4 Changes We Can Expect for the Future of Rewards virtual incentives blog

4 Changes We Can Expect for the Future of Rewards

For companies to be successful now and in the future, they must be one step ahead of what their customers need, want and demand. And the same is true for creating an engaging rewards and incentives program.  
That’s why we partnered with Koski Research, Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) and Lenny Murphy of GreenBook to build a survey to find out exactly what consumers want for the Future of Rewards. The full report will be available soon; but for now, here’s what we’ve found:

  1. Consumers want it now!

Whether it’s research-based or anecdotal evidence, we know that today’s consumers want it all, want it now and they want it in the palm of their hands. So it comes as no surprise that consumers place the highest value on incentive types that they can receive instantly and digitally. In fact, according to the FoR results, 78% of consumers would prefer immediate mobile receipt of rewards in the future.
Moving forward, any type of rewards program, be it research incentives or loyalty programs and rebates, need to be instant and allow for the recipient to choose how they receive their rewards. With so many consumers already using digital payment apps, mobile wallets and cryptocurrency, incentive companies must stay agile and adapt to stay on top of the trends.

  1. Rewards impact brand allegiance

The data is clear: a whopping 75% say they feel more favorable toward a company that offers rewards and 69% feel more favorable toward a company that provides  personalized messages or rewards.
If rewards have that much power to sway consumer decisions, it should be a no-brainer — all companies should consider the power of rewards to tip the balance in their favor. Especially those who are looking to increase their brand equity. Vi CEO, Jonathan Price explained it best in a recent interview with Loyalty360:
As it relates to loyalty, we found it fascinating how much incentives are now influencing choice in brand purchase. The data showed that following price, an incentive along with reviews were the top reasons for making a purchase decision. We know the power of reviews, especially when it comes to online purchase behavior, but we did not expect that consumers would indicate that the incentive was one of their top influences in making their purchase.

  1. Rewards aren’t just for fun

For many respondents, reward programs for research and/or shopper and loyalty systems are a necessary piece of their incomes, and are often used as currency. 62% say they rely rewards to redeem or buy everyday items and 35% say they are even part of the income they need.
But according to The Economist, money may be about to change… again: “The future belongs, not to plastic cards, but to mobile phones.” And that future is already here. Thousands of retailers nationwide are installing new technology to accept payment via mobile wallets. Left your credit card at home? Fret not. Just use your phone!

  1.     Personal data is recognized as an asset

Consumers recognize their data has value and expect a fair value exchange when companies use it. We asked what data consumers would share in exchange for rewards; and when it comes to shopping habits and tv consumptions, people are very comfortable sharing their personal data. Relationships and finances? Not so much.
In 2011 The World Economic Forum classified personal data as a new Asset Class along with property, investments, cash, etc. This laid the foundation to rethink how data can be utilized to deliver value to the owners and originators — not just the users. A multi-dimensional system with real incentives and rewards that pay consumers for their participation in an accretive way is not only more fair — it also drives the shift in necessary thinking to support the emergence of the personal data economy.
No longer a tactical afterthought, consumer rewards are leading a transformation in how consumers use their data for their own benefit versus others using it for personal gain. Direct reciprocity simply changes the game.
Stay one step ahead of what your customers truly want. Gain more invaluable insights from the full report on Future of Rewards — coming soon!