Big brands are known for giving their customers additional incentives, which makes them a fan favorite.
Your business can and should do the same. With some creative incentives, you too can keep customers engaged and happy without handing out a ton of free stuff.
Here’s a look at four perks that big brands offer their customers and loyalty program members that you can mimic. Tweak these ideas to fit your unique business.
1. The first to know
When you’re rolling out a new product or menu item, tell your customers about it first.
Big brands like Applebee’s and GameStop use this strategy. Applebee’s invites loyalty members to try new menu items before serving them to the masses, and GameStop tells loyalty program members the release dates of new games so they can get their fix first.
It’s a simple perk that doesn’t cost you a thing. All you have to do is communicate with your audience.
A few weeks before the unveiling, prep customers with a text to build excitement. For example, a coffee shop could send a text saying, “We’ve got something new brewing at ABC Coffee Shop. Loyalty members like you will be the first to try it next Friday.” The text should play up the fact that members get first crack at this new product.
On Friday, invite members to the shop to try the new brew. Give them a little discount, maybe a free small coffee with the purchase of any baked good.
Every small business can add this perk to their loyalty program. Whether you release a new coffee, video game, app, book or clothing line – tell loyalty members about it first.
2. Member-only discounts
A TechCrunch survey shows 57.4% of customers join a loyalty program to save money. Your loyalty program is likely structured to do just that. The more money a customer spends at your store, the better the savings.
However, some big brands, like Gap, offer additional “savings days” to give members extra incentive to shop. Every Tuesday Gap loyalty members can save 10 percent off their purchase. Notice the savings occurs on a slower business day. If you want to offer a discount, do so on a day of the week that’s usually calm.
If offering additional discounts on a weekly basis is too much for your business, try offering a few member-only sales. To ensure these sales don’t break the bank, offer a coupon that’s good with a specific amount of merchandise purchased. For example, offer a 15 percent off coupon with a purchase of $25 or more.
The idea is to offer “extra savings” in a way that makes sense for your business.
3. Status perks
Give loyal customers the royal treatment with perks that come with an elevated status. When a customer reaches the highest tier in your rewards program, it shouldn’t just come with better deals, it should come with some clout.
Spoil your most valued customers with treatment that makes others a bit jealous. Delta, for example, lets elite members board the plane first, and access a relaxing airport lounge.
You might consider parking spots for elite members, special checkout lines, help loading goods into a car or call ahead seating. You can come up with creative ways to increase service for VIP members that don’t cost you anything.
Plus, a recent survey shows that status perks can attract new members to your program. Fifty-six percent of customers say they’re more likely to join a program if they can earn a VIP status, which is all the more reason to roll out the red carpet for your celebrity customers.
4. Double point days
On special days, encourage customers to come in and enjoy double points. DSW, the shoe retailer, offers ‘double points days’ twice a year.
Host ‘double points day’ on the anniversary of your business opening. Turn it into a customer appreciation event, with some entertainment, food or games.
If doubling points is a bit too drastic, send a promotion to members that offers 10 additional points for any purchase over $10. Additional points should encourage customers to stop by, so consider using this during slower times to boost sales.
‘Double points days’ aren’t something you want to overuse. DSW only does it twice a year to keep it a novelty.
What additional perks do you offer loyalty members? How does it elevate your program? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.