As the recession sets in and consumers continue to tighten their belts, retailers and restaurants are left wondering how to pull more customers through their doors. While many merchants’ immediate reaction is to cut their marketing budgets or lower their prices, there is a better way. Businesses that can identify their individual customers’ preferences and make targeted, personalized offers can expand their business in a down economy and avoid those costly price wars.
Large and small merchants alike have found that electronic customer-reward programs are cost-effective ways to create brand loyalty, drive incremental sales, and actually change customer behavior to increase profitability. While consistently delivering an excellent product or service is the biggest key to a successful business, loyalty programs help attract new customers and, most important, ensure repeat visits from your current patrons.
If done right, loyalty programs are easy and inexpensive and can be the single most important marketing vehicle moving customers through your door. A successful loyalty marketing program gives merchants the ability to understand and analyze a customer’s behavior, and influence that behavior through meaningful, real-time rewards.
Seem complicated? It’s not as hard as it looks.
Knowledge is golden: Choose a solution that allows you to understand your customer’s purchase patterns, preferences, and other relevant behaviors, and then offer rewards that are specifically targeted to that customer.
Show them the money: Make discounts and rewards immediately redeemable at the point of sale.
Change it up: Evolve promotions to encourage customers to try new products. Keeping your patrons engaged leads to them to come back for more!
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.