The Gift That Keeps On Giving

HOW LOYALTY PROGRAMS CAN INCREASE CUSTOMER RETENTION


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Source: Law Inc

In life, there’s no better feeling than receiving a present from someone, even more so when it's least expected. The surprise of a gift is a gesture that let’s a person know that they are cared for, and it creates a stronger bond between the giver and the receiver. However, this does not have to be limited to an exchange between two individuals, as businesses can take advantage of the power of ‘giving’ to strengthen their relationships with their customers. A business’ gift to their customers could be anything from a free coffee on their birthday, to discounts on their purchases; what is important is that as a merchant, your customers know that you value their business. You want to show your appreciation to the customers who frequently visit your store, and those who spend more than average in your store and not at your competitors.

With so many competitors fighting for the same customers, your business must provide a reason for these customers to pick your store. Giving incentives such as gifts or rewards to these customers can be the extra push that they need. A study found that 65% of shoppers say that receiving gifts or rewards impacts their frequency of purchase, so even the little things you can give to your customers will go a long way. Businesses are continually raising the bar with how they reward special and loyal shoppers, your business must keep up with the trends and stay on par with them.

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Ultimately, if done right, giving gifts and special incentives to customers will have its return in the long run, and in most cases, even the short run. If you want to earn your customers’ loyalty, you as the merchant must first connect with them, and give them a reason to return the goodwill. A loyalty program will be the best tool you could use, and it truly shows your appreciation to your customers based on their loyalty to your business. However, offering outdated versions of customer loyalty, such as stamp cards or a one time discount, isn’t enough to stand out anymore; your business needs effective ways to show customers that their loyalty is important to you.

Showing your customers that you are always thinking of them goes a long way in building a relationship with them, and giving a gift is one of the best ways to do so. Follow the five simple steps below to show your customers that you appreciate their business.

5 Tips To Smart Gift Giving:

1. SHOW YOUR CUSTOMERS YOU CARE

Giving a gift or reward to your loyal customers is all about letting them know how much you value their business, so this is your time to pull out all the stops! Show your customers how much you care about them by putting thought and effort into the rewards you choose to give them. Unfortunately, getting to know each customer personally and understanding their purchasing patterns can be quite difficult, so you’ll need to equip yourself with the right tools. Using a Loyalty 3.0 system can alleviate this situation, as it helps you understand your customers, their needs and what they are looking for from your business. By utilizing a customer loyalty program, you have the necessary information about your customers to make your gifts personal, and customize the rewards for each individual loyal customer.

2. REMEMBER THOSE SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Birthday’s are a great time to give out gifts or rewards, but it’s definitely not the only time! So start keeping track of these special occasions; your customers may not expect you to remember them, but when they receive a reward for their special day they will be pleasantly surprised. It was found that 67% of customers say that surprise gifts are an important part of loyalty programs, and this can help to improve your relationship with your customers. So if you’re a coffee shop, surprising your customers with a free cup of coffee during the holidays only sweetens the festivities. These loyal customers will continue to come to your shop when they have been treated well, even when a competitor has a better discount across the street.  

 

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Source: Guen x Gwen

3. GIVE THEM A GIFT THEY WON’T FORGET

Some of your customers are extra special, and they tend to spend more than the average consumer, and even more than your loyal customers. You must choose a gift that is unique and notable, to make your loyal customers feel extra special, and will encourage them to continue to spend more in your store. A study found that 88% of consumers remembered the business that gave them a gift. This means that if you can give your customers great gifts, it’ll be harder for them to forget you!  For example, if you’re a pet shop owner, you can offer to engrave the name of your loyal customer’s pet for free when they purchase a collar.This is an easy thing for your business to do, and it shows your customer you’ve taken the time to get to know them. Now, every time their pet is wearing the collar, they’ll be reminded of your kindness, and are sure to come back and spend more in your store.

 

Source: Leather Smith Designs

4. CREATE A REASON FOR THEM TO COME BACK

A gift is the first part of a two-part process in increasing customer retention, and cementing the relationship you have with your customers. While gifts are made to please your customers, they are ultimately done to help drive business back to your store. This means that the rewards you give customers should only give them a ‘taste’ that encourages them to come back to your store. So loyalty points accumulated on purchases made by customers will motivate them to keep coming back, as they can redeem items with these points. As these points are always accumulated on every visit, the incentive to come back into the store never stops. So for businesses such as hobby shops or game stores, you can have customers redeem points for individual parts of collectors sets. This provides only part of a complete experience, and your customers will be gracious for the free gift they’ve received, but will want to return to your store to finish the set. By picking the right rewards to give to your customers, you provide a nice gesture to your customers, while simultaneously driving foot traffic into your store.

