Companies both large and small are using loyalty programs to keep customers and gain even more of their business. However, there is a broad range of loyalty program types, and choosing the one that will best serve your business can be tricky. Sometimes the only way to truly get it right is trial and error, but the closer you start to the best option, the faster you can get to where you really need to be.
Before you can begin to make a choice, you have to truly understand what the options are, how they have evolved, and how they work.
There was a time when these were actual cards, similar to a business card, and you got a literal hole punched in it each time you made a purchase. It could apply to only one product, general purchases, or a combination.
The premise is that after you make a certain number of purchases you receive an incentive. Most often it is a free item, but some choose to do a discount of some sort. These work well for restaurants, especially specialty types such as coffee shops, ice cream shops, and bakeries.
Over time, punch cards have evolved and are sometimes offered electronically through an app. When you make a purchase, you can scan your receipt or an employee can scan a barcode or enter a number from your virtual card or app and you get credit.
These programs offer points for purchases and points can be exchanged for various incentives at different levels. The more points you have the better the incentives for which you are eligible. Incentives range from discounts to free products and gift cards.
These often work well for service and retail businesses, and seem to be popular with online retain businesses and gas stations.
Hybrid programs are especially popular with gas stations but could work for other businesses. They are more prevalent in this age of the mobile app, as they are difficult to track anyway but electronically. Points can be earned at each visit and exchanged for incentives, while purchases of certain products lead to a virtual hole punch that lead to yet another incentive.
Which one is Right?
Once you know what you have to choose from, the key is to determine which one will work best for your business. Some important points to consider include:
- Is it easy for you and your customer?
— If it is too difficult, your employees will have trouble honoring it and your customers may not even bother.
- It is customizable?
— No two businesses are the same, even if they seem to be. Adopting a program that another business uses is a great idea, because you can see that it works, but if it isn’t customizable to your business, disaster could be closer than you want.
- Does it allow for feedback?
One of the best perks of loyalty programs for the business is the collection of feedback. It should track important data, allow for customer reviews, and provide you with valuable information for growing and improving your business.
Biz2Credit can help you with any financing you may need to make the changes that become evident through feedback. Our network of lenders offers small business loans for borrowers of all types. There is something for virtually everyone. Visit Biz2Credit.com today to get started.