by Denise Davis, marketing director FasTrax Solutions
Customers are the heart to any business. Without them we wouldn’t be here, so it’s important you make each of their experiences memorable in hopes that they’ll be loyal to your brand. This leads many companies to create their own branded loyalty program, but what if you could be a part of something bigger? What if you could tackle common challenges like retention, acquisition, engagement, and brand awareness, all with a single program? Doing so could prepare you for a flood of new loyal customers, while maintaining your current customer base.
COALITION VS. UMBRELLA
Remember Plenti Rewards? Their multi-merchant program design combined all participating brands and their points into one unified coalition. Companies involved were suffering because Plenti members were redeeming rewards that were earned elsewhere, and no true loyalty was being fostered. Unlike coalition programs, umbrella programs keep merchants and their points separate, only allowing redemption at the store in which they made the purchase. This structure of rewards makes calculating profit, costs, and ROI a whole lot easier for business owners and marketers. Umbrella programs also help achieve common business goals, like retaining and acquiring customers, engaging with them, and making other consumers aware of your brand.
Retention. Retaining customers can be a major challenge for companies. There isn’t a whole lot that stops a customer from shopping at your competitor, but it is possible to foster that true brand loyalty through innovative strategy. With a loyalty program in place, you have access to valuable information and data that depicts your customer demographic. Tap into that wealth of knowledge and do something with the information; like enhancing your customers’ experiences and making them more personalized. In fact, 80% of consumers indicated they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. It’s the little things that go a long way when trying to achieve true customer loyalty!
Acquisition. As the saying goes, “it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one happy.” By keeping your customers happy and satisfied, it’s likely they’ll share their opinions and experiences with their friends and family. As retailers, you know that word of mouth referrals are the most valuable, and loyalty is a socially driven process. In an online global survey, 84% of respondents said word of mouth recommendations were the most trustworthy. Get your customers talking and offer incentives for successful referrals! For example, Loyal~n~Save, the latest umbrella program to unveil in the United States, offers members a percentage of their friends points every time they make a purchase. What customer could turn down extra points just by referring their social circle?
Engagement. Customers join loyalty programs so that they can engage with their preferred brands. To get customers engaged, you must merge your offline and online presence to create one seamless experience that can be accessed anywhere. Engage with them through social media, surveys, online challenges, and even online games. Gamification techniques are proven to be a successful strategy in getting your customers engaged with your store, website, and loyalty program in general. Highly engaged customers buy 90% more often and spend 60% more per transaction, so go and get them involved!
Brand awareness. Something that every company wants to achieve, but an overcrowded marketplace leaves no doubt that it’s getting noisy out there for marketers and advertisers. Don’t spend unnecessary money when umbrella programs do the marketing for you! For example, on a program’s website, they usually display all participating merchants to users in the surrounding area, providing free marketing for you, and discoverability of your business to customers! Word of mouth advertising also provides a reputable avenue for customers to start shopping at your store. Get under an umbrella and watch the customers pour in!