You’ve heard the old business adage that it’s easier to keep an existing customer than to find a new one. With a digital loyalty program, you can boost your business’s customer retention. Not tech-savvy? No worries — a spate of new apps make the process a snap.
Setting Up Your Digital Loyalty Program
The first step to creating a digital loyalty program is figuring out what you want to offer. This requires some market research, as what works and doesn’t can vary by industry. Think about loyalty programs you’ve participated in as a customer. Chances are, they involved one or more of the following:
Cash back rewards. Ever had a business offer to send you a monthly or quarterly check for a percentage, say 1% or 2%, of what you spent that period? That’s a type of loyalty program, and it can be effective for the right customers in the right industry.
Consider CanadaVet, an online retailer of pet medications. The company participates in a digital rewards program that pays customers 5% cash back on all purchases made through its website.
In-store or online discounts. Rather than giving cash back, you might prefer to offer members up-front discounts. You can set up a program like this a few ways. One is to provide an across-the-board discount on all purchases, say 5%. Another is to designate certain days — for instance, the last Friday of every month — as member discount days. Or you could choose specific items or brands on which to give members a price cut.
Rewards points. Another popular digital loyalty program involves giving rewards points for purchases. Customers accumulate points, which they can redeem for merchandise or in-store credit.
At Canadian Tire, customers receive 0.4% of their purchase price in Canadian Tire money. The rate increases to 4% for those who sign up for and pay with a store credit card.
Choosing an App to Host Your Digital Loyalty Program
In years past, you had to have technical know-how or else fork over a hefty sum to a computer whiz to set up your digital loyalty program. Not anymore. With the proliferation of rewards apps, you can build a robust program with a few taps of a smartphone or tablet screen.
Here are some apps to consider for building your digital loyalty program:
Belly. One of the most popular and fastest-growing loyalty apps in the marketplace, Belly gives you an iPad upon registering with its network, allowing you to track customer visits to your store. Customers rack up points using a plastic rewards card or via their smartphone. The app also integrates with social media, letting you offer additional rewards to customers who promote your business to their friends online.
Perka. With Perka, everything is done electronically, removing the need for membership cards or key chain tags. As long as a customer is carrying their phone, the app recognizes when they enter your store. You receive a notification and can greet the customer by name. Highly customisable, Perka enables you to define your loyalty program however you like.
Punchcard. This unique app lets you reward customers with products and services from outside your business — iPads, gift cards, movie tickets. Many merchants prefer this model, as it keeps them from having to discount their own goods for regular customers.
Repeat customers are the bread and butter of a successful business. By establishing a digital loyalty program, you give your customers a reason to keep coming back.