 

 

Source: The Parsley Thief

5. LEVERAGE YOUR RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Not all of your customers will have the same purchasing patterns, so it makes sense to reward them based off of how much value they bring to your business. This means that you'll need an easy way to keep track of your customers spending patterns, and this is where a loyalty program comes into the equation. With a loyalty system in place you can separate your customers into different classes (Ex. bronze, silver and gold) and offer them incentives based off of how much they spend at your store.

With this in mind, the more the customer spends the better the reward should be; however, every reward that you offer must be cost-efficient for your business. This ensures that your return on investment for the gifts you give makes it worthwhile for your shop, and you’re not paying too much to offer these rewards. For example, you can give out $5 in store credit for every $100 dollars spent, but offering $50 off will make the cost outweigh the benefits. If you want to increase the incentive for your loyal customers, you need to find smart ways to offer them more for less. For example, if you are the owner of a pizza shop, you need to ensure that consumers don’t wander off to nearby competitors. To ensure that your customers are loyal to your business, offering them perks such as free dipping sauce with their pizza is something they’ll appreciate, and it won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

 

 

Source: The Interiors Addict

Wrapping The Gift Of Loyalty 

As a merchant, your customers are the most important part of your business, and fostering your relationship with them can go a long way. One of the best ways to do this is to offer rewards to your loyal customers, to show that you appreciate all that they do for your business. Finding the right ways to show your loyal customers that you appreciate them can be challenging. But when done correctly, you’ll benefit both your customers and your business, and strengthen the relationship at hand. With the use of a customer loyalty program, like the one offered by TapMango,  you can simplify the reward-giving process, and ensure that customers will return to your store, and continue to do business with you. It is in this sense, that customer loyalty is the gift that keeps on giving.


For any questions or concerns regarding this article, please contact us at pr@tapmango.com

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Barking Up the Loyalty Tree

THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER RETENTION FOR PET STORE RETAILERS

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Source: Expat Guide

Pets have always been a large part of people’s lives, so much so, that they have carved out a whole industry dedicated to their needs and care, and it’s not small! IbisWorld reports that the American pet industry is estimated to generate roughly $63 billion dollars in 2016. The humanization of pets in recent years has transformed them to become a significant part of many families, and people are quickly dropping the name pet owner, to take on the more affectionate title of pet parent.

 

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Data Source: American Pet Product Association

 

Today, the life of pets looks different than it did ten years ago, and one of the agents of change is social media. A study notes that 65% of pet parents post about their companions on social media twice a week, and one in six pet parents have created social media accounts for their pets. The impact social media makes on the industry is something you must be able to take advantage of, allowing your business to grow its customer-base. With more of our furry friends being posted on social media, owners are looking to show off their pets to their friends online. Your pet shop can capitalize on this growing trend, and supply its customers with products that cater to the modern needs of pets and their parents.

The Hairballs of Pet Stores

For your small pet shop, taking on the modern pet industry is a tough task. With the number of competitors in the market, it can be hard to differentiate your business from others; because not only do you compete with other small businesses, you also must compete with the supermarkets and mass-merchandisers that sell products for pets. It becomes a challenge for the smallerplayers to make a name for themselves, to retain their existing customers and to attract new ones.

 

Getting Heard In The Herd

One of the greatest problems your pet shop will face is making a name for itself in the local petcommunity. The care of a pet is a very social process, and many pet parents in a surrounding area will converse about their routines, and their go-to places for their pets. And with the digital presence of pets on the rise, owners can now go online and read other pet parents blogs, creating an even larger network. Because of this tight-knit community, in an industry with so much competition, referral marketing is a vital part of the pet shop industry, and is one of the best ways to attract new customers. Word travels fast, and if your pet shop can establish a positive rapport with your customers, you can form a relationship that will be beneficial for all parties involved.

 

Ineffective Communication Methods

While referrals may have the power to generate a lot of new business, retaining your existing customers is just as important. In order to have your customers return to your store, you'll need to stand out and promote relevant products to the right target consumer group. Traditional marketing methods, like printed flyers, are not always targeted to the right audience, and they can be expensive and inefficient with no guaranteed results.Therefore, segmenting your consumers into different groups could make the difference between those who come back to your store and those who don't. For instance, as a pet store owner, most of your revenue is likely accounted for by dog or cat products, as they make up 75% of the total amount of pets in the U.S. That means, however, that those who own fish (10% of total) will have no interest in promotions if they’re catered to products not made for their Betta or Goldfish.

