Loyalty cards can be powerful marketing tools.
Loyalty cards are one tool in the small business marketing arsenal. These cards are designed to encourage repeat business by offering rewards for customers who return again and again. Loyalty cards are also used by some businesses to track customer purchases to better understand buying patterns and target marketing. Loyalty cards can work for many different types of businesses, but they make sense especially for restaurants and retail stores.
Types of Cards
Loyalty cards can come in many different flavors. A simple example is a paper card at at a coffee shop that is punched with each drink purchased. When you get to 10, you get a free drink. Newer versions of the loyalty card can look a lot like a credit or debit card. The card is scanned, and information about the purchase is captured into a database that tracks information on what has been bought and what rewards are available to the customer. With so many businesses offering loyalty cards, it can be easy for cards to get lost in the shuffle. Customers can connect their card to their email or phone number and then give that information to identify themselves at the register. This can be one advantage of going with a more advanced database system compared to a paper punch card.
Types of Rewards
Rewards can be as simple as a free side at a restaurant, a meal upgrade or a percent discount on the next purchase. Choosing the types of rewards to offer will depend on your business and what motivates your customers. Experiment with different kinds of rewards and check in with customers about what they think of your loyalty card program. At the same time, avoid getting too complex with the rewards. Keep the offers straightforward so customers know exactly what they have to do to reach the next reward.
The ultimate purpose of loyalty cards is to get customers to spend more money. Businesses can achieve this by encouraging repeat business, offering incentives for larger purchases and reserving special offers just for loyalty program members. Remember you are likely in competition with other businesses that also offer loyalty programs. Check in periodically to see what the competition is doing. Loyalty cards are an ongoing process. Analyze any data you collect and adjust the rewards to generate greater customer loyalty over time.
Loyalty cards can be used for tracking purchases on a customer-by-customer basis. This can lead to a greater understanding of shopping habits and enable businesses to track the success of marketing initiatives. As with personal information, it is important for businesses to keep tracking data secure. Many consumers are willing to give up a certain amount of privacy in exchange for loyalty program deals and rewards. Use the data to make adjustments in the way you stock your store and to help with the design of future promotions.