There are various approaches to customer engagement strategies. Some businesses have no interest in building strong and long-lasting relationships with their customers, preferring short-term profit and, sometimes, employing dishonest tactics. Will such companies benefit from this approach? Perhaps. However, this effect is usually only temporary.
The opposite approach lies in taking the necessary steps to inspire customers’ confidence and convince them of the company’s competence and sincerity. Such methods do not promise fast results, but they are extremely useful for further robust growth. One way or another, in time, all hard work pays off.
What Is Customer Loyalty?
If the second approach aligns more closely with your business values, you may like the idea of customer loyalty programs, as this can be an efficient way to attract attention to a brand and build an emotional bond with your target audience. First, let’s look at what customer loyalty is.
Customer loyalty is an indicator of customer willingness to repeatedly choose one’s company over a wide range of competitors. Nowadays, it’s one of the major driving forces of any business development. Here are a few statistics that prove the point: the probability of selling to a regular client is up to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new one is only 5 to 20%.
What Aspects Influence Customer Loyalty?
If you plan to create a customer loyalty program and take advantage of the increased number of satisfied buyers, you should realize that client retention may be quite challenging, often requiring new methods. First, focus on positive factors that are relevant to consumers.
- A Feeling of Trust. As LoyaltyLion reported, 76% of clients admitted their loyalty depends on the level of trust. Every customer wants to be confident that the quality of a product or service matches what the seller claims. If this is so, a feeling of trust can be a breeding ground for word-of-mouth, the oldest yet most effective form of advertising.
- Customer Service. The way a company’s employees provide service is no less important than the product itself. Rapid response to client issues, with a prompt resolution or alternative solutions, facilitates customer retention. Clients will never regret conducting business with you and will certainly come back when necessary.
- Individual Approach. Epsilon, the leader in people-based marketing, reports that 80% of respondents are more likely to return to a company if it provided a personalized experience. For example, in developing a customer loyalty program for a restaurant, it would be wise to offer regular patrons special discounts or gift vouchers.
- Reputation. Reputation is the basis for long-lasting relationships. In this case, every detail matters: your business message and the way your company positions itself on the market. Like the saying goes, “as you name the boat, so shall it float.” Still, don’t forget to perform in accordance with your announcements; otherwise, it’ll just be meaningless.
- Community Outreach. Customers often pay attention to those companies that support the same causes. Usually, social reasons are almost the biggest reason to stay loyal.
Customer Loyalty Program Ideas
Now that you’ve become acquainted with the key factors influencing customer loyalty, let’s focus on some basic types of customer loyalty programs.
- Reward Point System. This is one of the most common types of loyalty programs. The concept lies in earning points after each purchase, which can be used toward future purchases. This system motivates buyers to come back for more.
- Value-Based Program. Enabling your clients to do a good thing with your help benefits not only retailers and shoppers but also a third party that will receive a donation. It’s a win-win outcome.
- VIP Program for Loyal Members. An exclusive club can provide extra motivation for your clients, as they can take advantage of special offers, discounts, and gifts available only to those who have reached a set limit (either a number of purchases or period of time since a person became your loyal client).
Advantages of Customer Loyalty Software
As this is the Internet era and many entrepreneurs conduct business online, there is a wide range of e-commerce innovations available to help merchants strengthen their customer relationships. Today, developing your own customer loyalty software is vital. Here is why:
- Flexibility. Customer loyalty software can help make your brand more engaging through design and implementing unique features—for example, a reward system or notifications—so clients receive congratulations or invitations to VIP events. Thus, your clients will know that their favorite brand is always thinking about them.
- Automatic Tracking. This software allows you to collect customer behavior information. This can be useful for making adjustments to your marketing strategy to improve your service.
- Promotion on Social Media. These days, providing buyers with the opportunity to log in via social media and tag your company to receive extra bonuses is a must, ultimately enabling you to reach a wider audience.
What are the Most Effective Tools for Customer Loyalty Programs?
- Loopy Loyalty is software for small businesses to become trustworthy in the eyes of potential clients. No plastic loyalty cards anymore. To set up a program, simply create a punch card model. It can be integrated with various online payment platforms and customized to your preferences.
- Tapmango is an online ordering platform for restaurants and retail businesses. With setup taking only 30 minutes, this software can be quickly integrated with other Point of Sale systems. It allows you to inform users about promotions via SMS, push-notifications, and email and offers a smart point system. Another benefit is “happy hours”, enabling you to set certain time limits for products on sale.
- FiveStars will fit any business direction, but it’s most effective for launching customer loyalty programs for restaurants. The tool can track customer behavior, collect data, and generate reports. You can set up automated campaigns to welcome newcomers and remind old clients about your store.
58.7% of online buyers consider receiving rewards an essential part of the shopping experience. Clearly, customer loyalty programs are very popular among online sellers and buyers.
Fortunately, new technologies facilitate the optimization of marketing campaigns and simplify the customer engagement process. Simply choose your customer loyalty program model, use your imagination, find the most appropriate tool, and voila! Many loyal customers are guaranteed.
Jane Vishnova, CEO & Co-founder of Dinarys, a fast-growing eCommerce development company, a Magento, Adobe, and Shopware Solution partner. My personal experience in management is since 2009 and in the IT field since 2014. An experienced public speaker, participate in local and international conferences. Our team of 70+ eCommerce professionals works with B2B and B2C companies all over the world.