What does a successful loyalty program look like today?
November 01, 2013

Small and medium-sized businesses must rely on much more than simple punch cards when implementing gift card programs and loyalty programs into their existing operations. Today's rapidly evolving consumer market has changed many of the ways that shoppers interact with brands. Offering a robust rewards program is just as important as ever. However, stores must make special efforts to ensure participation in these initiatives leads to overall satisfaction.

The News-Press, a newspaper based in Southwest Florida, cited a recent report from the Maritz Loyalty Marketing agency that found the average American consumer is a member of 7.4 loyalty programs. He or she is likely to participate in 63 percent of those schemes on a regular basis. Many small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the nation continue to experience long-term benefits by investing in these kinds of programs.

"Instead of just creating an occasional visitor to your business, you're creating a repeat visitor," Jessica Barton, vice president of account services for Spiro & Associates Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, told The News-Press.

The use of gift card programs and loyalty programs throughout the private business world has grown rapidly in the last couple of years. For example, Biz Report, an online news publication, said the number of rewards plans increased 25 percent between 2010 and 2012. To ensure full participation with these initiatives, stores must have a deep understanding of their target consumers.

In fact, Biz Report said businesses run the risk of losing valuable customers if they are unable to offer rewards that directly appeal to the unique preferences of individual shoppers. The Star-News also suggested companies periodically update their rewards programs to keep customers fully engaged and excited about new discounts or offers that may be around the corner. As a result, businesses in a variety of industries can take full advantage of shopper loyalty and all of its benefits.

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