Design is a competitive advantage when it comes to building loyalty. Every time a person interacts with a digital interface or service, they’re experiencing design, whether they realize it or not — and this impacts their perception of your brand.
When thinking about the most beloved brands today, as well as the startups that have managed to rise to meteoric success, we typically think about the brand story or the product they’re known for. We don’t often consider design’s role in fostering our love of a brand, but we should. Great design is so meaningful that it almost feels like a given, and we take it for granted.
Since launching in 2013 as a closed-door research and development partner, Siberia has embedded with Fortune 100 and startup founders to research, prototype, test and validate big bets and prep for the following cultural and technological shift.
In today’s volatile business environment, amidst high inflation rates and continuing public health challenges, we continue to validate that design is a competitive advantage that helps clients compete and thrive. The most important thing a brand can do now is retain existing customers and ensure that any new customer acquired through marketing spending sticks around. And that is why excellent design matters more for your brand than ever.
To create loyalty through design, brands should keep these ideas in mind:
1. Design a beautiful, intuitive UX. You want to make sure that each user’s experience is seamless. As we at Siberia have found, design has a way of triggering emotions. Every design must align with the user’s intent. Navigation on websites should be intuitive and frictionless. You never want to have a customer ask, “How do I…?” Frustration can quickly build, resulting in lost loyalty and, therefore, sales. On the other hand, intuitive user flows build user confidence and engagement.
2. Leverage the data. Today’s business world is overflowing with data. Dig into all the data you already have to understand what is essential to your consumers. Learn why they are shopping and how they’re using the site. How many times did they click on something? Which filters did they use, and in what order? Why did they leave a page? Where did they go next? At Siberia, we seek the answers to those questions and can only design for loyalty around them. This way, not only can you more easily move your customers through the sales funnel — you can increase your chances that they’ll come back to your brand again next time.
3. Build loyalty beyond the loyalty program. This is basic, but it still needs to be said: loyalty programs should be about what customers want, not what your brand wants. Reward the behaviors that your customer cares about, and make sure the rewards are rewards they care about. Some customers want to be recognized for leaving reviews or referring friends. Others want to be rewarded with access, upgrades, value deals or discounts. Loyalty programs should first understand which behaviors to reward and how best to reward them. Customer relationship management should be an integral part of your operation.
4. Embrace emerging technologies to strengthen your customer relationship. Emerging technologies present opportunities for customers to invest in and become loyal to your brand even more deeply. QVC and HSN have announced livestreamed “Shopping Experiences” on the Roku Channel. Start with the behaviors or outcomes you want to enable for customers, and then understand how emerging technologies can help deliver those. There are more opportunities than ever to deliver moments of magic and surprise. Discover how your brand can benefit by mastering what’s available and using it to reach more customers.
5. Use design to build community. The best brands in the world create opportunities for customers to connect with each other. What customers have in common is their relationship with and loyalty to your brand, which is powerful. Strong communities serve as moats in the face of brand slipups or crises.
Now is the time to consider your company’s design elements and how they can create loyalty and enhance the value you create and deliver for your customers, partners and employees. We can’t know the future, but we can be confident of this — innovative design is a competitive advantage that will help keep your customers loyal to your brand and can play a crucial role in driving your business forward.
As Head of Growth at Siberia, Allie Dietzek works with potential partners to determine how product strategy, service design and emerging technologies can help them achieve their most important business goals. Dietzek has served organizations in various roles throughout her career, helping companies like Infiniti (Nissan), Macy’s, Microsoft, Kiehl’s and Google with innovation projects ranging from concept development through implementation. A small business owner, Dietzek leverages her experience with DTC, customer acquisition and CRM to guide Siberia partners toward more meaningful customer relationships. She has traveled extensively and lived abroad for both work and leisure, bringing a unique global perspective to solving buyer and seller problems.