Loyalty programs encourage customers to shop at your store, collect loyalty points and earn rewards. And American consumers love the rewards: according to research from COLLOQUY, American households on average are enrolled in 29 distinct loyalty programs.
While participation in loyalty programs is on the rise, up 26 percent between 2013 and 2015, consumers are hungry for even greater rewards. In fact, sixty-two percent of customers say the brands that they’re most loyal to aren’t doing enough to reward them, according to research on Social Annex.
Big brands like Pepsi are listening to customers, and have started to expand their program beyond way beyond purchases. The company now gives loyalty points when their customers interact with the brand on social media, read articles on its website, or sign in to various events sponsored by Pepsi, according to COLLOQUY.
Why should big brands get all the rewards? Small businesses too can build loyalty programs to engage their customers and make them feel appreciated. Here are some activities beyond the cash register that celebrate your customers, and make sure they’re coming in for more. Download our free retail customer loyalty success guide to learn how to drive customers back 2x more.
Activities you can reward your customers for
1. Signing up for your loyalty program
Rather than starting new customers out with a blank slate, give them a handful of points just for signing up. The extra incentive will start the relationship off strong, and make it easier for your employees to convince customers to make the plunge.
2. Downloading your app
Ninety percent of businesses are increasing mobile app investments in 2016, according to Arc. But what good is an app if nobody downloads it? Throwing in a few extra loyalty points when customers complete a download can be the nudge they need.
3. Leaving a message on social media
Using social media is a great way to drive interest in your small business, but constantly keeping the conversation going can be a time-suck. Inspire your customers to keep it moving by offering additional loyalty points for asking questions or leaving comments on your social sites.
4. Donating to a charity
Give customers a few extra points when they donate to a charity that your business supports. Your customers will link your brand with the feeling of giving back. Research shows 72 percent of consumers have donated to a cause at the register and felt better about the brand after doing so. (Bonus: you’ll feel good, too)
5. Attending a customer appreciation event
Most businesses host at least one customer appreciation event each year to thank customers for their support. This year, make your gratitude even more powerful by giving every customer who attends the event additional points just for showing up.
6. Providing feedback
Customer feedback can be helpful as you look to improve your business, and it can further engage your customers. Getting your customers to complete a survey, however, can sometimes be a challenge. Whether you email a survey or hand out survey cards in your store, giving customers an incentive – like additional loyalty points – can increase participation.
7. Celebrating a milestone
Marking a milestone— a customer’s birthday, the anniversary of their first visit—with a “point boost” is a small but personal way to show your appreciation. To celebrate a specific date, you’ll need to collect information from your customers. But actively seeking information from your customers is a smart way to build profiles, segment lists and create specialized offers for each niche.
You can also give away points when your store reaches a milestone, like when you’re celebrating your 20th year in business.
8. To say thanks
Give customers additional points as a token of appreciation. Whether you reward your most loyal customers for their business each year or holiday shoppers for their patronage, you’re letting your customers know you value them.
Tips to promote your new reward activities
- Use a variety of platforms for promotion
To really engage your customers, try a variety of methods of communication: emails, text and social messages. A message through your loyalty program itself can be a powerful method of communication as well.
- Segment your promotions
Make sure you’re giving your points to the right people to boost their effectiveness. When you divide your loyalty customers into groups, like VIPs, lapsed customers, etc. you can give the right incentives that will drive sales.
- Start slow
As you introduce new ways for customers to earn rewards, you’ll want start slow. Pick one idea from the list, introduce it and see how it goes. See how many customers take advantage of the new offer before introducing another.
Does your business offer points for activities other than purchases? We want to hear how it’s going! Share your experiences in the comments below.