Customer Loyalty in the e-commerce era: How SMBs can win?
Date: 3rd September


UPS Unstoppable series for SMB


Director E-commerce Strategy, UPS

Vice President Customer Success, Zinrelo

EVP, [r] Dialogue

Head of E-commerce & Digital, Yonka Paris


  • Power of brand loyalty – Phil Ruben 

  • Importance of loyalty – Samir Palnitkar

  • Yon-ka Paris’ perspective on Customer Loyalty Programs – Raphael Faccarello


The webinar covers important statistics on shift in customer behavior due to COVID-19. During the lockdown, digitization and the e-commerce businesses had a 20% increase in sales through their channels. With lockdowns in place across the globe the brick and mortar stores were bound to be hit badly. USA alone has already witnessed 25,000 store closures in 2020. This shift was not due to the COVID pandemic, but it was accelerated by it. In 2019, there were about 9500 stores which closed due to customer preference for e-commerce platforms. Some stores have incorporated an omni-channel approach to mitigate this shift in behavior. These stores offer services where customer buy from their e-commerce stores and pick up the products from the brick and mortar stores. 

Power of Brand Loyalty – Phil Ruben, rDialogue

Talking about change in trends, Phil remarked the dis-satisfaction in certain loyalty programs was accelerated as well. For example, Macy’s program underperformed as compared to the customers not using their retail loyalty program. The habits of customers have changed drastically, and businesses need to align their strategies to it. A survey studying consumer behavior saw 33% of loyal customers tried new brands while some customers defected to other brands. This environment has presented businesses with its set of opportunities too. With a work from home working model in places, many formal wear clothing brands have ventured in the leisure or casual wear verticals to stay relevant. With people experimenting with brands such a move will help these brands to gain new customer. Walmart accelerated their contactless payment methods to stay relevant.

Loyalty marketing has now evolved as a business strategy and it is here to stay. With customer reward programs before COVID, the customers had to show loyalty for them to reap their rewards. Now, it must start with the brand. The insights brands had in the customer behavior prior to COVID is irrelevant now and all brands must renew their insights. Along with renewing their customer insights, the customer loyalty rewards program must change from a transactional loyalty model to a 360-degree loyalty engine. Such a 360-degree loyalty engine must allow a brand to:

Recognize customer needs: Needs of the customers should be addressed as a priority. 

Connect:  Connect and engage with repeat customers regularly and not only when they make a purchase 

Value their time: Brands needs to provide a seamless experience with faster delivery systems. 

Reward: With change in customer behavior, brands need to reward customers for every purchase and engagement with their brand. This will help to gain their loyalty of repeat customers

Inform: Passing relevant information to customers whose loyalty you need to earn is important.

Importance of Brand Loyalty – Samir Palnitkar, Zinrelo

Some brands already using a 360-degree loyalty programs have seen great results even through the COVID lockdown. It allowed them to keep their loyal customers happy. With freedom to customize their offers, brands like FSA Store, Yonka Paris, LAFCO increased their revenues through repeat purchases. Along with engagement, referral marketing is something brands need to focus on. It is the third largest source of acquisition and in the current times with a limited customer acquisition budget this will go a long way. Only a loyalty program can package all these aspects together. 

Yon-ka Paris’ Perspective on Customer Loyalty Programs – Raphael Faccarello, Yon-ka Paris

Raphael Faccarello highlighted how their customer loyalty rewards program helped them navigate through the pandemic. With a robust loyalty rewards program in place Yonka Paris witnessed an all-round growth. They were able to offer 2X points on purchase on certain days to encourage repeat purchases. They witnessed 2.26X increase in their revenues during such period. Overall, their repeat customers increased by 57% and revenues by 48%. For a detailed description of Yonka Paris’s results please check Raphael’s testimonial.


 Since pre-COVID customer insights are not valid anymore all companies need to re-design their loyalty marketing with the following steps

  1. Check company assets and capabilities
  2. Know your brand and evaluate touchpoints
  3. Understand your customer base and repeat customer
  4. Know your profit margins
  5. Invest accordingly to experiment
  6. Be flexible, learn and adjust
  7. Be loyal back to your customers


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