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How Do You Create a Winning Loyalty Scheme for Your Business?

Loyalty schemes can be the difference between a business that makes profit and one that does not. Rob Meakin, Managing Director at Loyalty Pro, has all the expertise you need to help you figure out what a loyalty scheme looks like for your business.

At a time when consumer wallets are being squeezed due to a surge in inflation, and business uncertainty is rife with Brexit looming, companies are under increasing pressure to retain customers and deliver ROI. You only need to look at the recent drop in Easter footfall on the high street to remind yourself of trouble afoot…

But there are some questions you need to be asking yourself: Why would I put in a loyalty scheme? How and when do I do it? And what kind of scheme should I implement?

Why?

It seems a little silly to ask yourself this, but make sure you know why you are setting up a loyalty system for your business. Many don’t and are just following suit. Make sure your loyalty system works for your business to achieve what you are looking for. For example, is it to make more profit, reward certain customers types or is it for PR purposes to raise the profile of your brand?

Loyalty for businesses is generally about winning new customers, keeping those you have and getting them to spend more and more often. For the customers it is all about getting rewards (cash, discounts or freebees) for their continued spend.

As a result, they feel wanted, part of something and are therefore generally happy to spend more with you and more often, and refer you to friends and family too. Trust has been created both ways.

How?

Think of something in your business that you would really like to know about your customers that will help your business grow or be better for it. Think about what information will help you achieve the reason to why you set up the loyalty in the first place. For example, where your customers travel from, what their other interests are, when their birthday is or simply how often they shop, on what device and to what value.

Knowing what you want to know about your customers will help you to know how to build the right loyalty scheme for your business. The information you ask for is ultimately what you can communicate back to them about.

When?

Depending on what type of business you have and if you have to deal with seasonality there will always be a time in a business when sales or customer retention are not as good as they could be. In terms of the annual calendar, launching a loyalty scheme at Christmas for a consumer-led business is not a good idea.

January is great for launching loyalty schemes for obvious reasons too but these things won’t be the same for all businesses. Make sure you understand the lead time to getting your loyalty scheme live so you don’t fall short of the perfect launch date. However, signing people up in busy periods when they are active in your business can be a great way to have them ready and available to promote to in the quiet times ahead.

What?

What to do in terms of the actual detail of your loyalty scheme and what will work for you is easier said than done. It may come with trial and error over time but it is important to remember that setting up a loyalty scheme in your business is not going to give you an immediate return. The true value of loyalty is the data that you will accumulate over time. After 12 months you will have a significant amount on data that will present a very powerful tool in your business.

What you do is ultimately up to you but here is a list of the top 10 tips that have historically worked well:

  1. If you are going to use a physical loyalty card then make it attractive and exclusive to your brand/business, not in association with another or one that promotes the loyalty system you are using. Give your customers choice: some may prefer an app or a key fob to a conventional card.
  2. Keep it simple and offer points for pounds spent e.g. 1 point for every £1 spent so it is easy for people to calculate their points accumulated for their spend. Also avoid exclusions or long complicated T&C’s.
  3. To launch your loyalty scheme pre-load new members cards with free points with up to 50% of what would be needed to get a reward.
  4. Make reward thresholds achievable against the average spend from your customers e.g. 100, 150, 200 etc. However, make sure you are not giving away more than you can afford.
  5. Give monetary reward vouchers, so that customers have the freedom to spend on whatever they wish. They’ll value your scheme above others that restrict their opportunities to redeem.
  6. Find ways to give better or double rewards on quiet times of the day or week or against specific products.
  7. Make sure your rewards are redeemable from the day after the customer meets a threshold to encourage another visit.
  8. Set an expiry date on the rewards you offer to encourage repeat business within a period shorter than the usual period of repeat business.
  9. Set a grace period on the expiry date so you can offer an extension to customers who may have just missed a deadline.
  10. Give your loyalty scheme a name that reflects the currency, i.e. points, the emotion and the value of rewards given e.g. ‘The Premier Points Club’.

For leaders of any top companies, this is how they and you need to be thinking about loyalty if you are serious about growth and opportunity – particularly in difficult times. Start by asking yourself some very important questions.

Let’s make loyalty great again.

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