stratLX

stratLX: Five years of building lasting, measurable and profitable customer relationships

stratLX anniversary

stratLX anniversary

It’s often said that time flies. Today, stratLX is celebrating its fifth anniversary. I’m taking advantage of this special occasion to take a moment and reflect on the transformative and constant aspects of the past five years.

Five years ago, I founded stratLX to help brands build lasting, measurable and profitable relationships with their customers at heart. Over the years, the agency has established itself in the marketplace, and today, the team is made up of three exceptional professionals. Our mission continues to galvanize all our actions and guide our vision for the future.

stratLX’s beginnings

From the outset, my vision for was to offer companies strategic and operational support for their customer loyalty initiatives. These dual perspectives—strategic and operational—are at the heart of our approach because I firmly believe that success lies in merging strategic thinking and operational execution. This has forged my professional identity over the past 20 years and stratLX over the past five years.

But why this dual approach? Because a well-conceived strategy must be well-executed to reach its full potential. My ambition was to provide a complete service, from concept to completion, to ensure that the “what” of the strategy was defined and “how” it was executed with the latest best practices.

While the vision of offering strategic and operational customer loyalty coaching was clear, the path to success was less so. It was October 2018, barely two years after the sale of our loyalty technology business. I felt ready for this inspiring new project. At that point, I embarked on a series of informal meetings, whether over coffee, lunch or a cocktail hour, to discuss customer loyalty, business needs, and managers’ perceptions of customer retention and relationship marketing. These meetings were a real source of inspiration.

Determined and full of ambition, and supported by my spouse (actually, the word “support” is too weak, as he was much more than that; he encouraged and motivated me to get started), I set myself three goals with specific deadlines:

 

3 months: Acquire a first client

Those who know me understand that I’m not one to sit back and do nothing. I love action, movement and a job well done. I was lucky enough to start my new career as a “consultant” by working alongside the company that had bought our previous business.

This project gave me a minimum income to get started. However, to ensure the viability of the agency, I had to land my first contract and sign my first customer.

Two months later, in December, I achieved this goal by working with the team at La Cage Brasserie Sportive to optimize their customer loyalty strategy.

My first objective had been reached and I could pursue the adventure!

6 months: Support a second company in its customer loyalty strategy

A first success does not guarantee the next. The expression “once is not enough” summed up my initial state of mind. It was essential to keep developing the business because the only way to succeed in business is to have customers…satisfied customers.

If we’re celebrating stratLX’s fifth anniversary today, you’ll guess that I’ve achieved this second goal in six months. In fact, I’ve more than doubled it!

12 months: Generate enough growth to make a living

The months that followed were decisive. Launching a company certainly has its share of risks, but the excitement of seeing the project grow more than makes up for the challenges!

During the first year of stratLX’s existence, I had the privilege of accompanying SMEs and major corporations, such as VIA Rail and Videotron, helping them to design and optimize their loyalty strategy, implement it, and demonstrate its performance.

Above all, I’ve been able to prove that the services offered by stratLX meet a real need in the marketplace: to build customer loyalty more effectively.

The adventure continued, with new initiatives and a diverse clientele in various sectors, first in Québec, then across Canada and beyond its borders. Today, five years later, I’m surrounded by an exceptional team, both professionally and personally.

The evolution of customer loyalty over the past five years

Developments in customer loyalty over the past five years have been remarkable. These years have been particularly tumultuous, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the entire world from 2020 onwards, causing major repercussions for businesses.

Beyond the socio-economic consequences, this crisis forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation. At the same time, significant changes have occurred in the way customer data is collected and used. These factors have had, and continue to have, a major impact on the way companies approach customer loyalty.

1. Accelerating the digital transformation of businesses

In 2020, most nations around the world imposed restrictions in response to COVID-19, leading to the temporary closure of stores and limiting the number of customers allowed in them. Companies were forced to strengthen and accelerate their online presence. Consumers responded massively, increasing their online purchases.

Consumers (in Canada and around the world) are increasingly familiar with mobile technologies. Their expectations are also higher. Cell phone use is on the rise, whether for research, making a purchase or tracking a package.

So it’s not surprising to see a growing number of mobile apps in which loyalty programs are integrated. These applications not only give customers easy access to their mobile credentials (loyalty card, code or other) but also enable them to view their offers and be notified when a new reward is available.

Although this transformation was already underway before the crisis, it was greatly accelerated during this period. Customers, increasingly comfortable with digital tools, have expressed a growing interest in digital loyalty programs, accessible via mobile apps and available across all channels, whether physical or digital.

This digitalization of the shopping experience has enabled organizations to gather more data on their customers, preferences and purchasing habits.

The availability of this data and investments in digital transformation have offered companies the opportunity to significantly improve the personalization of their products, services and customer interactions.

This improvement in the purchase and post-purchase experience, thanks to simplified processes, has also enabled companies to be better positioned to innovate. The impact on loyalty strategies is significant, as companies now have the ability to develop more sophisticated and personalized loyalty programs—all responding more effectively to their customers’ needs.

La Cage Brasserie Sportive Case

La Cage Brasserie Sportive has fully embraced the digitalization of the loyalty experience. In September 2021, Club Cage was revitalized with the launch of a new mobile app. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we collaborated with this iconic Québec brand to completely rethink its loyalty program, making it fully accessible via mobile devices.

The mobile app offers members an enriched experience, including featured offers, personalized rewards, and the ability to invite friends, track their progress through the levels, and claim their points. They can also place orders, reserve a table, locate a restaurant and write reviews.

