For your business to be successful, it needs revenue for financial health. The key to growing profits is to have plenty of customers. Advertising helps you attract new clients, but it’s not the only way to build a strong customer base. Loyalty programs are also a great option for obtaining and retaining clients.
What Are Loyalty Programs?
The name says it all. Loyalty programs are designed to promote customer loyalty to your store or brand. These programs generally revolve around incentives or rewards.
Each time customers make a purchase, they gain points. When they have accumulated enough points, they can use them as store credit. Some points programs have a catalog of prizes that clients can put their points towards. Airlines use this system with accumulated miles.
In the past, many coffee shops used the “buy X, get one free” card program. Employees punched a ticket each time clients bought a cup of coffee. Once the card was full, customers received their free beverage. Instead of physical punch cards, modern programs track promotions digitally.
Members of loyalty programs can also receive extra services compared to walk-in customers. For example, some loyalty programs offer free shipping or advance access to new product releases.
Your brand may offer a flat discount to returning customers, such as 5% off. Sometimes, businesses have special sales for members only. Members may be able to bypass a waiting list for in-demand items.
How Do Loyalty Programs Work?
It’s relatively easy for your business to get started with loyalty programs. This checklist can help you.
The first thing you need to create a loyalty program for your business is point of sale software. POS systems perform many important functions for modern businesses:
- Keeping track of customer purchases
- Managing rewards points for online and in-store purchases
- Offering a variety of payment options, including mobile payments and credit/debit cards
- Helping you analyze metrics for sales and costs
- Making it easy to manage in-house credit programs
You can think of POS systems as an all-in-one solution for business management. Being able to keep tabs on customer purchasing trends can help you create a personalized loyalty program for your business.
A loyalty program only works if it’s appealing to your clients. Done right, rewards can be a huge motivator for purchases.
Great rewards aren’t always about items that save people tons of money. Flat discounts aren’t always as attractive as getting a surprise gift.
To discover what your customers find valuable, you can ask them for feedback. Surveys or suggestion boxes can work wonders.
Every loyalty program should have some way to promote referrals. That way, current customers feel rewarded if they recommend your business to friends and family members. This simple action can result in many new customers.
Some stores offer gift cards to customers who get friends to sign up for membership. Gyms may reward both loyal clients and newcomers with a free month of membership or similar incentives.
Why Are Loyalty Programs Smart?
As a business owner, you may worry that loyalty programs could eat into your profits. After all, discounts or free items have a cost for your business. That said, the benefits of loyalty incentives generally outweigh their costs significantly.
Advertising To New Customers Isn’t Cheap
Instead of only looking at the cost of rewards programs, you need to also consider the advertising cost for clients in general. What you discover may surprise you.
Often, the customer acquisition costs for attracting new customers are much higher than what it costs to retain existing clients. Marketing requires a lot of money to attract a relatively small number of visitors to your business.
Once you find people who like your products or services, it makes financial sense to invest a little money in keeping them. After all, loyal customers may support your brand for years or decades.
Loyalty Rewards the Best Customers
When done right, rewards programs help you figure out which types of customers are your most valuable target audience. Motivating those clients can provide a large boost in revenue for your business. In other words, 10% of your customers may provide way more than 10% of your revenue.
Loyalty Programs Work
Look at loyalty programs as a way to build a lasting relationship with your customers. Your clients get benefits, but so does your business. Happy customers translate into a great business reputation.