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Start a Customer Loyalty Program Today

Jennifer Williams

Creating a unique customer experience is extremely important when it comes to small business.  Providing personal touches and a welcoming feel is not something customers can always find when shopping at large retailers, aka the power of small business!

A great way to keep your small business customers coming back is by creating a loyalty program for your business. Did you know, “returning customers spend on average 67% more than first-time customers!”  (Bain and company)Think of a loyalty program as a “win, win” situation for both you and your customers.  They can be simple, and provide a great way to incentivize current (and potential) customers to keep coming back to you.  Loyalty programs can offer special rewards, coupons, free merchandise/services or even early access/priority to new products.

Some tips to consider when creating a customer loyalty program:

Use a simple system

Loyalty programs don’t need to be complex and difficult for your business to maintain; think of it as an extra feature.  Buy 10 car washes and get your 11th free? Use a simple point system or punch card.

Create a loyalty ranking system

Bronze? Silver? Gold?  This will help encourage more frequent purchases.  Loyalty ranking systems work especially well with high commitment products and services.  Lay it out for your customers, and show them what each level is and how it can be attainable.

Charge an upfront fee to be a part of the special program

“Pay $20 now to receive free shipping all year on your purchases.”  Charging an upfront fee for special benefits and showing customers how much they can save/receive can be very appealing.

Keep communication lines open

“94% of loyalty program members want communications from the programs they participate in.” (Maritz 2013 Loyalty Report)  It’s important that customers know what their rewards are.  Send them monthly reports or every time they make a purchase.

These easy tips and tricks to creating a customer loyalty program also come with some great benefits for your business!  Loyalty programs help create customer retention.  When customers know there is an added incentive or bonus or that they “belong” to a program, they are more inclined to become frequent purchases.  As customer retention increases, your customer churn rate will decrease.  This will also help you have more data on your business.

Loyalty programs can provide unique customer experiences and help your create personal relationships with your customers.  In addition, it is great marketing and advertising!  By creating more returning, loyal customers, you are also creating advocates for your business, (because we all know word of mouth can travel fast!)  This can also provide a great opportunity to reach potential customers!

Sometimes finding a loyalty program for your business can be some trial and error, because after all every business is different.  Find out what works best for you and most importantly your loyal customers!