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NFTs & Customer Loyalty Programs?? Looks like these two belong to a complete different fields. How do they even relate??

The term “NFT” has been making huge waves in the digital space (mostly controversial). But how exactly can these NFTs be used to improve customer loyalty?

Well, grab a coffee! Cuz we have a lot to cover.

What’s an NFT?

NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token.” Let’s break that down.

“Token” in this context refers to a unique digital certificate, like a digital ID card for a piece of digital content. Now, “non-fungible” means it’s one-of-a-kind and can’t be swapped on a one-to-one basis with something else.

Imagine it as a rare collectible, like a rare baseball card or a limited-edition action figure.

So, when you combine these two concepts, you get an NFT, which is a unique digital certificate representing ownership or proof of authenticity for a specific digital item.

This digital item could be artwork, music, videos, virtual real estate, or even a tweet. NFTs are authenticated using blockchain technology, which ensures their uniqueness and traceability.

For instance, think of a famous painting like the Mona Lisa. If it were an NFT, owning the NFT would mean you own the digital certificate proving your ownership of the digital representation of the Mona Lisa.

Even though anyone can see the painting online (and anyone can right-click save it), only the NFT owner has the proof of ownership.

What’s a Loyalty Program?

Now that we’ve covered NFTs, let’s dive into the world of customer loyalty programs and explore how they work.

Customer loyalty programs are like those punch cards you get from your favorite coffee shop. You buy a coffee, get a punch, and after a few more purchases, you get a free cup.

It’s a way for businesses to say, “Thanks for choosing us regularly!”

In essence, customer loyalty programs are strategies businesses use to reward and encourage repeat customers.

These programs aim to build a stronger bond between the brand and its customers. It’s a win-win situation: customers get perks and rewards, and businesses get to keep their customers coming back for more.

Here’s a common example: airline loyalty programs. When you fly with a specific airline frequently, you earn points or miles.

Collect enough, and you can get a free flight, upgrades, or other special benefits. It’s a way to make you stick with that airline rather than switching to a competitor.

Just so you know, increasing the customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

NFT Loyalty Programs by Brands

In the case of NFT Loyalty Programs, instead of digital miles or cards, you’ll be given an NFT that represents your loyalty.

And there are a few businesses and brands that have already started creating NFT loyalty programs.

Starbucks

One of the good things about web3 loyalty programs is you can trade your cards if you are not in a mood to use them or if you know that you are not gonna make a purchase from that brand anytime sooner.

Welcome to Starbucks Odyssey, an NFT powered loyalty program by a big coffee brand whose coffee sucks!

They’ve created a gamified version, to ensure the collecting stamps process is easy and these stamps in return will give access to different coffee experiences.

“Leveraging Web3 technology will allow our members to access experiences and ownership that was not possible before” – Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer

Lufthansa

Airline Lufthansa Group launched an NFT-based loyalty program that rewards participating passengers with digital collectibles that can unlock added benefits.

All the group’s airlines are participating in the Uptrip loyalty program, letting passengers collect digital trading cards when they fly on one of the airlines.

Based on the number of cards (and type of cards) each passenger collect, they can unlock special perks on the airlines, including free in-flight Wi-Fi, access to airport lounges, redeemable airline miles, and more.

I haven’t tried this but sounds like an amazing game of cards.

Soapy Joe’s Car Wash

Soapy Joe’s, a car wash company based in San Diego, have introduced a unique promotional campaign that leverages NFTs to enhance customer interaction and reward loyalty.

The campaign is designed as a scavenger hunt-style promotion. Customers who visit any of Soapy Joe’s 17 locations can participate in the campaign by collecting different Ethereum-based NFTs.

Customers are incentivized to collect multiple NFTs from different locations. As customers collect more NFTs, they unlock various rewards.

These rewards range from physical items like keychains and hats to experiences like amusement park tickets and a free annual membership to the car wash.

After each visit, customers receive an email containing a link to redeem the NFT associated with that location. The NFT-related emails have a high open rate, indicating strong customer interest.

The promotion has resulted in a 10% increase in web users, demonstrating the effectiveness of the NFT campaign in driving online engagement as well.

Advantages of NFT Loyalty Programs

First of all, traditional loyalty programs are outdated. And NFT-based programs have a few capabilities that aren’t possible or hard to implement with traditional methods.

Tradability:

Customers can now earn rewards of different rarity and exclusivity. What’s even more exciting is that they can trade or sell these rewards directly to others. This means customers can swap their rewards for something they really want, in case they don’t like the original one.

Phygital Experiences:

Digital NFTs when paired with a physical product are called Phygital NFTs. Quite a few brands have already delivered the physical product to the holders who hold their NFTs.

Blockbar is a good example of this.

Blockbar offers a unique NFT marketplace designed exclusively for luxury wines and spirits. Each NFT featured on the platform represents an actual bottle of these exceptional beverages. When you obtain one of these NFTs, you gain ownership of the corresponding physical bottle.

Token Gating:

Imagine if only the particular NFT holders will have exclusive access to communities, special features, content, and more digital or physical experiences. Well, that’s token gating.

Tiffany & Co. is a good example for this case.

Tiffany & Co, the renowned luxury jeweler, has unveiled an exclusive NFT collection known as ‘NFTiff.’ This collection comprises 250 digital passes, each obtainable exclusively by CryptoPunks holders.

In essence, only wallets possessing a CryptoPunk are granted access to these digital passes, a practice commonly referred to as ‘token gating.’

The primary objective of this collection is to provide clients with the unique opportunity to transform their CryptoPunks into personalized Tiffany & Co. jewelry designs through an entirely digital experience.

Holders of these NFTs, or passes, are entitled to redeem them for digital artwork inspired by their CryptoPunk and receive a corresponding exquisite jewelry pendant.

Interoperability

NFTs can be interoperable.

What that means is that you can make these NFTs to work not just on one app or website, but on many different ones. That means you can do more things with them and they become even more valuable.

And that makes these NFT loyalty rewards more useful and fun.

User Data & Behaviour

We all know that NFTs exist on the blockchain, the magical record keeping book.

The cool thing about the blockchain is that it keeps a public and unchangeable record of all these transactions. So, for businesses, this means they get access to really important information about what people are doing with these NFTs.

This information helps businesses in a few ways. First, they can use it to make their marketing strategies better. For example, if they see that a lot of people are buying NFTs related to a certain video game, they might start advertising their game to those folks.

Second, businesses can predict upcoming trends by looking at these records. If they notice that certain types of NFTs are getting really popular, they can prepare for that trend and maybe even create their own NFTs related to it.

Lastly, they can understand their customers better by looking at what they do with NFTs from other brands.

Conclusion

NFTs, as unique digital certificates, offer tradability, phygital experiences, token gating, and interoperability, enriching loyalty programs with amazing possibilities.

The transparency of blockchain technology provides invaluable insights into user behavior, helping businesses tailor their strategies and stay ahead of trends.

In the near future, we will be witnessing more and more businesses replacing their traditional loyalty programs with NFT-based loyalty programs.

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