browns or fountain drinks.

Herro said that using the digital realm in this way gives a company more choices when it comes to reaching customers. “Managing loyalty digitally expands the frequency and volume of touchpoints that you can have with your customers,” he said. “That affords managers more options when you are trying to build a great customer experience, of which loyalty is an outcome.”

Herro added that building loyalty makes it easier for companies to take it to the next level with their customers. “It’s much easier to move away from rational loyalty like discounting and toward emotional loyalty in creating brand love,” he said.

The digital space also offers companies a more direct path toward personalizing the customer experience and avoiding bad customer experiences altogether.

“It allows you to get much more granular than traditional methods,” he said. “That allows you to interact in a way that the customer prefers. A bad experience can often be worse than no experience at all.”

Herro said those attending this session will also get a look at how major brands are thinking about first-party vs. third-party data, organizational structure and the latest in modern day loyalty.

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