By: Shauna Mahoney
When you go to a store with the intention to shop there again, you may become a part of their Loyalty Program. I did this when I was 18 working at an American Eagle. There, they call it an “All Access Card”. This is where certain articles of clothing have a point value, (shirts were 15 points, jeans were 25 and so on), depending on how many points you had at the end of the month you would receive coupons in an email or in your physical mailbox. To become a part of these programs you just need to fill out your information; name, number, address, email and sometimes birthday, then you take the card and congratulations! You’re loyal to them, forever.
Forever may sound slightly off-putting, so we’ll just say for as long as you’d like to stay loyal to them (considering I don’t know the last time I used that card, or any of my loyalty cards for that matter). When you sign up for those programs the thought process is you are now a part of the brand. You are special and that’s why you deserve these incentives. This is your store, and it speaks to you unlike any other brand out there. They still have access to your information; they can still send things whether you want them to or not, but this is where forever comes into play. Social giants Twitter and now Facebook are buying into these loyalty programs, and are trying to drive offline shopping just as much as they are online.
Facebook has been the main digital advertising platform, with its “sponsored ads” section on the right side of your homepage, and “suggested posts” within your newsfeeds. Well now Facebook, as well as Twitter, have paired (on separate accounts) with data giant, Datalogix. Datalogix can take the emails used for your Facebook account, and/or Twitter account, and match it with any loyalty program you have used the same email account for; to let brands know who is buying what where, and how frequently. Your sponsored ads within Facebook, and the suggested posts might start to become slightly more relevant to your life, (No Facebook, I do not need Free Accelerated VPK, I do not have a preschooler.), but that they might become more beneficial to you.
From the outside looking in, I’m a little weary of this idea. I already have two separate email accounts. One for personal/important things, and another for stores and coupons, and things regular people consider junk. Now my junk folder is going to end up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds? That’s slightly excessive. Although, from the inside looking out, this is a great way for advertisers to get a closer look at their audience and their buying behavior. Facebook and Twitter alike have a right to know how often I get a German chocolate milkshake from Häagen Dazs, or when I buy my Macintosh car scents from Yankee Candle. Social media is meant to be life invading, right? This sounds like instead of having “All Access” to American Eagle, that card is Facebook and Twitter’s key to having all access to me.