Fresh Marketing Ideas Blog

If you don’t have a loyalty program, your relationship with your customers may not be very rewarding!

Do you have a store loyalty or rewards card? If you’re like most Americans, you probably have Loyalty or Rewards card (or 3, 4, or 10) in your wallet. But what have they done for you lately?

There is wave of new loyalty programs popping up everywhere. No longer are you only earning points when you shop or refer – you merely check in at a store, restaurant, or venue to get points. Gone are the days of multiple cards and points balances, plus the new programs also reward customers for interacting with your brand and sharing the love via social media. As a business owner the rewards can be great for you, too!

As these programs increase their number of members, some of the old brick and mortar establishments – such as grocery chains – will hold tight to their old loyalty cards. They are immensely popular and used by a wider demographic that isn’t limited to smart phone users, making them a hard habit to change. What will change is that consumers will be able to access multiple loyalty programs from one source. This makes it easier for them to manage their progress, and makes it easier for YOU to track your customers spending and browsing habits. Plus, the information about their habits will enable you to create more effective offers to entice them do more than just check in. You can customize your offers to encourage them to spend, share the love of your brand, or even give them previews to sales and new merchandise.

These programs are easy for your customers to activate – some of them require just a snap of a smartphone or the download of an app. A great example of this is ShopKick has an impressive clientele including Macy’s, Target, American Eagle Outfitters, Kraft, Proctor & Gamble and more. All a customer has to do is visit and enter their mobile number. They are sent a link to the downloadable app, and once the app is downloaded, they merely have to enter a store to get a point or kick. Purchasing something earns them kicks, as does interacting with the brand via social media channels. Kraft foods can track their customers’ preferences and send them instant coupons that apply to the store they are shopping in, and Target or Macy’s can send offers that are good only while they are in the store. This is all geared toward increasing actual visits to a store, and sharing the love of the business via social media. All of this is trackable – including whether the offer was redeemed, what the customer purchased, how often they purchase the item, and much more.

For smaller businesses there are providers such as SpotOn, which has a nationwide network of smaller business mixed in with some national brands, such as Cold Stone Creamery. They work in a similar manner, but offer the use of a tablet in the store for customers to check in and to manage the program. The tablet includes an administrative dashboard that allows the owner to track the check-ins, conversions, new customers, and repeat customers, plus it enables the administrator to create offers instantly and paperlessly. It is reasonably priced and has fewer options, but it still rewards repeat patronage and social media shares.

Most of the programs make it easy to get started – very easy. They make it easy to set up customers, reap rewards, create offers, and track activity, but they all require action on your part. As you start your program, remember the following:

1. Engage your staff. Train them well and they will encourage sign ups and check-ins.
2. Create worthwhile, relevant offers.
3. Make the rewards attainable. Your customers need to see value in their patronage.
4. Review your analytics. An effective campaign is worthless if you don’t track the results and repeat it to generate more revenue.
5. Advertise the program. Tell your customers and display the information. It’s free for them, and if they love you they’ll be all too happy to sign up and earn points.

These new programs are all meant to drive business to you and maintain your relationship with your customer. The maintenance of the program is every bit as important as getting it started and encouraging new members. Engage with your customers as often as you can, and they will reward you with repeat sales and social media shares – giving you a greater ROI.

The following are some effective larger loyalty programs:

The following are loyalty programs that are targeted to smaller businesses and franchises:

Talk to Holland. We can help you create a program that will generate an army of loyal customers and grow your business. Call Bryan Holland at 513.744.3001 or visit

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