How do you make saving a habit?

That is the question that Bits of Stock started with. Millennials are the least invested generation, and we are going to change that.

Through countless hours of interviews, research, etc. we found that millennials are not great at investing money, but they are their best at investing in experiences. Saving goals stay #goals, while the times spent with friends socializing or traveling are saved on phones as future #tbt’s, to be shared and cherished. We feel similarly about things we care about - research says that millennials aspire more for social change than personal gain.

At Bits of Stock we think that’s pretty incredible, and we think it’s time to reward these positive behaviours.

In fact, we found a way to reward millennials for investing in their experiences and embracing social action. The best part? They don’t have to change their spending habits to achieve this.

By looking at the ways users and brands interact, we found that brands spend over $100B annually in marketing in order to incorporate over 10,000 ads in an average person’s day. Brands in fact target each and every one of your daily habits to build brand loyalty and increase spending - without you even realizing it. They are habits, after all, we do them subconsciously.

We think brands are getting it wrong. These kinds of interactions are often in the form of ads, and they are great to get the attention of the customers. But what about their retention?

Brand loyalty programs were intended to do just that, by rewarding customers for their continued purchases. In fact, when looking at the definitions of brand loyalty and reward programs, the connection is very clear:

Loyalty Program: encourage shoppers to return to stores where they frequently make purchases. Some of the incentives may include advanced access to new products, additional discounts or sometimes free merchandise.

Brand Loyalty: the positive association consumers attach to a particular product, demonstrated by their repeat purchases of it even when given choices of competing alternatives.

Loyalty programs are incentives given to customers to ensure brand loyalty. Yet, marketing budgets are still mainly spent on ads to attract new clients, and the incentives provided to the users are not doing the job. Let’s look at the incentives brands usually provide via collecting reward points:

The problem with these rewards is that they ensure the customer will make a repurchase, but they do not ensure the customer actually cares about the brand. The discounts do not foster positive connotations to the brand, they only suggest that you should make another purchase with the brand in order to gain some satisfaction from the discount. On the other hand, cashback, upgraded services, and perks do not correlate with the product purchased and create a gap between the benefits and the product. These rewards are tied to the idea of instant gratification, where customers are expected to act on their instinct and just buy into the product again and again - preferably as soon as possible, as these reward points often expire. After this date, reward points suddenly become a monopoly currency and are referred to as spoilage. Spoilage is when points or miles go unredeemed or unused. Seemingly innocent (what would be the harm in not making another purchase? In not claiming discounts?), these spoilage points are actually incredibly expensive for brands. How much? $50 billion by global estimates - about half of a brand’s annual spending on reward programs. (graph)

This short term, instant reward solution for customers to engage with brands is just not working - on either the customer or the brand side.

This does not come as a surprise as loyalty is something that is built and retained over time, and a short term reward cannot ensure a long term affection. People’s spending needs and capabilities change, and by just feeding into their immediate spending, retention is not ensured. So when looking at all these changing variables, it sometimes looks like customers and brands are speaking different languages or pass one another. However, there is one element that never changes, and we at Bits of Stock think it can become a tool to translate customer attention to customer retention.

That is values. Customers today are faced with so many choices, that a good product and branding are not enough to create a preference. Brands realized this shift and began to invest in the idea of brand values and culture. When buying into a brand, the customer buys into values, beliefs, and a lifestyle that aligns with his or her habits. At Bits of Stock, we want to reward these positive values.

It all comes down to HaBits. Changing how brands value habits one bit at a time.