Building Loyalty with Every Generation During COVID-19

By: Melissa Canellis


The Importance of Customer Loyalty Programs During Covid-19

Gaining and increasing customer loyalty has always been a crucial component to a business’ success. During the COVID-19 crisis, daily operations continue changing for many companies and the table stakes are increased to keep customers engaged and purchasing from their brand.

Inspiring loyalty during the pandemic requires a new level of commitment and creativity to build the type of digital connections necessary that will differentiate you against the competition, to provide a frictionless experience, and to help you remain top of mind to deliver a customer rewards program that offers relevant incentives that reflect your brand.

Marketers clearly have their work cut out for them today. To deliver on customers’ wants requires an understanding of their behaviors, habits and values, which are often reflected by their generation. These characteristics influence their attitudes and engagement preferences and must be balanced with changing operations and safety concerns.

Key tactics to determine the best messaging and touchpoints to reach customers from every generation

Generation Z – Age 22 & Under

They’ve grown up on their mobile phones and earning their loyalty can be accomplished through an increased digital presence. Now is a good time to create a campaign on their preferred social channels such as instagram or snapchat. Seeing as 69% of consumers photograph food before they eat it, running a photo competition on instagram with a specific hashtag, where you ask your customers to share a photo of your food in a fun social distancing way for a chance to win a gift card or earn reward points is sure to increase engagement with this younger crowd.

Brands also can attract Gen Z customers through gamification strategies. Brands with the ability to entertain and increase enjoyment lift will earn this generation’s loyalty. Punchh recently helped Cheba Hut launch its customer loyalty program integrated into its game-based rewards system. The Cheba Hut Flippy Bird game is fun for guests and allows the brand to connect with its fans in a way that resonates, while also providing comprehensive insights about each customer to build 1-1 loyalty.

Milennials – Age 23-38

The pandemic has clearly defined the need for brands to increase their digital investment. A branded mobile loyalty app offers businesses an easy and effective channel for communication with this customer subset. And brands that integrate their app with online ordering and payment, including digital wallet compatibility, will see their investment pay off as this generation leads the pack in mobile payments.

While review platforms were initially shuttered several months ago, feedback and reviews have picked back up again. Brands need to provide tools and incentives to get Millennials to talk and share with them through their app and on social platforms to gauge customer sentiment around new and changing operations.

Generation X – Age 39-54

Messaging customers about new hours and operations became a priority over the past several months, and Generation X has been best reached through email. Brands need to incentivize email signups so they can get in contact with more fans as the need to lean on digital communication continues into the future.  

Additionally, to keep this generation’s engagement moving forward, brands need to deliver relevant offers. A regular cadence of restaurant marketing campaigns will prompt this group into action as 76% of Generation X and Millennial consumers say an offer or discount is the largest factor in their purchase decision.

Baby Boomers – Age 55-73

Brands need to do a little work to find this generation and keep them informed, especially during COVID-19 when they may be less likely to visit restaurants and stores even after reopenings. Facebook is this generation’s social platform of choice. Brands need to establish a presence on Facebook, which offers age-based targeting and engage Boomers with display ads that get them to click through to your offer.

Help them out with offline services too, such as designated Senior Hours, perhaps highlighted through an incentive, where they can feel more comfortable that their exposure to others will be limited.

Building customer loyalty solutions around each generation’s behaviors and preferences can increase visits and spend, delivering a ROI for brands of all sizes.

Learn more

For more tips on how to market to the different generations, download – Omnichannel Engagement Strategies: Engaging Every Customer Segment Through Loyalty.

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