Customer loyalty is a hard-won prize these days. There is a wealth of choice available that allows consumers to spend wherever and whenever they choose in our 7 days a week, 24 hour retail world. In addition, with the ever-climbing cost of living, customers will inevitably be lured by promotional offers and hunting for a bargain. Special offers are ubiquitous and coupons at hand to be saved and redeemed, not to mention increasingly savvy shoppers who are much more inclined now to go for own-brand products to get a perceived better deal. Brands have never had to work harder to win and retain customer loyalty.
Loyalty reward programmes help to balance this trend and are an effective route to consistently rewarding customers and increasing sales for your business. Conducting these sorts of activities successfully requires a strong understanding of consumer attitudes, particularly in the current economic climate. Brand managers need to work hard to gain a real insight into customer behaviour in response to promotional activity, and loyalty reward programmes can actually help them to achieve this.
These sorts of programmes enable you to learn more about your customer’s shopping habits and preferences, and as a result will go on to improve your sales. Obtaining the data is one thing, but making use of it is the key. Targeted promotions around the products that you know particular customers regularly purchase make it easy for them to get what they want. This enhances customer satisfaction and will keep them coming back because they know they can get what they want and get a good deal.
This sort of personalised marketing is successful on a number of levels. Not only is the customer happy because they are getting a bargain, they will also be pleased to receive relevant offers rather than the too-regular sort of generic flyers that are not of any interest. Personalised marketing ensures that customers receive only relevant information, which makes them think well of you, makes them feel appreciated, and makes it easy for them to buy the items they actually want.
By providing customers with a desirable “goal” in the shape of their preferred products on offer, they know what they need to do and spend in order to purchase and they can instantly see their rewards building up. This naturally increases customer loyalty, and if they don’t need to shop around, then they will buy everything from you in order to obtain their reward quicker. This in turn positively impacts your bottom line and steers customers away from your competitors.
Customers want to be rewarded. They are choosing to spend their money with you, so it is both important and necessary to thank them and encourage them to keep coming back. A neat way to do this is through a tiered online loyalty points programme, whereby you can reward your most loyal customers by allowing them to climb the ranks. Beyond a simple goal or product reward, this sort of system allows them to reach a higher, more exclusive tier of your programme with added benefits, such as exclusive discounts or product previews. They can collect points for purchases which they can then put towards future purchases with you. This is likely to increase the frequency of a customer’s visits or their purchases, again boosting your bottom line and making a brand advocate of the customer without their even realising it.
Loyalty schemes have become a well-known retail tool in recent years and seem set only to grow as more brands recognise their value and power. Indeed they may well soon become a necessary weapon in the armoury of brands that need to fight ever-harder to gain consumer attention and spending.