The system of rewarding customers with points, cards or discounts is a fairly standard practice amongst today’s modern business. This reward model is based around rewarding for purchases of goods and services and then allow these customers to choose a gift in return to reward their loyalty. The existing implementation are this reward network is singular in nature except for organisations such as Sainsbury’s nectar.
I believe that modern customers would be more beneficial to a system that was shared between businesses and then allowed the customer to take reward points to another company should they wish to do so. Providing the spread of reward was equal or near to equal over all participating organisations, then this model would be extremely beneficial to the customer who may for example not wish to have a gift from shop A, instead choosing a gift from shop B.
The new age innovations that customers have access to such as the Internet, mobile phones and smart phones provide rich platforms for interaction with business. Devices such as mobile phones or smart phones that have Bluetooth could be registered against a user record and then through transmitters in store, promotional adverts or messages could be delivered via OBEX push when the user is nearby, as shown in the diagram below.
The transmitters shown above would be looking for known Bluetooth devices. Of course this would only happen if the handsets were configured to allow OBEX items to be pushed. Alternatively, an email could be sent to the user (taken at opt-in) with discounts coupons for that day. Bluetooth’s proximity would allow tracking up to around 10 metres for most handsets which would be close enough for interaction. This would then drive customers to pursue interesting offers and lead to more sales.
In the diagram below, relationships are displayed in colours so that it makes it easier to indicate what they represent. The yellow arrows show the relationships between a customer or group of customers and the businesses that they frequent. The purple arrows show the intranet-based or Internet-based link up to a central system. The blue arrow and read our indicate a link between the customer of being at home or on a smart device and interacting with the central system. This could be to engage in choosing a reward gift or simply updating their account details.
This system would also allow for flexibility and grouping users so that they may work together and obtain larger gifts. The biggest challenge in implementing a better, more advanced system would be gaining the participation of the larger organisations from which people choose to purchase their goods from. I do honestly believe that gap could be bridged then it would not be too far from the future to implement such a new system.