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Customer loyalty programs can help build relationships with customers, direct their behavior, and increase repeat business. You can design a loyalty program that helps you gain customers and keep the ones you have. An added benefit is the ability to better track customer purchases, allowing you to respond to buying trends and phase out poorly performing products and services. New technology has expanded the available types of customer loyalty programs. You can implement a traditional reward card or use one of the new methods, such as administering your loyalty program with a mobile phone application. Ultimately, customer loyalty programs can positively impact your bottom line.
Customer loyalty programs provide a way to personalize the sales experience and make customers more engaged with your brand. This provides numerous benefits to your business, including benefits to your bottom line.
Better customer involvement
Customers love loyalty programs. In the U.S., membership in customer loyalty programs now tops 1.8 million members, according to a census taken by the marketing firm Colloquy. They make people feel involved with your brand and stimulate the reward centers of the brain to make them eager to come back and purchase from you again. Tiered loyalty programs can feel like a game to consumers, and they will continue to patronize your business to get to higher levels in the program.
Using customer loyalty programs helps you determine which aspects of your business are doing well and which need work. If customers with loyalty cards tend to shop at certain times or in certain areas of your store, you can hold special promotions at slow times or adjust other areas to increase their appeal. You can use data obtained at the point of sale to discover these details, since customers who are subscribed to loyalty programs leave demographic information that can be directly tied to sales information.
Retain and regain customers
By offering a customer loyalty program, you help prevent customers from leaving for your competitor. In addition, because you have their personal information, you can tailor special coupons or offers to entice back customers who have not visited your business in a while.
Customers with loyalty cards not only visit your store more often, they also purchase more. Loyalty cards encourage spending, since for the customer, spending brings rewards. Because of the ties they feel with your brand, customers in loyalty programs are also more likely to spend more in a single transaction.
Customers ordinarily enjoy receiving free gifts from companies they patronize. Customer loyalty programs can be an effective way to encourage customers to shop more frequently or prevent them from defecting to a competitor. There are plenty of issues of concern that you should take into account before implementing this type of program. The most important issue is cost. Giving away free items on a continual basis is a significant expense. You have to make sure you can afford to operate this type of program. It would create a customer relations quagmire to have to shut down a loyalty program because you did not adequately assess the expense of the endeavor.
Not matching rewards to customers
Customer loyalty programs should be carefully constructed. There is little doubt that customers like receiving free gifts, but an inadequate reward structure might not produce the desired behavior. If your rewards are too robust or frequent, you may end up spending more money to produce the desired behavior than needed. Once customer loyalty programs are running, it becomes difficult to make changes that do not upset customers, particularly if you scale back the reward structure. Adjusting your company's loyalty program may give your customers the impression that your business is in trouble.
Failure to segment
Customer loyalty programs are designed to reinforce specific customer behavior. Not all customers need the same level of reinforcement. It can be a mistake to treat all customers as a homogeneous group, providing the same incentives to all. If you identify the customers who are more likely to exhibit undesirable behavior, you can target your loyalty program to them. In this way, you provide greater rewards to high-risk segments, while providing less robust rewards to customers that are already satisfied. If you implement a generic loyalty program, the program will likely end up costing you more for the same results.
Another potential problem with some customer loyalty programs is not having a way to track the results of the program. Without a tracking or reporting feature, you may be able to tell that your customers appreciate the program but not how much the program has contributed to a change in behavior. Neglecting this feature can decrease the usefulness of your investment.
Customer loyalty programs offer a big reward for a small investment. In fact, according to Joseph Nunes of the USC School of Business, companies that offer perishable products or services have low costs but a lot to gain from starting a loyalty program.
Costs will vary widely, depending on the program, but analysts at Gartner report that U.S. companies spent $1.2 billion on loyalty programs in recent years. As businesses move from passing out plastic cards for customers to carry in their wallets to providing mobile apps for download, the administrative costs of loyalty programs stand to drop even further.
Personal relationships with customers ensure that they patronize your business instead of a competitor's. Customer loyalty programs are an ideal way to build that relationship. Most people appreciate rewards, gifts, and benefits, and the desire to reach a reward plateau can keep your customers engaged and coming back for more. Two of the things you should consider before implementing a loyalty program are expense and segmentation. Before you begin to give away rewards, make sure you can afford to sustain the program over the long haul. Consider a graduated rewards scale that provides more frequent rewards to unhappy customers. This can make your loyalty program more affordable without sacrificing results.
Are you curious about customer loyalty programs? These programs are popular with many companies. It is a great way to award customers for their business, and to ensure their future business. All types of companies participate in these programs from airlines to casinos to super markets and everything in between.
You likely have several options when considering a loyalty program for your customers. There are a few things you will want to think about before moving forward on a program of this sort. The first thing to consider is the type of award. This can vary from free product or service to money back or even other awards like trips or vacation packages. The next thing you will want to consider is the amount you want to spend on the program, and whether it is fiscally sound, and whether of course it is something that your particular customers would be interested in. Spending money on an awards program customers would not appreciate should be avoided.
Before incorporating a loyalty program it is wise to consider a number of different options. Business.com provides links you may find helpful.
Browse the links provided on the left and find out more about customer loyalty programs.
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