Digital Customer Loyalty Programs

Digital Customer Loyalty Programs

These days, instead of asking your customers to carry a punch card, keep your small business customer loyalty program in their hands with a digital program they can access through the technology on their mobile phone.

More than a third of small businesses offer some type of customer loyalty program, but more than half of those are using a system they created -- mostly paper systems such as punch cards, according to the “Local Commerce Monitor,” an ongoing study of advertising by BIA/Kelsey.

A digital customer loyalty program can offer your business benefits a paper punch card can’t, including the ability to easily:

  • Collect information about your customers, such as contact details, birth dates and buying patterns
  • Encourage loyal customers to refer you to their friends and other contacts through social media
  • Connect with customers through email and text
  • Analyze whether your rewards are working to increase revenue, and which offers are most effective

Loyal customers offer substantial value to your business over time. A recent infographic from SCORE shows the value of a loyal customer can be as much as 10 times the amount of that person’s first purchase from your business. And recruiting new customers is costly -- six to seven times more expensive than keeping the customers you already have.

A well-designed loyalty program can add tens of thousands of dollars to your bottom line. For example, one marketer who works with restaurants found that new customers who joined loyalty programs were much more likely to become repeat customers in a short period of time. Loyalty members ordered more often and spent more per transaction.

Numerous programs allow small businesses to run digital customer loyalty programs easily and with little expense. Some cost as little as $50 a month, and allow you to customize rewards for more valuable shoppers, personalize marketing and analyze results. Here are some of the options available:

  • Perka allows you to award digital “stamps” when customers make a purchase and to target offers to your most valuable shoppers.
  • SpotOn acts as a digital loyalty card for customers to collect rewards from multiple businesses.
  • Belly provides your business with a tablet computer, which customers use to check in with a card or app. After several visits, it prompts them to review your business on Yelp, encouraging reviews from your best customers.
  • Perkville can reward your customers with loyalty points, not only for shopping, but also for referring people to your business through social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • pinnum allows customers with the free app to enter a business’ pin number to see discounts or buy an item on sale. If your business links its pinnum account to a Simplify Commerce MasterCard merchant account, money from purchases will be deposited in that account within two days.
Digital customer loyalty programs are quickly evolving, so make sure to research which offers the best options for your small business.
Amy Beth Miller is a writer and editor helping people succeed in business for more than a decade. She has written news articles, features, blogs, newsletters, e-letters white papers and training manuals.

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