Retail businesses face many challenges today. From new-age shoppers to technologies to showrooming, everything is leading to disruption in the industry. Growth also seems a difficulty at this stage. Given this scenario, most retailers may want to reduce their costs as a natural response to it, while they should try to earn the loyalty of their customers. For this, they can launch loyalty programs as these can provide both growth and sustainability. You can get a sticky customer after winning his or her heart, and also target them whenever there is a new product launch.
However, it is disappointing to see that not many retail companies walk this path even after being aware of the utility of such customer-friendly schemes. And, others are also not trying to be innovative in their approach. They use methods that were relevant to the old demographics and markets. Besides, they also lack the proper metrics to analyze the performance of their loyalty programs.
The aging conceptions and the need to rethink customer loyalty program strategy
Despite being one of the robust marketing, sales, and customer relationship strategies, not many have a clear idea about what this exactly means. For them, a loyalty program is giving free flying miles to frequent air travelers or adding reward points to regular punch card users at restaurants and hotels. While this can be the truth to a certain extent, they are mostly marketing activities. Hence, there is a necessity to comprehend the distinction between marketing and loyalty.
The reason why people go to a particular hotel, airline, or restaurant is their interest in reward points. With every usage, they want to see how many points they earned. The brand that offers them the highest points even for an expensive ticket will be okay for them. What this shows is that loyalty programs can be an effective sales and customer relationship tool.
Some companies have started getting strategic and experimental with their endeavors to win their existing and new customers’ attention. They are looking into the problem areas for customers and trying to sort out pain points.Read about Beer alcohol content
The innovative loyalty program practices
Companies create smartphone apps to offer a better and comfortable shopping experience. The reward program members can download apps on their devices and use them for different purposes. These may include finding out if their hotel room is ready or unlocking their room with the phone without keys to get inside. All this eliminates the need to go to the front desk. The process is generally simple so that customers can quickly learn it and be comfortable with it. Any customers would want to stick to a company that makes their life easy.
Similarly, there are a few lifestyle apps that offer rewards and also provide a bundle of other activities, such as ordering food or drink, streaming music, etc. The reward points are redeemable. Then, there are a few online shopping portals which offer free shipping and lots of other features to their loyalty program members. Shipping charges pinch online shoppers the most, by providing relief in it, the retailers can easily win their trust. Other features, such as movie and music streaming, or digital photo storage, can be an additional attraction for them.
These strategies can give you genuine, loyal customers, who begin to look beyond discounts after some time and remember you for making their lives hassle-free. They value your engagement with them.
Hence, you can say that innovative thinking in this area can do wonders for your business. You can build a successful customer relationship through points, miles, punch cards, coupons, reward points, and much more. These are just the starters. Human nature likes to enjoy comfort. Therefore, if you take care of it, you can have them return to your brand. In this context, it is critical to note that there has to be consistency in what you offer so that they can feel confident when using your products or services the next time.
The critical factors for building customer loyalty programs
For achieving this, you would need to follow a well laid-out plan that covers all the priorities so that you can enjoy the best outcome. Here are some quick tips that can help you in this area.
· Create an excellent customer experience: One of the crucial steps in building a loyalty program starts with creating a pleasant customer experience. As a business owner, you have to understand and analyze the pain points of your customers to offer them better services and products. It doesn't, however, mean that you compensate for their bitter experiences with these tactics. That is the separate issue that you need to handle.
· Sift through customer data: How effectively you use your customer information can determine the success or failure of your loyalty program. You can also apply them in your overall business operations for a substantial impact, though.
· Maintain consistency and uniqueness: Being consistent in your endeavor is vital for winning customers’ confidence. While this is true, you also have to infuse freshness in your loyalty program to keep them hooked. For this, you may have to come up with new and exciting benefits for them. Just make sure whatever program you offer is not expensive. You can handle this by analyzing options that can be popular and profitable at the same time.
· Make a business plan: Budget can play a critical part in your loyalty program. But before that, you need to come up with an extensive business plan detailing the kind of program you want to start and how, what profits you can expect out of it, etc. It will help you focus on loyalty benefits and funding aspects more conspicuously.
Mostly, you have to design a loyalty program that your customers can find valuable. The plan should provide them flexibility also to accommodate the changing needs of the customers. You can vouch for these things being a shopper yourself at someplace. For a moment, you can think of Fingerhut should you be shopping with them? How they gradually moved from payment book to credit card to adapt to the lifestyle changes of their customers can be an example in itself.
Updated Date: 30 July 2019, 07:51