In the ever competitive international retail sector, building and maintaining a solid customer base is crucial. Retailers have tried various incentives over the years, and one method that continues to hold strong is the loyalty scheme, which rewards regular customers.

With the retail industry awash with all types of schemes, what are the key ingredients of creating a loyalty program that stands out from the crowd?

Make rewards relative

Understanding the size and nature of your organisation is paramount when embarking on a loyalty scheme. This means analysing in-store footfall as well as online activity to build a portrait of your consumers, and what their preferences are. Successful retail strategy in this area of business is the first step in identifying how to reward your regular customers. This is likely to include a range of formats, such as special sales, previews as well as vouchers to treat those who are most loyal to your brand.

Ensure easy engagement

From the sign-up process, through to claiming the rewards, customers’ needs should be at the forefront of business concerns. This means making any forms quick and easy to complete, without the need for much further action on the customer’s part.

Avoid a blanket approach

While discounts are a great way to entice new customers, simply offering money off purchases doesn’t do enough to sustain a loyal customer base. To ensure that consumers are actually loyal to the products and not just to a financial incentive, consider a tiered system. The more a customer spends, the more their rewards increase, such as exclusive privileges and other deals that only the most loyal shoppers receive.

Use the data

Customer benefits aside, the data collected through each swipe of a loyalty card is an excellent resource for companies to gain insight to better understand clients. Basic information such as purchase amount and type can be heightened through more extensive information gleaned through surveys, questionnaires and other data-rich formats to really get to know your customers.

Author Pippa Kulmar

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