In a cut-throat economic environment any incentive that attracts new customers and retains existing clients has got to be taken seriously. In recent years, many organisations, from multinational concerns to local convenience stores, have introduced loyalty schemes that offer some kind of inducement, such as a discount, gift, offer or prize, which rewards clients for using their services. Loyalty schemes come in many guises and one particular programme will not suit every business. As with any major business decision, it is essential that you do your research to establish what advantages can be derived from loyalty schemes; you should also make sure you choose the ideal programme for your business.
Types of Loyalty Scheme
There is a wide variety of schemes available, including club cards that provide discounts for every item bought, points programmes that reward customers for their loyalty by offering prizes and upgraded or free delivery options. The choice is vast, as are the methods by which custom is recorded, from stamped cards in coffee shops to smart cards and smartphone apps.
Your size and type of business will determine the best programme for your needs, but experts agree on some general advice that is universally applicable: they suggest that programmes should offer more than just discounts, as customers tend to forget about discounts quickly, whereas a physical gift or prize tends to be tangible; something that they can have almost straight away, or in the case of frequent traveller trips, something they can look forward to.
Loyalty programmes do not merely exist to keep customers happy. Though customer satisfaction is of great importance to firms, loyalty programmes can also be used to generate data on purchases. Knowing how customers shop, what they buy and what brings them back for more can be of immense commercial value to retailers.
Google and Amazon have championed the practice of using purchasing statistics to shape business strategies, but smaller firms can also use behavioural patterns to streamline advertising campaigns. Different providers offer different services. Loyalty Pro Flexible Reward Systems, for example, are completely tailored to your brand and are able to be used in any currency. Their systems can also identify your organisation’s most loyal customers, who are also usually the top 10 per cent of your most profitable patrons. These customers, according to experts, are worth five to six times more than the rest of your client base put together.
Do Your Homework
Choose a scheme that best fits the size and budget of your business. Universal loyalty cards, where customers can scan a smart card or download an app for their smartphone or tablet, have become increasingly popular in recent years. They offer convenience, saving you time devising and setting up an individual scheme, but they tend to be expensive. Perhaps more importantly, this type of system is very impersonal and you may not have immediate access to the customer information given to the card provider by your customers. Remember, a loyalty scheme should always ensure that your customers are not just getting something from the programme, but are getting something that they want.
This guest submission was contributed by Lloyd on behalf of Loyalty Pro.