With a mirage of new businesses sprouting each day, establishing brand loyalty among consumers can be one of the most difficult tasks facing any company. Some corporations choose to focus on reaching new consumers while others are more concerned with retaining the ones they currently serve, but all wish to establish their brands as a dominant market player. To do this, companies have many options, ranging from investing in advertisements to distributing product samples among potential consumer bases.
One way several large corporations have further cemented the bond between buyer and seller is through customer loyalty programs, or those that provide incentives to consumers who frequently visit or purchase from a business. These initiatives can range in their offerings, such as simply sending coupons to contacts on email lists or entering individuals into company wide sweepstakes. By specially tailoring these programs to preexisting consumers, businesses have the chance to strengthen the loyalty among their target base, leading to more satisfied buyers.
The benefits of customer loyalty programs
Customer loyalty programs can lead to two major benefits among companies: cementing the bond already shared among businesses and their buyers, and attracting new consumers through reward-based initiatives. Implementing programs along these lines helps businesses to provide frequent visitors to their sites with tangible rewards, whether those are digital coupons or physical artifacts. According to Forbes, some companies fear implementing loyalty programs because they cannot afford to pay for them. However, some businesses have seen success in initiatives that do not require any monetary commitment from the corporation – merely allowing consumers the chance to brag about being in a special club is enough to increase loyalty in the brand.
CMO chronicled a group of businesses that provided buyers with perks, some physical and others in name only. One of these brands was Thirsty Camel, a retail store in Tasmania. The company initiated the "Hump Club," which provides people who signed up on the website with discounts or coupons they can access in the store. Leah Grinter, the group marketing director, told CMO that customers are excited to be part of special team of people, and value that above the actual products they receive.
"We do have lots of fun with the brand, and four our customers it's about having that identifier to being in the club," Grinter said. "I see an opportunity for a 'surprise and delight' capability – for example, we could reward Jim Beam loyal customers with free samples and offers by using their data."
Apps can help spread the word
Grinter added that once the company rolled out an app that could be downloaded, a surprising number of new members joined the club. Taking advantage of mobile technology can help companies to reach an even greater audience, especially the younger generation that relies so heavily upon their mobile devices. Mobilized chronicled some of the most effective mobile loyalty apps, some of which are free and other that cost a small fee to join. SpotOn, for example, takes away the hassle of carrying a punch card and allows users to digitally chronicle their spending patterns. Customers can be scanned each time they visit a business, allowing company officials to track exactly when visitors come and what they purchase. The app is currently being used by more than 250 companies, including Dairy Queen and Chick-Fil-A.
Giveaways incentivize consumers
One great way to reward customers in these programs is through distribution of promotional products, whether companies are handing out personalized items that relate to their operations – such as liquor retailers handing out imprinted key rings with bottle openers – or they're giving out more generalized items to further promote business, like pens that feature a company's logo. These types of products provide physical objects to consumers, allowing them to receive something tangible for being a loyal customer to a brand.