5 Key Ideas for Setting Up a Successful Loyalty Program

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Loyalty programs can have an astounding impact on a business, increasing visits, spend and overall revenue both immediately and for years to come.

But to reap the rewards of a loyalty program, the program must be set up and run with both strategy and foresight.

With that in mind, check out this list of five dos and don’ts for setting up a loyalty program for success.

1. Don’t: Make it too complicated.

A loyalty program should have more than one path to sign up, but those paths should all share one thing: ease of use.

Offering in-store sign up opportunities is always a good idea because when a customer is inside the store, they’re thinking about that store and future purchases. Retailers can streamline any sign-up process by providing electronic options, but making that electronic option user-friendly is absolutely critical. By keeping things quick and easy, customers don’t feel as if they’re sacrificing too much time to join the loyalty program, and are more likely to hop on board.

But what about customers who really are in a hurry and can’t be slowed down by even the simplest in-store sign-up? Making sure a rushing customer has a way to sign up from home, at their convenience, means that chance at gaining a loyalty program member doesn’t go away once they’re out the door. Advice to keep things simple still stands, however, even if the customer has more time to work with.

2. Do: Get employees excited

Simple signage won’t cut it. If retailers can get employees excited about being brand ambassadors, then that excitement can lead to more customers who are eager to be a part of the loyalty program. Employees are the public-facing representatives of a brand, after all, so they’re the ones in the best position to generate more sign-ups. When the employees get excited about signing up more customers for the loyalty program, that increases the chances of its success—sometimes by a lot.

But how can retailers get employees excited? One of the best ways is to give employees more incentives, so they’re more interested in promoting the benefits of the program to customers. For example, a Paytronix client used an internal employee promotion and benefited the tune of  a 244% increase in loyalty program sign-ups in just one month. Incentives can differ from store to store, but getting ideas from successful loyalty programs is always beneficial.

3. Don’t: Make it hard for customers to provide feedback

A loyalty program shouldn’t operate in a vacuum—in fact, it’s to the store’s benefit if it doesn’t. A customer loyalty program is all about building a relationship with customers, which just can’t happen if retailers don’t accept feedback or you make the feedback process too difficult. If retailers can keep an open mind (and an open line of communication) when it comes to customer feedback, they might be surprised by how advantageous feedback can really be.

Learning how to communicate with customers and collect feedback efficiently can lead to significant loyalty program improvements in the future. Those improvements can yield more customers who are loyal to a brand and are willing to spread the good news about the program to people they know.

4. Do: Get customers their first reward fast.

First impressions are important in just about every avenue of life, and loyalty programs are no exception.

Both engagement and long-term value increase when customers can receive or earn their first reward quickly. It’s in stores’ best interest to hook loyalty members in with a fast first reward, and setting up a program to do so doesn’t have to be difficult. Going about this in the best way will change depending on each store’s particular situation, but know that starting off with the right reward quickly can make a big impact on the success of a loyalty program.

5. Do: Set up timely, automated touchpoints.

Keeping in contact with loyalty program members from time to time is crucial. Setting up marketing automation with the perfect balance of timing and messaging can make this process simple and worthwhile.

The first step is to figure out which kinds of touchpoints to use. For example, will emails or text messages might suit a store’s branding and customer base better? Perhaps the answer is a combination of both? The medium of  messages, the wording of them, and how frequently they appear — all these things can be the difference between a loyalty member being thankful for a periodic reminder or resentful of an intrusion. When building touchpoints, it’s important to decide what methods to use, the reason for the contact, and the timing of each.

Also, think about what drives the store’s audience. For example, which messages are most likely to get people in the store?

At first glance, these five tips seem easy to accomplish, but it’s the details of each that set a loyalty program up for success—or failure.

There’s a lot to learn, but we’ve made it easy: We’ve put together a free, on-demand webinar that answers all of these questions and more, called “The Dos and Don’ts of Rolling Out a Loyalty Program.

This post is sponsored by Paytronix

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