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Data Source: Insurance Information Institute

 

Consumer Relationships Don’t Just Happen

Pet stores present a unique retail situation, as you have to cater to not just one customer, but two!While it may be the pet parent who has the purchasing power, it’s the pet at the end of the day who is eating the food or wearing the accessory. And this is where the rapport your business builds with its customers comes into play; because it is only once you have established a relationship with your customers that you can begin to figure out what they are looking for. After a few visits to your shop, you’ll begin to get a sense of some of your customers and their pets, and you’ll be able to connect with them every time they come in. The conversations that comes from these store visits will be the foundation of your relationship, and it is from this point that you can begin to gain their trust and loyalty.

The potential of the local and online pet communities is extremely viable, but the question is, what effective tools are at your disposal to get their business?

Groom Your Pet Store

While the pet industry may be crowded, with the right strategies and insight, there are ways to enhance your customers’ experiences at your pet shop. Upgrading your store to Loyalty 3.0 will allow your business to utilize a number of different customer retention and marketing techniques to connect to your customers with. Here are some tricks that you can easily implement to elevate your pet store with customer loyalty:

Promote Consumer-Generated Content

Help your existing consumers create content for their social media pages to promote your store.

As noted above, the pet community goes to social media to look at cute and funny animals, and there is definitely room for your business to get in on the fun. Having customers take pictures of their pets in your store and posting it on social media is a great way to increase brand exposure, as it allows you to reach all of your customer’s friends. To incentivize your customers to share pictures, you can offer them a 10% discount on future purchases, or any other incentive you prefer. A study found that 81% of consumers’ purchases are influenced by what their friends share on social media, so uploading pet selfies in your store will open up the potential to a wide network of untapped pet parents who will want to know where their friends shop.

 

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Source: Getty

 

Target The Right Audience

Market the right content to the right audience.

The relationship you build with your customers is extremely important, so knowing both the petand pet-parent is a part of being a good pet shop owner. Part of this responsibility is knowing what your customers’ purchasing trends are, and informing them when the products they are interested in are on sale. For example, let all cat owners know when there is a sale on cat food, and avoid sending them promotions on dog leashes which will simply be spam from their point of view. Categorizing your customers based off of the pets that they own is one type of grouping method that gives you a way to contact them with tailored content, and is a point of differentiation that can go a long way. This can be complicated to achieve, but by using the right tools, you can facilitate the process. So Instead of using traditional marketing methods like flyers, your business should opt for a more direct and convenient way of communicating with your customers.

 

Let The Machine Do The Work

Use automation to engage your customers on a timely basis.

Another way for your small pet store to compete with the big retailers is to get to customers before they do. By implementing a loyalty system that incorporates customer engagement tools, you can schedule the system to send messages to your customers at a specific time, and even create automated marketing campaigns that will run on their own. This is a great way to make sure your customers receive up-to-date information from your business that is timely and relevant to them. For example, sending your customers a promotional message a week after their first visit shows them that you care about them, and gives them a reason to come back to your store. You can also schedule an automated message to be sent to your customers on their birthdays (or their pets’ birthday), with a personal discount just for them. With a system, such as TapMango’s, scheduling promotions in advance allows your business to plan ahead to create automated customer-tailored strategies for your store.

 

Gamify Customer’s Experience

Offer a fun contest to your customers, and they’ll continue coming back.

Great experience always translates into higher frequency of visits.  Businesses that offer sweepstakes or skills-based contests can easily increase their traffic in no time.  And, the simpler the contest the more attractive it becomes to your customers. Whatmore, surrounding customers observe your loyal customers playing and winning prizes and are quickly incentivized to join your loyalty program.

Managing these contests doesn’t have to be a burden.  Within minutes, TapMango can be set up with multiple prizes and odds and have your customers fully engaged and entertained in your store on every check-in.

 

Harvest The Power Of Re-fur-als 

Offer your loyal customers points or a complimentary gift every time they recruit a new pet parent.

At the end of the day, what pet parents are looking for out of their visits to your shop is a positive experience for both themselves, and their pets. Offering loyal customers perks such as discounts shows your customers that you value their business, and helps to nurture the relationship at hand.When you form a bond with your customers, it not only personalizes their retail experience, but it gives them more of a reason to refer your business to their friends.

A study states that consumer word-of-mouth marketing generates more than double the sales that resulted from paid advertising, so building a relationship with your customers has benefits beyond their loyalty. To encourage your customers to spread the word, you can integrate a referral system into your loyalty program. Offer your loyal customers points or a complimentary gift every time they recruit a new pet parent, and their reasons for recommending your pet shop gets even better. With the right system in place, this can be done automatically without much hustle for your customers. The system can generate a unique link for each customer that they are able to keep track of, to see who referred whom and what rewards to offer to each of them.

