In just two months, the largest shopping season of the year will be under way, and most retailers are putting the final touches on their carefully crafted holiday campaigns. How can you make sure you’re getting the biggest return on the time and effort you’ve spent on these campaigns?
Whether you’re an online retailer, brick and mortar, or both-customer loyalty programs bring huge sales success. But here’s the thing: If you want your loyalty program to make an impact, don’t wait until 2017 to kick off.
The most successful loyalty programs are backed by a well-devised strategy. These programs aren’t just about making your best customers even better (although that’s a big part of it). They’re about generating data and using that data to improve the brand and, ultimately, the customer experience. Which brings us to reason No. 1 for starting your loyalty program now:
1. It Takes Time to Launch and Promote a Customer Loyalty Campaign
If your goal is to bolster sales in Q4, you’ll need every bit of these next two months to ramp up exposure, get current and new customers enrolled and leverage the resulting data to drive holiday promotions.
It takes time to launch and promote a loyalty program, and for the program to start generating data that can be re-integrated into your retail operations.
2. It Will Help Set You Apart
The close of the fiscal year paired with the demands of the holiday season make Q4 a particularly competitive time for retailers. Come November, customers will be bombarded with promotions and special offers, which makes it increasingly difficult for retailers to engage them. Earn loyalty now, and your customers will remember you when buying season hits full swing.
3. It Will Help You Beat Major Competitors
Loyalty programs help disguise price points from competitors by enabling brands to send one-to-one special offers that only the target recipient sees.
Usually, these offers are sent via email to a customer while in-aisle, which provides them with a VIP-like shopping experience that puts the customer above regular shelf pricing and makes it difficult for competitors to offer a better value. This experience brings us to our final reason for starting your loyalty program now.
The average American household is enrolled in 29 loyalty programs, and actively uses about 12. Even the most unexpected retailers, like CVS and Walmart, now offer loyalty programs for their in-store and online customers. It’s becoming an expectation and retailers who refuse their customers this privilege may lose out to competitors who offer it or offer it better.
Still Not Convinced?
If you’re still not sure you need a customer loyalty program, consider this:
- Loyalty programs are proven to grow sales by offering customers enticing deals that either ensure they come back into your store or encourage them to make additional purchases while shopping.
- Loyalty programs are cost-effective. It is seven times less expensive to keep a current customer than it is to acquire a new one.
- Loyalty programs provide valuable insights into target audience and customer behavior that will help drive future strategy.
- Loyalty programs cater to all types of customers (online, mobile and in-store)
Our final piece of advice: Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing to help launch and sustain your loyalty program. Email intelligence will be a vital tool when it comes time to segment lists and generate participation.