3 techniques to improve consumer participation in loyalty programs
June 05, 2013

Loyalty and gift card programs offer small- and medium-sized businesses numerous benefits, but many times customers forget they are a member of a particular program or are unaware the advantages of participating in one. According to Colloquy's "2013 Loyalty Census", loyalty program activity decreased 4.3 percent from last year while enrollment has increased. Understanding why members are not actively taking part in loyalty programs can offer SMBs insights into boosting participation and raising sales as well.

Leverage program benefits 
Customers want to know why it is advantageous to sign up for a gift card and loyalty program. The survey found consumers want to stay in constant contact with the company after opting in to a program but often SMBs miss out on opportunities to connect with customers.

Jeff Berry, senior research director at Colloquy, told Direct Marketing News SMBs should employ networking sites and marketing initiatives to ensure customers get the most out of belonging to a program.

"Loyalty programs enable a dialog with customers," Berry said. "Are they on social media? Do they actually want to engage with your program on social media? How are you leveraging those loyalty programs? These programs give a real opportunity to talk to customers."

Remind customers at the POS 
SMBs that accept multiple types of payments are already halfway there to increasing their program participation. Customer who prefer to use debit and credit cards at the point of sale understand the financial security of plastic and are often more willing to participate in a loyalty and gift card program. SMBs may want to ask every consumer who reaches for plastic if they have already signed up for the loyalty program and if they are interested in using their card that day. It may be just the reminder customers need.

Stay relevant 
Consumers constantly use their mobile device while shopping. SMBs may want to remember their loyalty program can drive sales and make sure to update the program regularly to include the newest customer preferences. From delivering digital coupons that consumers access from their smartphone at the POS to providing rewards that can be easily used in the store or online, SMBs can create repeat business by ensuring their loyalty program is up to date and delivers optimal benefits to members.

With just a few strategies, SMBs can increase their loyalty and gift card program participation and generate sales.

Nexus: G-WEBCD4