(…or how to gain your customers' loyalty)
Companies throughout the world are now utilizing loyalty programs more often than ever before. These organizations understand the importance of retaining existing customers and choose to implement a system directed specifically at building customer loyalty.
But what exactly is a loyalty program?
A loyalty program is a marketing system instituted by a business that rewards purchasing behavior, thus increasing the customer’s urge to stay loyal to the company. A loyalty program may offer convenience, store credit, prizes, or any other benefit that would entice the loyalty of a customer. Forrester’s latest research report, B2B Loyalty, The B2C Way, outlines practical ways B2B marketers can apply B2C principles to deepen relationships and engagement.
Why businesses must have a Customer Loyalty Program?
- it costs a business about five to ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one
- on average, current customers spend 67% more than new customers
- 65% of marketers has implemented a loyalty program in their companies
- brands lose an average of 65% of their revenue for every failed customer experience
- More than half of customers would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for a loyalty reward
- Businesses that grew their customer retention rates by as little as 5% saw profit increases ranging from 25% to 95%
- The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5–20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%
- 80% of the money you’ll make in the future will come from 20% of your existing customers
And a loyalty program has a lot of bit costs a business about five to ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one
- it costs very little
- It boosts growth
- It is good for your reputation: puts you ahead of the competition
- It improves customer retention for a specific operation
- It provides vital market research: digital loyalty systems automatically track and store customer purchase activity in a database
- It makes customers happy
- You can provide in-store or digital rewards (or both)
Personalize your Customer Loyalty Programs
Personalization lets you segment your customers and satisfy them according to their individual needs and preferences. Here are several options to customize your rewarding system:
- Program communication in the colour of your choice (ex: pink, if you sell women’s clothing)
- Comprehensive rewards explainer page
- Tiered programs: give different rewards based on what tier a customer is in. The tiers are set with milestones that a customer must pass to be part of the next tier. These milestones are usually dollars spent, but they can be anything (number of orders, number of referred friends, total loyalty points earned)
- early access to sales
- an exclusive first look at new products
- preferred customer service, free shipping
- set days where customers can earn bonus points (contests)
- allow shoppers to earn points for a lot of different actions including: purchases, referrals, birthdays, email registration, reviews, social sharing (Allow customers to promote your products on social network) and more
- invites to parties and events (Customer Appreciation)
- create a strong motivator by providing products that are not available to regular customers in your store and must be purchased with points
- reward customers for creating a profile that outlines their preferences and products they love
- paid upfront rewards: this model offers customers instant gratification and rewards — for a cost
An effective loyalty program allows you to hyper-personalize loyalty offers. With OpenCart you can customize your program on so many levels.
Ok, now you have a Customer Loyalty Program. Let’s see how you can Increase Customer Loyalty!
1. Establish a personal relationship with each individual customer
How? Well, simple: take advantage of any opportunity to get to know a client on a personal level. To be more exact, designate a specific team of representatives to each individual client. And offer timely rewards based on customer’s personal tastes and preferences. Also, offer your customers extra benefits for continuing to do business with you.
2. Take content relevance into account
Make sure your content is alligned with the traffic you have. That means you should provide content relevant to each territory and present it in the dialect that territory's natives would use.
3. Follow the rules
The „Golden Rule” : treat others as you would like to be treated.
The „Platinum Rule”: to interact with people in the way they prefer. If someone contacts you through a channel, follow up using that channel.
4. Ask the right question
You should ask yourselves “How do we make our customers more loyal?” , better than asking “What kind of loyalty do we want our customers to have, and do we want to have for our customers?”
5. Identify the loyal behaviors that most deserve explicit recognition, reward, and investment
How can this be achieved? The answer depends on how businesses and their customers define, perceive, and value loyalty. To increase your revenue, give your customers the rewards they deserve. The rewards must be valuable and relevant.
6. Promote your program
Email marketing: both to stimulate interest and to remind customers to use it.
Social media: engagement with fans and followers on different channels can build awareness.
Mobile technology: apps and text messaging are ways to take advantage of the steady rise in mobile device use.
When a new customer will notice you have a lot of loyal customers, he will realize something cool is happening on your online store and he will quickly become interested in what you offer.
7. Reevaluate your program on a regular basis
When needed, make the right changes. Track the progress of the program: customers must be able to see their progress so that they’re motivated to reach the next milestone.
How to measure your marketing success
The most common metrics companies watch when rolling out loyalty programs:
- Customer Retention Rate: an indication of how long customers stay with you.
- Negative Churn: a measurement of customers who either upgrade or purchase additional services
- Net Promoter Score: measures, on a scale of 1-10, the degree to which people would recommend your company to others
- Customer Effort Score: measures actual experience rather than the emotional delight of the customer
A loyalty program succeeds on how it can be communicated (and understood) by the customers. This is the most important success factor. Customers cannot behave how it's intended if they do not understand how the program works. Hint: they are not going to read any further than you one liner about it.
Here’s a scientific fact about customers’ loyalty:
Loyalty programs work not because of marketing voodoo, but because of the way our brains are wired. There’s a psychological effect called the Endowed Progress Effect, and it’s pretty simple but incredibly powerful.
The Endowed Progress Effect
- When people feel they have made some progress towards a goal then they will become more committed towards continued effort towards achieving the goal.
- Perception is critically important with this and the appearance of progress can have a strong effect whilst actual progress that is not recognized can be demotivating.
- The corollary is that people who feel they are making little or no progress will be more likely to abandon efforts.
- As people get closer to the goal, their commitment is likely to deepen as they strive increasingly harder to achieve success.
The pillars of a successful loyalty program are:
- understand: gain intelligence around your customers actions
- segment customers based on their shopping and consumption activity
- personalize: construct relevant omnichannel communications to motivate your customers
- optimize: measure campaign and engagement activities to increase the program’s effectiveness
Build your strategy on these pillars and your loyalty program should be free from unnecessary hassles. Build it on OpenCart: it’s easy to install and set up!