Today, we would like to answer one of the most popular question that people often ask:
Are loyalty programs a necessity or a luxury?
Some would say that it was probably a luxury about 10 years ago – but a necessity today.
We would argue that loyalty programs have and will always be a necessity.
It’s important to note that when we say loyalty program, we’re not just talking about issuing points, stamps, or cards to your customers.
We’re talking about the full spectrum – starting from gathering information about customers, studying that data, segmenting customers, sending out targeted promotions via points and rewards, keeping in touch with them via emails or SMS, getting them to bring a friend through referral, which will all ideally result in recurring sales and increased brand awareness for you.
However, many businesses are still on the fence about whether they need a loyalty program or not.
“Mine is just a small business”
“I already know who my customers are”
“Is it really necessary? Seems like a hassle”
Like we mentioned earlier, loyalty programs do more than just issue rewards and points.
A good, comprehensive loyalty program helps you truly understand your customers and products better.
And nothing wrong can come out of getting to know your customers and products better.
So… how exactly does a loyalty tool help you achieve all of the above?
As a business owner, you want to know who your customers are. A good loyalty tool usually comes with a CRM database that keeps track of everyone who has ever visited your store.
It should also be able to dive deeper and give you more insights about your customers. It should show who your customers are and what they bought from your store – including how much they spend and on what particular item.
What’s the point of knowing that?
You will be able to segment your customers and send them targeted promotions.
And what’s the point of that?
Let’s look at an example. I visited your store 3 times and ordered wine on all 3 occasions. Then, I received a promotion for beer – because it was sent out en masse without any segmentation.
That misses the mark and naturally, I’d be disinterested. Maybe I’d also feel like “Why are they sending me this? Do they know me at all? I’ve been there three times!”
But, what if I received a wine promotion instead?
It hits the spot – I’m a big fan of wine. This place knows me. I may or may not go back to the restaurant, but it’s definitely something I will consider for the weekend. I might even bring a few friends along – if the promotion said “Bring a friend and get your second glass for free” or something like that.
That means recurring sale and more customers for your restaurant – without spending any additional money on marketing and advertising.
Assuming I show up and have a good night out, I would then go home and tell more friends about how this place has a great wine promotion and that they should all go check it out. Again, that’s free promotion and marketing.
Of course you can still have this promotion on your Facebook or your physical store. But this will be limited to customers who are physically there; or customers who have liked your Facebook page.
What about customers who have visited your store before and haven’t showed up in a while? How do you reach out to them?
What about every new customer that walks in? Do you know what they liked most about your menu?
Do you know what the couple celebrating their anniversary ordered?
What about the group of teenagers – what appealed to them?
A good loyalty tool will help you learn all of these – and more.
Loyalty programs are even more helpful during a crisis
During the lockdown due to Covid-19, many businesses turned to their customer database to identify who were their existing and loyal customers.
They used this wealth of information to send out package deals and special promotions to their customers.
Why did they do this? Simply because it’s not ideal to expand advertising or marketing budgets to acquire new customers during a pandemic. You want to keep costs as low as possible.
The best way to continue making sales without spending extra money on advertising is by reaching out to your existing customers, engaging and nurturing them.
Consumers who are already enthusiastic about a brand are more likely to continue buying and are a prime market for that brand’s new products – Excerpt from Forbes
Aside from sending them promotions, business owners can also send out messages to let customers know how you’re doing, update them on new operating procedures, new products, and so on. Or simply check in on your customers and see how they are coping with the pandemic.
A lot of businesses also sold e-vouchers and gift cards to keep their businesses afloat. Customers will be able to use these vouchers and gift cards as soon as the pandemic wanes and the situation starts recovering.
Gift cards and e-vouchers are fantastic ways to make advanced revenue – especially during tough times.
Some loyalty tools, like Eber, come with an in-built gift card and e-voucher function – so you don’t have to scour the internet for an additional tool.
Areas of improvement
No brand or business in the world is perfect. They may be close to perfection – but there will always be room for improvement.
How to identify the areas of improvement for your business? Through customers, of course.
Customers who go through an entire journey with you – all the way from awareness to purchasing, and then coming back for more – would know exactly where and what you should improve on.
In order to do that, you can send out surveys and questionnaires via email and SMS features and encourage customers to give feedback.
You can also award them with additional incentives like points, or issue them a lucrative gift card for completing the survey.
If you’re using a loyalty tool like Eber, it also has a DM function where you can directly reach out to customers and ask them how their experience was with you.
In conclusion, along with all the points mentioned above, we strongly believe that loyalty programs are a necessity. Especially with everything that is going on in the world right now, loyal customers have become more important than ever.
Still not sure how a loyalty program can work for you? Speak to us and we’ll be happy to help.
Ready to start a loyalty program? Great! Just reach out to us here.