A Loyalty program isn’t just useful tools for large businesses. It’s easier than ever for SMBs to attract new customers and keep valuable existing ones by rewarding them for their loyalty. Loyalty programs are a great way to retain customers and encourage increased or repeated business. If done correctly, it can repay the effort and investment many times over, showing over time as higher sales and profits on your financial statement. Here are three key steps to implementing an effective loyalty program that keeps your customers coming back.
Keep it Simple
If you want to attract customers to participate in your loyalty program, you’ll need to make it easy for them. Complex schemes tend to put customers off and are also tricky for you to manage. Make it easy for customers to sign up and automate as much of the processes as you can, to save time and money. Also make the benefits to customers clear, such as a free product or a discount on another purchase. Companies like Accentiv’ can help you run an end-to-end loyalty program for your business. If you’d like to create one yourself, consider basing your loyalty program on an app, which makes it easy for customers to manage on their mobile devices. E-commerce programs like Shopify also offer modules for creating shopper loyalty incentive schemes.
Reward Your Customers at Every Stage
Besides offering rewards for purchases, don’t forget to reward other valuable actions and engage with your customers at every touchpoint, whether they are coming to your storefront to shop or doing so online. A 2014 study by SEO firm BrightLocal found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so give your customers a little incentive to share an invitation with friends or post their reviews or experiences on social media. This helps spread the word about your business and retain top-of-mind awareness among your existing customers.
Gather Customer Data. Study It. Act on It.
Rewards programs are not just useful for obtaining repeat business, they are also excellent tools for getting to know your customers so you can better meet their needs, deepen your relationship with them and retain loyalty. Make it compulsory for your customers to fill out a form to sign up to your loyalty program. With the information you gather you are able to build customer profiles and – over the long term – study their buying habits so you can promote your offerings in a way that may most interest them. You can also more easily identify new opportunities to upsell and cross-sell products in the future.
More sign ups do not automatically mean guaranteed loyalty. There are customers who simply sign up to multiple programs to take advantage of an immediate discount or one-off advantage and don’t come back to purchase for a long time. One way to tell whether your loyalty program is enjoying some success is to refer to your financial statement monthly. If your program is gaining traction, you should expect to see an increase in your customer base and spending per customer, as well as an increase in your inventory purchases to meet their growing needs over time. If you’re engaging your customers well, you should also see more reviews and sharing on social media platforms. Visit the QuickBooks Small Business Center today for more information and expert advice on ideas and solutions for small businesses.