In addition to transforming its loyalty program, the brand implemented a Customer Data Platform (CDP), enabling it to create a unified view of its customer base. This platform ensures that the company provides consistent offers and messages, personalizes the customer experience, and strengthens its close ties with its clientele.

2. The importance of the customer experience


In recent years, the customer experience has become the foundation of brands’ business strategies, playing a crucial role as a competitive differentiator. What distinguishes this approach today from that of five years ago, however, is the increased focus on customer loyalty, a trend increasingly embraced by executives.

The latter are aware of the crucial importance of the customer experience, the development of lasting relationships and the rising cost of customer acquisition.

We have witnessed a transformation of the sheer concept of loyalty, from a simple transactional rewards program to a strategy aimed at creating meaningful relationships with customers and delivering memorable experiences.

Loyalty is no longer limited to transactions; it now focuses on emotional aspects, such as honesty, trust, a sense of belonging, and of course, happiness.

How does this manifest itself in concrete terms? We see, for example, companies rewarding social and responsible engagement, feedback and sharing.

What’s more, new types of rewards are emerging that focus on unique experiences. The emphasis is on moments that build trust and bring surprises. All of this is designed around the bond we want to create with our customers.

In an era when people care about their health, their well-being and that of the planet, this is very relevant. Of course, transactions remain important; however, now more than ever, we consider the loyal customer in the context of all the customers have with a brand, regardless of the business and its industry. This more holistic approach to loyalty helps to strengthen relationships and boost customer loyalty.

3. Gamification

Gamification, such as challenges and badges, are increasingly integrated into loyalty programs. This innovative approach aims to make customer engagement more playful and rewarding. Beyond the fun, gamification can also support a loyalty strategy by meeting specific objectives.

With the evolution of loyalty solutions available on the market, the integration of gamification is becoming increasingly easy and accessible for brands. These technological innovations simplify the lives of marketers who need to define precise objectives as they incorporate gamification into their loyalty strategy.

Sephora Beauty Insider Case

For example, Sephora recently incorporated gamification into its Beauty Insider program. Regardless of their level, program members can take part in simple, fun challenges, completing both purchase-related and non-purchase-related tasks.

This offers a variety of ways to interact with the brand. The first challenge includes four tasks, giving members the opportunity to earn points for each task completed as well as bonus points for successfully completing the entire challenge.

Tasks include buying online with in-store collection, signing up for SMS alerts, adding samples to online orders, and trying out the Color iQ tool in-store. These challenges let Sephora present all its services, both in-store and online, in an entertaining way and reward customer engagement.

4. Sensitivity to the collection and use of personal data

Over the past decade, we’ve seen major upheavals in personal data protection. Following the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in California, Québec also adopted Bill 25, which aims to provide a framework for the collection and use of personal data. In the wake of this, we saw the strengthening of privacy settings on mobile devices. Google even announced the end of third-party cookies.

As data collection and personalization increase, so do concerns about privacy. Customers are increasingly cautious about sharing their data. This growing attention to data confidentiality and the end of third-party cookies have been described as “the data apocalypse.”

However, these changes also represent an opportunity for companies. Proprietary data—the information collected directly by a company from its own customers or users, such as purchase history, preferences, demographics and browsing behaviour—has come to dominate in brand strategies.

This data is a real goldmine for companies, offering a unique competitive advantage. While products and services can be copied, a brand’s intimate knowledge of its customers and the quality of its customer relationships are difficult to replicate.

It is essential for brands to be transparent in the collection and use of data. Striking the right balance between personalization, transparency and confidentiality is crucial. Achieving this balance elevates customer loyalty.

Loyalty programs offer direct access to valuable data on customer behaviour and preferences, while placing transparency and confidentiality at the heart of their approach, as this data has been voluntarily provided by program members. This strengthens customer confidence and contributes to long-term loyalty.

The evolution of our customer loyalty services

Since its creation five years ago, stratLX has changed its structure to welcome two exceptional experts. Together, we take a collaborative approach to consulting, working closely with our customers to understand their vision, objectives and challenges.

With them, we navigate the complexities of projects, identify opportunities to build customer loyalty, and overcome obstacles along the way. Our mission remains the same: to build lasting, measurable and profitable relationships with their customers at heart.

The expansion of our team has solidified our expertise in customer loyalty, broadening our ability to support our customers even further in their customer loyalty and relationship marketing strategies. This encompasses various aspects, including the creation and co-creation of loyalty programs, marketing automation, profitability analysis and ROI calculation, and the analysis and optimization of loyalty programs, including customer journey improvement and loyalty budget management. In addition, we are also able to help our customers select loyalty technology solutions, implement and manage the launch of their loyalty programs or strategies, and provide loyalty training.

Over the past five years, we have been going through a global crisis with the pandemic. Beyond its human impact, COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of companies and radically altered our work methods. For stratLX, this represented an opportunity to broaden our horizons toward international projects.

At the end of my first stratLX year, I wrote down the following leitmotiv: set goals, work hard to achieve them, stay open to opportunities, and be proud of what I achieve.

Today, those words remain as relevant and true as ever. I’m delighted to report that we have achieved our initial objectives. We are also better prepared to contribute to the development of lasting, measurable and profitable relationships between our customers and their customers.

As we celebrate this fifth anniversary, I would like to express my gratitude to our customers, partners and my team. All have contributed to our success. We look forward to continuing to evolve, learn and push the boundaries of the loyalty experience in the years to come.

Would you like to review your customer loyalty strategy or need support in implementing your loyalty program? As experts in customer loyalty, we offer strategic and operational support to help you stand out from the competition. Contact us to find out more about our services.

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