What is a loyalty program and how do you implement one in your business?
In the world of Ecommerce, a loyalty program can be understood as a customer retention tool. Its aim is to recognise and engage your customers. Ensuring your customers buy in larger quantities, more frequently and maintain a relationship with your brand. The most successful programs are ones which are easy to understand, have a clear tiered path and offer exciting rewards and experiences.
With COVID-19 many more people have resorted to online shopping. Therefore, this is a great way to get a step ahead in the market and focus on retaining new customers. To create a dedicated community of old and new customers around your brand, you can implement strategies such as:
- Redefining your buying process, making online shopping a seamless experience
- Motivate customer profiling, boosting personalisation
- To increase customer lifetime value, implement rewards and benefits
- Conduct social media contests, like giveaways to encourage word of mouth and gain trust
To execute a loyalty program you need to understand the overall goals of the plan and how they are going to be achieved. Ultimately a loyalty program should focus on converting new customers to repeat customers and keeping your repeat customers loyal to your brand.
Uncover your motivations
When it comes to implementing a successful loyalty program, the first step includes identifying the motivations behind why you want the program in place. Successful programs are those that are executed well, and reward customer loyalty. By asking a number of questions you can uncover your motivations, and set your program up to succeed.
Start with asking yourself these questions:
- Why do you need a loyalty program?
- What are the goals of the program?
- Who are the key customers that you want to return?
- Why do customers prefer your product over another?
- How can you surprise & delight your customers?
Next, identify the type of loyalty program that suits you…
There are varying types of loyalty programs, which offer all different kinds of rewards for loyalty. What you want to do is identify what your business can provide your customers with and exceed their expectations. You don’t want to put a program in place for it to be poorly handled, mis-managed or worse turn customers against your business.
What is the benefit of a loyalty program?
When deciding on whether or not you need a loyalty program, remember there are many advantages that come with implementation. For example, one of the biggest advantages is focussing your business toward the most profitable areas of your customer base. This means your business will cater more to the needs of customers with the higher rate of repeated purchase. Which over time, will allow you to use this data to make the least profitable customers more profitable. Thus increasing your businesses revenue and overall profit.
It is important to understand that not all customers will join your loyalty program. But this doesn’t mean it won’t help drive traffic and bring back lost customers, as well as acquiring new ones. Loyalty programs help build raving fans of your brand. Studies show word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. 92% of people prefer suggestions from a trusted soruce over other advertising.
Five common types of loyalty programs
Point based programs are the most common, they encourage customers to spend to earn. Customers can earn points for various interactions, not just purchases. Such as sharing product pages, completing their profiles or subscribing to a newsletter. Having a loyalty program based on points is the easiest to manage and quickest to implement, therefore, is most suitable for businesses looking to launch quickly. Points should be able to be redeemed for rewards such as discounts, freebies and special items.
When it comes to loyalty programs, tired programs are a favourite among online shoppers. This is because the tiered programs allow them to advance and progress, while earning better rewards and benefits as they spend more money. The higher the tier the more exclusive the benefits become, as this helps for people to stay motivated and become more inclined to gain a higher status. Not only does this require a lot of investment, it also means customers are more likely to shop where their benefits are instead of starting from scratch at another brand. Thus driving more traffic through your business. This type of program best suits businesses with customers who make large purchases which aren’t as frequent. For example, many airlines have adopted this type of program.
Dissimilar to the previous loyalty programs, perks programs disregards the points system and provides all members with benefits. The use of this program is great if you have a unique service or are wanting to increase generosity amongst your customers. Therefore, this loyalty program is most suitable for businesses wishing to make their customers experience more enjoyable and generate brand awareness.
A hybrid loyalty program can be defined as mixing and matching elements from other loyalty programs mentioned to maximise efficiency. This type of program is extremely common in Ecommerce businesses, because when you find elements that mix well it’s guaranteed to be successful.
Finally, the subscription-based loyalty program is best suited for well-established brands. This is because some people may decide not to become a member, but if your customers do choose to be a part of the membership program they are more likely to engage with the service and make the most of their subscription.
Loyalty program execution & automation
We touched on it above, but one of the key things about a successful loyalty program is execution. There are a lot of moving parts to a program, regardless of which style you choose for your business. Impressions last with customers, and you need to make sure you leave a lasting one, and if the loyalty program is executed flawlessly, customers feel recognised and they feel rewarded.
Fortunately in the world of Ecommerce there is so much that can be automated to delight your customers, some examples:
- Happy Birthday message & discount codes – easy to capture customer’s date of birth and send them discounts on their birthday
- Loyalty milestones, congratulate them on their second purchase with a discount code or a free gift
- Invite customers to share their feedback on your product, and leave you a review
- An automated email sequence on how to get the most of your product (after purchase)
You can also do some cool things in Ecommerce that really surprise your customers, such as:
- Surprise them in the package, throw in a free gift
- A hand written thank you note on the product packaging
Building loyalty with your customers is all about earning their trust and respect. This can easily be done by showing how much you value them as a customer. We can assist you with implementing a loyalty program for your Ecommerce store, just give us a buzz and we’ll be happy to assist.