How to Fix Your Loyalty Program’s Dispersed Data Problem

Loyalty programs can increase revenue by 15%-25% each year, according to McKinsey, which is why brands prioritize these programs. But success isn’t entirely measured by profit or the number of members.

The customer experience is just as crucial and shapes how customers perceive your brand. Successful programs are always accurate and up to date, introduce new services and deliver the most value. However, being able to deliver a frictionless digital experience is challenging if the company’s IT infrastructure relies on legacy systems.

Partnerships with other brands or credit card vendors can introduce new features to a loyalty program, but require more data as a result, and that data is often not in-house. Sometimes data is stored in legacy systems that are now working in overdrive to produce new workloads. The more data sources and types that are introduced, the more dispersed that picture becomes.

What we need is better data responsiveness as part of a larger digital transformation strategy. Most brands have already gotten a start on their transformations. According to the Loyalty Report 2021, 85% of brands say the pandemic has single-handedly accelerated their digital strategy.  


As part of that strategy, brands can consolidate dispersed data and feed it into a system of record using a digital integration hub, an application architecture that decouples digital applications from systems of record, and aggregates data into a low-latency fabric. According to Gartner, a digital integration hub can “enable high-scale access, minimize workload on systems of record and deliver additional value via use cases like analytics.”

Let’s take a look at some roadblocks that retailers face as they develop their loyalty programs, and how an advanced data architecture can solve these hurdles:

Poor user experience.

Latency can ruin a customer’s interaction with a loyalty program and leave them frustrated. The Loyalty Report 2021 says that 78% of non-affluent customers and 85% of affluent customers have a redemption goal in mind with their programs. If a back-end system of record is slow, checking on that status becomes a difficult task — creating real customer aggravation.

Even if an application serves up the previous week’s activities, it’s not truly a proactive model. It doesn’t take long before the customer wants to drill deeper and scroll down into past transactions — only to face the loading wheel that keeps spinning because the data they want can’t be immediately validated. If an update is waiting to run in a batch load overnight, that will directly impact user experience and what you can execute.

Speed becomes currency for the brand just like the points are currency for the customer. To have a resilient loyalty program, you can’t wait till the data is needed to consolidate it. A digital integration hub can ensure that data is constantly available in a stream, which improves the user experience and improves the version of truth you’re presenting to customers.

The challenge of integrating data from partners.

Fresh, reliable data is critical to loyalty program transactions. Whether a customer purchases something from a partner, which grants them loyalty points, or wants to cash those points in, you need to know that the point balance is properly updated.

This isn’t just a performance issue, it’s also customer expectation. According to Clarus Commerce’s 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study, 64% of customers check their loyalty status or points total at least once a month, and 36% check at least every week.

If you’re using a legacy system that batch uploads overnight, customers might not see an accurate point total when they log in to check on the balance. This leaves them confused. Does it mean their transaction didn’t complete? Are the points on hold? This is a high-impact consideration that most brands overlook.

A digital integration hub replicates data components as events occur in those systems of record, so customers see their most current balance status. This advanced data architecture puts the data in a consolidated view, whether it’s from a third party or disparate systems within your ecosystem. When the data is unified and kept always fresh, you can keep latency low and accuracy high to give customers the most up-to-date view of their status.

Bottlenecks in launching new services.

Today’s competitive digital landscape forces brands to constantly innovate and improve the customer experience they deliver. While fully aware of this need, the pace at which companies can launch new digital services and features is highly dependent on the duration of their development cycles.

In a traditional model, any enhancements to an existing digital service require the application developer to identify all the connection points between the app and the systems of record that feed that app with data. Since retailers keep adding new digital services onto this existing infrastructure, this ever-growing patchwork creates a bird’s nest or spaghetti infrastructure of logical connections. This kind of messy architecture creates bottlenecks in adding new services and slows down innovation.

With a digital integration hub, you take a data-first approach. By creating a layer between those repeated manual connections, a hub allows data and infrastructure teams to quickly adjust the data and shorten development cycles. This enables both the infrastructure and application teams to do what they do best: Bring business value to the customers through their applications, instead of spending long hours on manual integration.

Customers want to get the most out of the loyalty points they accumulate, but they also expect these loyalty programs to be accurate and up to date. According to Bond Brand Loyalty, 84% of customers said the ability to instantly redeem points for purchases at other merchants improved their experience. As brands continue their digital transformations, adopting technology such as a digital integration hub can unlock those positive user experiences in loyalty programs and, in turn, increase revenue and customer lifetime value.

As CEO of GigaSpaces, Adi Paz stands at the forefront of one of the fastest moving technology industry trends: Advanced analytics and In-Memory Computing. He’s spent the past 11 years driving GigaSpaces’ vision, strategy and scaling its business. Paz brings two decades of experience in business management, international marketing, strategic sales, channel development and product development. Prior to joining GigaSpaces, Paz served as VP of Marketing and Products and VP of Business Development at RADVISION, specializing in selling and marketing solutions to the developer and enterprise markets. Paz also held senior positions at Starhome, a Comverse company, focusing on the carrier market.

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