Loyalty programs have come a long way since the 18th century, where it's believed that retailers were incentivizing shoppers even then, with copper tokens that were redeemable for future purchases. From stamps to coupons, airline miles and shopper cards, we've been witness to the shifting timeline of attempted customer acquisition through incentivized programs. The biggest lesson we've learned throughout this process: this incentivization approach works. And so we continue on, attempting to build entire processes around a shoppers experience, with the simple hope that they will come back. 

Way back when, rewards programs were much simpler, but now there are so many more touch points with potential consumers, the programs must be designed to incentivize more than one action. For example, every single time I get a Hello Fresh delivery, along with my food are coupons for my friends to try free meals. In their app, I can also earn rewards for myself by sharing and being social about my experience. 

Building Moments Amazon-Style

Plug and Play, the United States most active venture capital firm, recently announced a new innovation program focused on media and advertising and their founding partner is none other than Amazon Moments. The new program, aimed at bringing together industry leaders, startups, and venture capital firms, will focus on solving the challenges of the media and advertising industry. Modernizing incentive and reward programs is definitely a challenge. Amazon Moments is a simple service that enables users to reward customers who complete high value actions within apps and games with eligible physical and digital items sold on Amazon, driving user acquisition and increasing engagement. Michael Olmstead, Chief Revenue Officer of Plug and Play said they are thrilled to announce this partnership and, "...can't wait to see the innovation this program surfaces as well as the startup to corporate collaborations it facilitates."

A Pivotal Time

Launching this innovative ecosystem indicates where we are, on a mass scale, with media and advertising and the potential resting in the future of this multi-billion-dollar industry. With heavy focus in areas like Big Data, AI, Enhanced Reality, BlockchainGlobalization, Gamification, and 5G- it's easy to see that this is the beginning of a massive pivot for this industry.

Meet Snappy

They aren't the only ones either. There are so many exciting things happening in the digital space, that have the potential to change the way we incentivize totally- not just with marketing and advertising. "Snappy Makes Employees Smile" is the tagline associated with this new engaging platform designed to reward and recognize teams and help businesses build a culture of appreciation. A marketplace of magical gifts, Snappy offers teams collections of trending products, unique experiences, subscriptions, or even getaways. With powerful automation, this approach aligns with HR for the ultimate system of connections on special dates, for special benchmarks, or just because, encouraging a culture of giving and appreciation. 

Multiple Platforms to Follow

As rewards programs take the form of entire integrative and engaging platforms, we can expect to see big business (both online and brick and mortar) adopt, with small and mid-size business to follow. Take Xooker for example, a mobile app utilizing coupons within games and apps to incentivize visits to local shops and restaurants. The real draw for platforms like Xooker is for those small and mid-size businesses that don't have the infrastructure to build something like this on their own. Right now, Xooker is the nation's fastest growing mobile coupon, loyalty, rewards, and advertising platform, and according to their teams- this is only the beginning. 

When you take into consideration that: 

  • 30% of all mobile users play games daily, and

  • 66% of mobile gamers have influence on the purchasing decision of their friends, family and colleagues, where Xooker is right now seems like a pretty good place to be. 

"We believe Xooker is well-positioned to be the next dominant platform in mobile Ad-Tech," says Conrad R Carney II, Xooker CEO and Chairman. Opportunities like what Plug and Play is building, and platforms like Amazon Moments, Snappy and Xooker are offering businesses a chance to make their marketing have more loyal and lasting power, a must-have in the noisy digital world where everyone constantly competes for milliseconds of attention.

Published on: Oct 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.