July 10, 2015
Loyalty programs have the ability to create a vast pool of loyal, repeat customers. Current consumers spend 67% more than new ones and this is why 65% of companies have implemented a loyalty scheme. They are vital for small businesses. But, they only work when done right. They can go wrong and this will lead to a massive waste of time and resources which you simply cannot afford. So how do you make sure you are putting time and effort into creating a loyalty scheme that will add value to your business?
Plan It Out
The worst way to start is by rushing straight into a loyalty scheme without planning it properly first. So take a step back and decide what you want to gain from your loyalty scheme. For example some loyalty schemes are there for customer retention, some aim to attract new customers and for some; the goal is to increase their customers spend per visit. Once you know your goals you can now figure out the right direction in which to take your scheme in order to complete these goals.
Know Your Customers
You must also have a detailed understanding of who your customers are before you can start designing your loyalty scheme. To have a successful scheme it’s best to know what makes your customers tick. If you know this then you can tailor your loyalty program to suit your customers and offer them the rewards that they want. This will give your customers a greater incentive to spend more to earn more points and rewards.
Express Your Company Values
Researchers found that the biggest driver of customer loyalty was shared values between the business and the consumer. Did you know that 64% of consumers that claimed to have a strong brand relationship cited having shared values as the main reason for being loyal? As a local and independent business this can be something as simple as sharing pride in your local area or having a mutual passion for a community event.
Attract Customers to Your Scheme
A massive part of driving the success of your loyalty program will involve getting your customers (both old and new) to start taking part in the scheme. This can be done by making everyone who enters your business aware of your fantastic loyalty scheme that will stop them going anywhere near the competition. To make sure your customers know about your program it is useful to set up banners and posters around your shop to advertise the scheme. A little bit of training for your employees is also extremely helpful as they can then advertise the loyalty scheme at point of sales and also confidently deal with any queries your customers may have.
For more information, have a look at our blog on the top tips for customer acquisition, https://cally.co.uk/2014/09/10-key-tips-to-drive-your-loyalty-scheme-customer-acquisition-process/.
Give Them a Head Start
Use a welcome/ sign up bonus to immediately engage your customers with your loyalty program. This method is usually overlooked by many small business owners, however it can go a very long way to ensuring the success of your loyalty scheme. One study gave two groups of consumer’s two different loyalty cards. Both cards were for a car wash but one offered a free car wash after 8 visits and the other offered a free car wash after 10 visits. The second loyalty card also gave the customer 2 free stamps for starting off so in essence there was no real difference between the two cards. The researchers found that the second group had nearly double the rate of completion because this welcome bonus motivated the customers to complete their loyalty scheme.
Keep Your Scheme Simple
It is also important to keep your loyalty program simple. Overcomplicating your program will just confuse your customers, and this is will only serve to put them off. Try keeping your loyalty scheme as a simple points per spend/ visit system that will be easy for your customers to understand quickly. Busy customers don’t want to be spending ages trying to work out if your complicated system can get them a free coffee.
Give Your Customers Choice
A tiered system is a really good way to keep a variety of customers engaged in your loyalty program. Some customers will want instant rewards to stay focused on the scheme so for these customers it is best to have a series of low value rewards that require a small amount of points. At the other end of the spectrum there are those customers who like to collect their points and save up for something big. For these customers it’s important to give them something of value for all their hard work and loyalty. So maybe a nice experience is right for them? For example a one on one session with your head chef would adequatley show your appreciation of their loyalty.
Never Assume Your Customers Are Satisfied
It would be a big mistake to assume that your customers remain static and are happy receiving the same reward over and over again. Like everything in this world, your customer’s attitudes and motivations are constantly changing. Therefore it is important to keep interacting with them (this can be done in-store or via social media) and be ready to evolve your loyalty scheme with your customers changing wants. This will also help to keep your loyalty scheme engaging for your customers as they will be more motivated to achieve rewards that they’ve never had or experienced before.