Strengthening loyalty programs with proven methods
February 05, 2013

Loyalty and gift card programs are becoming more crucial components of merchant strategies, as modern consumers are demanding engaging and beneficial perks for their patronage. Improvements in the overall economic situation of the United States has also increased traffic for many retailers, strengthening the need for unique and preferable loyalty programs.

Several studies indicate that repeat customers are far more profitable for merchants than acquiring new consumers, resulting from a decreased need for investment in marketing. However, the best loyalty programs will reach new clients and keep the attention of older ones, leading to the highest possible revenues.

Keeping customers happy
Forbes recently suggested several steps merchants can take to ensure their loyalty programs capture the attention of new patrons and keep existing clients returning over time. One study found that it is seven times the expense to acquire a new customer than holding on to existing patrons, and with competition heating up, businesses need to focus on developing engaging programs. 

According to the source, strong loyalty programs cultivate a community of followers, all of which remain happy as patrons. This can be accomplished through the use of mobile technologies and incorporation of social media into loyalty programs. Merchants should consider adopting integrated payment systems to streamline the customer experience.

The news provider suggested merchants treat each customer differently, creating a tiered loyalty program that rewards higher spenders more than their newer counterparts. Further, these initiatives should be highly personalized and should give the newest customers a good reason to join while making it beneficial to remain loyal over time.

Forbes added that loyalty programs should be formally introduced and marketed to long-standing customers and individuals in target markets as quickly as possible. By ensuring simple, yet engaging loyalty programs, merchants can expect to see higher returns on investment, as consumers want the most convenient process possible.

Integration key to simplicity
Merchants can ensure simplistic and convenient customer experiences through the use of integrated payment systems, as these solutions will streamline the transaction processing and loyalty program functions for the most efficient overall strategy. Cohesion of all customer-facing functions will also help improve the image of the brand.

The modern customer is using mobile devices to conduct a variety of shopping activities, and as such, merchants need to ensure all systems are accessible and compatible with the most popular smartphones and tablets. 

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