We constantly hear how technology can improve the customer experience. However, most of us are still confined to the realm of social media, promotions, brochures, and conferences to attract clients.
Even though almost every time one enters a retail shop, they are offered a loyalty card or to join a members club, it surprisingly enough, only 27% of retailers have a loyalty program. It makes you wonder – what all the other retailers are doing to keep their clients coming back? Is this too complicated?
Consumers can be loyal to certain retailers based on the brand name – Topshop, Marks & Spencer, and Sephora spring to mind. People know what to expect from them, they have built up their customer base on trends, heritage, and quality respectively. Interestingly, Topshop is the only retailer out of the three that doesn’t offer a loyalty scheme.
What keeps consumers loyal?
If we look at this hypothetically, M&S may expect that because they’ve been trading for over 200 years and are classed as a British institution, they don’t need a loyalty scheme, “shoppers love our brand, we don’t need to enroll them into a loyalty program, it’ll cost us too much time and money” the CEO might say.
Realistically, it’s a whole different story. Consumers may not describe themselves as loyal to a retailer but shop there when they need to or when it’s convenient. Consumers might think, “well, retailer A doesn’t reward me for shopping with them, so I prefer to buy from Retailer B, as they cater more for my needs and reward me for my shoppings.”
Retail news has been full of stories about Boohoo, a UK-based online fashion retailer, recently experiencing strong growth over the Christmas period, although they don’t have a loyalty program per se, like their fellow e-tailers, ASOS and Missguided, it offers affordable fashion with next day delivery and free delivery for a one-off, flat fee for the year. Boohoo knows its customers. The brand is more about the ‘here and now’, not the ‘here for 200 years and still going’. Sometimes loyalty goes beyond points and discounts, it all depends on your customer.
Integrating loyalty and retail
Creating an effective, yet simple loyalty program that meets the needs of your target market can really help you thrive in these times of retail uncertainty.
Crafting a clever loyalty scheme within your retail management and CRM system can help you really make sense of your customer data and optimize your program to deliver real value that keeps your expectations tied into consumer reality.
7 steps to loyalty success
Omnichannel loyalty – By offering a loyalty program that works across all your sales channels can really incentivize your customers to keep coming back to you with open arms (and wallets).
One CRM – Keep all your customer data securely in one place, within your retail management software. By being fully GDPR compliant retailers can avoid the misuse of data and angering customers on their opt-out lists.
Loyalty cards – Offer customers a membership or loyalty card that they can keep on them for shopping in-store, or make it easy for tech-wise shoppers by keeping a digital version of their loyalty cards within a mobile app.
Promotions – People love promotions and money off, in fact, Cybertill research found that consumers are incentivized to sign up to loyalty programs by discounts (69%) and points that equal money to spend in store (67%).
Personalization – With customer-specific loyalty data available within your retail management software, you can make sure you tailor promotions to your valued customers. Offer birthday vouchers or money off once they hit a certain price point that keeps them shopping with you.
No restrictions – Don’t alienate customers, offer discounts and point accumulation on loyalty cards, accepting loyalty credit as full or part payment across all sales channels, whether in-store or online.
Push Notifications – Set up alerts on your till that lets shop attendants know when customers have credit available to spend. By asking “would you like to use your points?” takes away the hassle from customers not knowing how much credit they have available and can sometimes act a nice surprise – who doesn’t love extra money off at the till?
Creating the best loyalty scheme
In essence, retailers need to keep their loyalty schemes simple and clear. Loyalty is more than points, it’s about retailers knowing their customers, what makes them tick, what makes them want to spend money and why. It’s clear to see why online fashion e-tailers like Boohoo are doing so well, its value proposition isn’t all bells and whistles, it’s simple, offering an affordable, speedy delivery option that their customers love – it’s a no brainer.