To Bark It Up

The pet community is filled with happy and intrigued pet parents, and equally excited pets, looking for pet shops that can offer them great products, but most importantly, a great and unique experience. Customer loyalty is a great way to separate your business from other pet shops, and it is something that will bode well with pet parents. Loyalty is a very important factor when it comes to pets and their parents, so as a merchant, offering them this service goes a long way.

For any questions or concerns regarding this article, please contact us at pr@tapmango.com

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Loyalty 3.0

Examining the Levels of Loyalty Programs, and What They Can Bring to Your Business

 

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In the retail world, where the emphasis is placed on customer experience, what merchants can offer to consumers is crucial to success. One of the best ways to improve customer experience, is to implement a customer loyalty program. The notion of a customer loyalty program has been around for a number of years, and has become one of the best ways a business can provide a better customer experience. The reasons why businesses should use a customer loyalty program has stayed the same, but over the years, the way they function has evolved. These changes offer a whole new set of opportunities for merchants to engage their customers with, and has grown far beyond what customer loyalty initially started as. Technology has allowed customer loyalty programs to move beyond a basic punch card, and expand into a full-fledged, automated system that provides convenience for merchants and customers alike.

The integration of digital media into loyalty programs is one of the biggest changes made to the traditional system, as it allows for a faster, more seamless experience for customers. As the majority of consumers today utilize smartphones, many businesses are looking for ways to adopt practices that work in conjunction with these devices, and customer loyalty is no exception! A study notes that loyal customers use brands’ mobile apps twice as much as non-loyal customers, and this reflects how digital media has become an integral part of the loyalty industry. The inclusion of digital media in the structure of customer loyalty programs is yet another mark of how far they have come from their punch card beginnings. By looking at the advancements made through modern loyalty programs, you can see whether your business is ahead of the curve when it comes to loyalty and customer engagement.

Below is a scale outlining the different levels of  customer loyalty programs that are currently available to your business. See how up-to-date your business’ loyalty program really is, and why you should consider upgrading to Loyalty 3.0:

 

The Levels of Loyalty Programs

Loyalty 0.0 - No Loyalty Program

Not much to say here! A previous TapMango blog notes that 83% of customers are more likely to do business with companies that have a loyalty program in place, so there’s no time like the present to set one up! It’s easy, affordable, and the potential returns are endless!

Loyalty 1.0 - Punch Card Loyalty Programs

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Source: Help Scout

Back to basics! Whether it is a stamp or a punch card, this style of loyalty programs presents a simple incentive for customers, offering a free product after a certain number of purchases. Loyalty program like this creates a reason for customers to return to your store, but has no long term benefit for the business. A disposable, one-time use card can only track what is printed on the card, and once the card is redeemed, and the free product is claimed, the incentive for the customer to return is diminished. With this style of program, the loyalty starts and ends with the disposable card; the customer must remember to carry the card around with them whenever they go to the store, and must remember to get it stamped or hole punched for the loyalty to take place (let's face it, we all remember that time we were looking for the completed punch card, only to realize we lost it).

On the merchant’s end, things are not looking so great either. A punch card loyalty system is a hassle to manage, as it can be hard to keep track of how many punch cards have been distributed or redeemed. And just imagine the process if you decide to change the free offer on that punch card, after you have just printed 1,000 units, basically, you can’t! Additionally, measuring the effectiveness of punch cards is extremely difficult, as the manual process of using a stamp or hole punch is not integrated into the electronic sales system. Due to this fact, there is no real connection to the consumer, and merchants have no way of knowing who their customers are, so no relationship is formed. To improve this style of loyalty program, there needs to be a more convenient way to take advantage of its features, and an incentive with longevity to keep customers coming back, even after their free product has been redeemed.

Loyalty 2.0 - Loyalty Card Programs

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Source: Wild Apricot

The loyalty card picks up where the punch card leaves off, and provides customers with a continuous point system.This system collects points for the consumer every time they make a purchase, and keeps track of them digitally. This is a great way to elevate the punch card, as a simple swipe of the card will save the points for the customer, and lets them choose when to redeem them. Unfortunately, the loyalty card falls short in collecting data about consumers, and therefore, cannot assist in creating a tailored experience for consumers. One study found that 61% of customers are more likely to buy from businesses that provide a personalized experience, and a loyalty system is a great way to help gather information to make this happen.

