The Rewards of Customer Loyalty

by Thom Tracy

4 min read

Every business needs customers to survive, but what is even better than having customers is having customers that give you business over and over again. Loyal customers who keep coming back not only increase your revenue but also decrease the amount you have to spend marketing to new customers to gain the same result. It is a win-win proposition, too. Repeat customers are typically happy, because they know they have someone they can count on to service their needs.

Implementing a customer loyalty program represents one of the most effective methods to promote repeat business. Customers are more likely to choose your business in the first place when offered a tangible benefit, while receiving rewards encourages them to keep coming back. Whether you run a retail operation, a restaurant, or an online store, you can build customer loyalty with a rewards program. Here are the benefits of implementing a customer loyalty program and some logistical tips on how to set it up.

Loyalty Rewards Program Benefits

A loyalty rewards program can help your business attract new customers and keep its current ones. When shopping for a provider, customers take into consideration everything they have to gain from choosing a particular business. By offering fantastic products and services and pricing them competitively, you position your business strongly in the marketplace. A good chance exists, however, that your competitors also have a lot to offer and strive not to be undersold by you.

A strong rewards program that offers additional savings for repeat business could be what pushes your company over the top in a fight with a competitor for a customer’s business.

Rewards programs encourage repeat business. Unbelievably, nearly half of first-time purchasers at a typical business do not return for a second time. If a customer purchases from you but does not feel valued or connected to your business, nothing is going to stop him or her from going somewhere else next time if it is cheaper or more convenient. Providing excellent customer service helps to foster that relationship but offering tangible benefits for becoming a regular customer gives people even more of an incentive to come back.

Rewards Programs for Retail Small Businesses

Margins are notoriously thin for retail merchants, and with increased competition from online retailers, they’re only getting thinner. Consequently, it takes a lot of sales volume to remain in the black as a retailer. The ubiquitous presence of bulk suppliers, such as Wal-Mart and Costco, make it more challenging to attract customers, as the volume discounts they receive from wholesalers allow them to offer lower prices than most small businesses.

For these reasons, implementing a robust customer loyalty program is vital for a retail small business. You may not be able to offer the best prices on everything, but chances are, you’re capable of offering better customer service and making your customers feel more valued than your big box competitors.

A good rewards program that offers cash back once a person has spent a certain dollar amount or gives a store-wide discount during a certain day of the month provides an incentive to shop at your business; the customer cannot receive these rewards unless he or she makes a concerted effort to show up and do business.

Rewards Programs for Restaurants

Food service represents another highly competitive niche. Competition is everywhere, and everyone seems to be offering special deals and promotions. What most places don’t offer, however, is a rewards program that truly makes customers feel valued.

A good restaurant loyalty program doesn’t simply offer a free meal for every 10th visit or a complimentary milkshake with your burger. It engages with customers and values their feedback. A program with the right infrastructure allows for easy communication with customers via text and email, in addition to the savings you can offer them.

Rewards Programs for Online Stores

Perhaps the most vulnerable type of business where losing customers to the competition is concerned is an online store. It is just way too easy to pull up another website and order from there if the product is cheaper. A robust rewards program attracts customers to your online store instead of your competitor’s, and it helps you build relationships with them and entice them to come back.

Implementing Your Rewards Program

Implementing your rewards program shouldn’t be difficult. A good mobile POS system enables you to integrate everything into an easy-to-use interface using nothing but a mobile tablet.

Each time a registered customer makes a purchase, the system automatically tallies the rewards and applies discounts when applicable. You can even set the program to send out periodic emails or texts; these can be everything from generic messages about upcoming promotions to more personal notes, such as a happy birthday message. With the right infrastructure, your business can implement a rewards program that fosters customer relationships and gives them tangible incentives for becoming long-term customers.

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