Palmer Retail Solutions Blog

3 Loyalty Programs That Actually Help Retain Customers

Posted by Kathy Heil on Jul 27, 2017 1:36:32 PM

retain customersYou created a rewards program for your store. So what? Did you know that most customers don’t bother with these programs because they’re too much work and not worth the effort? (If you track customer data – and you should – you do know this.) It’s disappointing, but you can reverse that trend, by rethinking your loyalty program.

Programs work best when they are effortless and obligation free. They should smooth and enhance your customer’s experience. Absolutely no one wants another card to cram into their wallet. Or to have to jump through some hoop to “score” their reward points every time they make a purchase. It’s up to you to do the work if you want them to truly feel rewarded.

These days, that’s easy to do. Here are three essentials that’ll have customers flocking to your loyalty program:

1. Go digital

Everything else is technology-based. Your rewards program should be, too – not only cardless, but paperless. Customers benefit because they can join with their phone number and email. Then their progress toward the next reward is recorded automatically. When they reach a redemption threshold, alert them via email or text. Better yet, alert them when they are getting close, to spur that over-the top-purchase!

Create an app they can use on their phone to track their status. Convenience sells. Boost your app’s loyalty-building power by adding features such as ability to order, pay, enter a contest, or receive alerts about “we know you’ll love this” new merchandise.

2. Personalize their experience

Everything in retail has to supply customers with a personalized, interesting, and memorably outstanding experience. Your rewards program can deliver that, in ways that enhance your brand and set you apart from the competition – simply by offering rewards worth receiving.

Rewards that retain customers have evolved well past earning a simple discount at some given threshold. Use special promotions and incentives to further increase repeat business and long-term loyalty. Tier your rewards so your best customers get the best stuff. But don’t forget the financial incentives, because everyone loves savings.

3. Regularly request feedback

Your rewards program is supposed to be for customers, so be sure they see it that way. Is it, in fact, as easy, convenient, and valuable as you think? How could you make it even better, to spur additional spending? Or brand advocacy? Query them with a short digital survey. Ask them in person when they visit your store.

And mine the customer data you collect, to gain insight into your top customers but also identify lapsed or “at risk” customers. An effective win-back campaign can rekindle interest and loyalty. 

Creating a program from scratch

If you’re just starting to develop your loyalty program (or yours needs a major overhaul), check out our 7 Steps for Creating a Loyalty Program blog, which serves as a guide to help ensure the result is something your customers love.

Rewards should delight customers. So give them something unexpected from time to time. Invite them to an exclusive in-store event. Or a surprise sale. Text them a digital coupon while they’re in your store. Whatever you choose to do, make it fun.

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Tags: Customer Experience