While the loyalty card may be an improvement to the punch card, it maintains some of the same problems that the punch card faced. A customer still has to remember to have their loyalty card on them at the store, and must remember to swipe their card in order to get points for their purchase. There is also the inconvenience for the customer to have to carry around the loyalty card. Shoppers simply don’t want to have to carry around a large number of loyalty cards and have a wallet too large to fit in their pocket.

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Source: Seinfeld

Loyalty 2.1 - Mobile App Loyalty Program

Loyalty 2.1 takes a small leap to the first technological advancements that were applied to the customer loyalty industry, in which loyalty cards were replaced with digital capabilities. Now, a slightly more sustainable and convenient solution has been put in place.

With the rise of smartphones came mobile apps, the secret weapon that has proven to be one of the best ways to meet a user’s needs. An app-based loyalty program provides customers with ease, as all they need is their phone to take advantage of the perks they have access to. Statistics show that 90% of mobile loyalty users feel they have gained something from these loyalty apps, proving their efficiency and popularity. Mobile apps have the technology to store the purchasing data of consumers, which means that the app can help the business better understand consumers and their purchasing decisions. While this may provide more information about loyal customers, it does not engage them in a way that builds a relationship. Similar to the punch card and loyalty card, loyalty starts and ends with the transaction, and does not provide an opportunity for customers to be engaged by the business. If loyalty is only found on a smartphone screen, consumers lose out on the customer experience from your business.

Loyalty 3.0 - Multi-Platform Customer Engagement Loyalty Programs

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Source: TapMango

 

Standing tall at the top of the chain is the multi-platform loyalty program, which takes the strengths of the other methods of customer loyalty, and improves on their weaknesses. For example, the outdated stamp card is upgraded to a smart loyalty tag; this card can hold both monetary value, prepaid product credits, and loyalty points, and never needs to be replaced. Even if the card is lost, all the data is stored on a digital portal, and it's simple to issue a new card with all of the old information on it. With platforms, such as the one offered by TapMango, what you are providing your customers with is a loyalty program that is enticing, straightforward, and integrated with customers’ digital media. You receive an inhouse tablet that can keep track of the points a consumer collects after each visit, and makes it easy for customers, by letting them know when they can redeem a free gift, with visuals to guide the process.

With Loyalty 3.0, there are a number of features that advance the customer experience, by finding new ways to interact and connect with consumers.The in-store tablet, as an example, can incorporate gamification promotions, that not only encourages loyal customers to play, but also sparks curiosity from those around who would then have an interest in joining your loyalty program. This helps to drive conversation in store, and connect merchants with consumers. The Bank of America found that 57% of small businesses attribute customer relations as the main source of repeat business, so your interactions with your customers in store must make them want to return!

Some of the other features that Loyalty 3.0 offers help to personalize the experience for your customers. With a multi-platform loyalty program, it’s an easy process to collect data about the effectiveness of your promotions, as well as your customers’ purchasing patterns. This helps to put your customers into groups based off of their interests, which your business can then message with content targeted to their purchasing needs. Loyalty 3.0 can also be used for time-based promotions, as there are a number of features that can interact with your customers, even when they’re not in your store. You can pre-sell your products to your customers, so that they can pay online, and pick up their product or service at your business when it’s convenient for them. In addition, you can create an automated campaign that will offer your customers promotions at a predetermined time, such as their birthdays. With Loyalty 3.0, these features are available, to truly connect and engage with your customers.

Signing up and running a multi-platform loyalty program is easy and extremely price efficient, and this is due to the fact that a merchant joins a system, that offers a preconstructed platform. However, TapMango is unique in having the capabilities to have every aspect of your multi-platform loyalty program customized to your liking. Your customer experience will not only be seamless, but also brand-specific to your business. TapMango offers a fully customized system, showing that your loyalty program is completely independent (as if you spent the money to build it from scratch). Since you get an independent loyalty program your consumers, they will not have access to your competitors using the same platform, who could potentially be offering better deals right around the corner.

Loyalty 3.0 captures the principles and ideas of modern customer experience, and this allows for small businesses to compete with big brands.

To Upgrade, or Not to Upgrade?

With the easy-to-use interface and affordable costs, there's no excuse not to upgrade to Loyalty 3.0. By upgrading your loyalty program, you offer your customers an experience that is engaging, easy to keep track of, and catered to the digital media they already own. The costs to set up and run a functioning loyalty program, while also trying to provide the most benefit for customers, are two things that were once hard to juggle. Now, with the use of a multi-platform loyalty program, you get the highest level of customer loyalty for a competitive and cost-effective price. What more could you ask for?!

To get information about Loyalty 3.0, feel free to contact us here. For any questions or concerns regarding this article, please contact us at pr@tapmango.com

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