Small businesses place a priority on customer loyalty programs
October 16, 2013

Small and medium-sized businesses throughout North America are focusing more of their attention on offering advanced gift card programs and loyalty programs for their customers.

Local enterprises have unique opportunities to differentiate themselves from larger competitors by utilizing technology to create new incentives for shoppers to keep returning to stores on a regular basis. Excellent customer service has always been a central tenant of any business experience. However, the latest data from the quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor suggests small companies are now more interested in improving the shopper experience than ever before.

According to the report, 94 percent of Canadian business owners believe customer satisfaction is the most important element contributing to long-term success. Rather than aiming for rapid growth and expansion, these respondents place a much higher value on the ability to retain loyal shoppers.

"It's clear that small-business owners make it a priority to put their customers first, and it's working," Athena Varmazis, vice president and general manager of small business services at American Express Canada, stated in a press release. "They seem to understand that it's important to invest in growth, but not at the expense of their customers. As such, business owners are using this knowledge to help direct their everyday business decisions."

One of the most effective ways to invest in long-term shopper retention is to provide interactive gift card programs and loyalty programs. In fact, a recent paper published in the Journal of Consumer Research said businesses in North American spend billions of dollars total on such programs. Small and medium-sized enterprises can improve their loyalty programs by integrating them with digital tools that allow customers to share rewards with friends, process mobile credit card payments or otherwise keep shoppers actively engaged and satisfied with the overall retail experience.

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