The secret of loyalty programs is to encourage consumers to accumulate airline miles, earn points on their credit cards for cash and gifts, and receive discounts for frequent meals at favorite shops. In some cases, they even pay extra to join a business’s exclusive club.
While these awards are often associated with big names such as American Airlines, Marriott and Chase, the corporate giants are far from isolated from the market. At a time when participation in loyalty programs is growing at a steady pace, small businesses from all lifestyles – from our self-service stores to laundries and even dental clinics – are offering concepts to bring their customers back for more information.
At Glenlaurel, a high-end Scottish inn in Bucolic Hocking Hills in southeast Columbus, Ohio, the loyalty scheme is simple, straightforward and very effective.
It plays a role in the resort’s reputation as a romantic resort that cater more to couples. Customers choose their favorite anniversary date, often the wedding date or the day they meet, to commit to an annual break with advanced facilities such as weekly meals and spa treatments. Each time they return on or about the same date, they receive a discount at the residence and earn more savings for the following year, starting with a 10% discount and a 50% ceiling.
This is a constant incentive to reduce rates in luxury rooms and cottages full of fireplaces and Jacuzzis, which regularly cost $ 189 to $ 349 a night. Each year, club members are presented with a limited number of souvenir plates made by a local potter. Glenlaurel advertises the app on its website and talks about it at the resort during events and when customers book. “The club is a big raffle anniversary,” said general manager Sabrina McCarth, who estimates that 25 percent of guests attend. This share is gradually increasing.
Many businesses consider loyalty programs to be an effective part of the marketing mix, as consumers’ appetites for specialty-related goods and services appear to have remained stable since the recession.
Build a community
Loyalty programs vary greatly in complexity, cost, and results, depending on the factors involved, including the type of business and (of course) the budget.
Simple methods such as the easy-to-follow Glenlarl Anniversary Program are still widely used. However, increasingly, more and more businesses are choosing to leverage mobility, choosing technology-enabled solutions that work with mobile phones and other portable devices and integrate with social media. Programs focus on who spends what, and businesses can make customized offers based on customer location and personal preferences.
Whichever way they choose, experts warn businesses not to spend precious time and resources on customers who are already keen on a product or service. John Bartold, Dallas-based vice president of loyalty solutions at Epsilon, a marketing services company that serves large corporations and a sister company to Colloquy, says this is a common mistake. “If I am a small business owner who only has $ 2,000 or $ 3,000 a year to market and give it to my best customers, it is a waste because they will probably buy from me anyway. “You are targeting a customer base that has room to grow.”
He says many retailers and service businesses now monitor consumer preferences, shopping times and other shopping habits with their point-of-sale systems, allowing them to easily outsource their fans to those who need to spend more. They have a little more pressure to filter.
Finding the right attractions is very important, whether in the form of a special sales preview for “friends and family”, a quick hotel security service, or additional facilities at a local gym or car dealership. Most importantly, Barthold points out that the most effective loyalty programs create a sense of exclusivity – a feeling that the customer now belongs to a group that has certain benefits for members.
“You [the consumer] are part of something that is beyond you,” he says. “And [business] is a player in that community.”
Consider the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, a franchised chain of more than 280 wholly owned retail stores that sell birdseeds, food, and related items to bird enthusiasts. For special discounts, customers can pay up to $ 25 a year to join the Daily Savings Club, an app that is advertised in stores at checkout. For every $ 200 they spend, carpenters receive a 15 percent discount on bird feed and a $ 10 “bird bird” coupon that is valid for any item. Extra discounts are given at special events such as ornithologists’ lectures or demonstrations to build a bird house that allow members to get to know other birds.
During the year, various deals are received only by members via email, which are often customized for a specific area of the store. “Every message that is sent to the customer should be a reason to join the club,” said Amy Moore, director of retail operations at the Carmel-based chain. “We are constantly being hit by the benefits of being on the show.”
Wild Birds created special software for its purchasing system to help its franchisees track and automate the program, efforts that seem to be working. Moore says members of the savings club spend 47 percent more per day than non-members, and typically visit the store three times more often.
A similar rewards model may work well for many retailers – garden malls, fabric stores, fashion boutiques, pet stores, and more.
The Power of numbers
However, unlicensed businesses can also launch high-tech loyalty schemes. Blue Baker, a group of three bakery cafes in Austin and Bryan College Station, Texas, motivates its customers to buy their own sweets, processed breads and pizzas, allowing them to choose from a coalition of about 20 local restaurants.
Called The Taste of B-CS, the alliance allows customers to earn points that can be used at any of the participating institutions, ranging from a high-end restaurant to It includes several times and one meal. “The more dollars you spend in each of these places, the more interesting it becomes for the guest,” says Dave Fox, owner of Blue Baker.
Fox migrated to the program from a punch card system that gave its customers one loaf of bread for every 10 free loaves, but the offer – still in use on Austin’s site – limited their options, noting that everyone was a They are not bread. Pro bread
Under The Taste of B-CS, customers receive one point for every dollar spent and a $ 10 certificate for every 150 points earned. To register, they use their phone to text, scan a QR code (quick response) on a restaurant-removed registration form, or visit a website. Loyal members can also take advantage of the sale of web-based gift certificate courses by offering discounts at their favorite restaurants.
Fox says he and other owners pay about $ 50 a month to run the program with PowerCard based in Wilmington, N.C., one of the many service providers that helps run the program, providing swipe cards and slowing down service management. Many of them use sophisticated encryption methods to protect traders and customers from hackers and other security threats.
Easily retrieving information such as email addresses and customer phone numbers will facilitate other Blue Baker marketing efforts, including sending periodic emails. However, Fox points out that one of the dangers of forming a local group is that customers may get bored if the choice of restaurants does not expand. “We have to grow this group to be sustainable in the long run,” he says.
Remember who you are
Even in the midst of mobility enthusiasm, some businesses find that sophisticated methods are the best and most cost-effective choice.
Brendan Boyle, owner of three Coliseum of Comics stores in central Florida, says this is especially true in the paper-based business, such as comic books, where customers like to touch and feel goods. For more than a decade, the Coliseum, which sells both comics and games, has had good results with old paper punch cards given to customers who buy goods in stores.
They get a custom stamp for every $ 10 spent. 10 stamps turn into a commodity worth $ 10 to $ 15. Contrary to popular belief, his cards never expire. Some people save them and save for a high-priced collection or other large purchase. Boyle admits that technology has penetrated the process: a barcode on the back of each card allows each store to track redemptions. Cheating is not an issue. No one buys goods without a custom stamp in the store, reducing the likelihood that someone will be able to copy the cards.
Nightly tournaments, a regular newsletter, a website, email coupons and personal customer engagement are also part of the formula that has helped double overall sales over the past four years. “We know our customers and they know our customers,” says Boyle. “We can make it much more attractive to come and get things from us.”
Rewarding loyalty with a personal touch allows small businesses to differentiate themselves from the onslaught of offers from larger competitors, who are often ridiculed for their ruthless approach.
“Entrepreneurs are smarter. They can provide better services. “They often know a lot of their customers by sight,” says Barthold of Epsilon. “There are a lot of good things they’ve done before.”
All businesses need the loyalty of their customers to continue their activities. Customer loyalty requires customer experience and satisfaction. If you can satisfy the customer, you can guarantee that the customer will remain loyal and even become a free marketer for you. So, Design and implement customer loyalty programs for your business. Evaluate their loyalty and repeat this cycle repeatedly to increase your business revenue.