Have you been wondering how to keep your current customers engaged while attracting new ones? You’re not alone. The past three years have proven more than ever that customers value their unique preferences. The companies that cater to those preferences continue to thrive in multiple ways. The importance of building customer loyalty cannot be denied. One of the most strategic moves you can make as a brand is implementing reward programs for both your employees and customers.
Studies show that existing customers are nine times more likely to buy from you than someone new. Additionally, on average, existing customers spend about 31% more.
What is a customer loyalty program?
Having a program in place that rewards customers who engage with your brand just makes sense. These types of programs are designed to guide customers to make repeat purchases. When done correctly, the loyalty program can attract and retain old and new customers, reactivate lapsed customers, and encourage them to spend more.
Customer loyalty programs aren’t new, but the ways in which you implement customer engagement can be. Here are five creative ways to enhance customer engagement through your customer reward programs:
Give rewards quicker
While several companies wait until the customer spends a certain amount of money, giving your customers something ‘just because’ works wonders. Loyalty programs that offer exclusive discount codes, a free gift with purchase, or money off for items create a culture that speaks to consumers who want to spend but may not have the disposable income for a high-priced item. However, they will go for a few lower-priced items. Either way, your company wins.
Customer loyalty programs do very well with branded merchandise. For instance, T-Mobile’s Thankful Tuesdays campaign has given out mugs, hats, umbrellas, neck pillows, and more. Customers love exclusive high-quality merchandise they get for free. The best part is the word-of-mouth marketing branded merchandise naturally promotes.
One of the best concepts brands are embracing is cross-promotion. There are many company reward programs that allow you to collect or use reward points by shopping with your partners. It shows the customer that you understand that you don’t fulfill all their wants and needs and you’re willing to help direct them to vendors that may have what they are looking for. Credit card companies use this module for their cardholders with restaurants, airlines, and rental cars. In essence, you’re operating as a resource in addition to helping them gain or use loyalty points.
Some companies have choices on what types of rewards their customers can receive based on the number of customer reward points they have. This widens the scope of rewards, offering variety rather than specific, limited rewards. For example, some companies offer exclusive products for customers that are redeemable using customer rewards points. These products are often special sizes or offer a unique twist on the brand’s typical production offering. There are a number of beauty companies and retail stores that have successfully mastered this concept.
VIP or frequent user tiers
VIP or frequent user tiers offer customers more than discounted items, elevating the entire experience. These tiers are for the especially loyal consumer and they’re offered experiences for being in the program at various levels which are unlocked once they’ve spent a certain amount in a designated time period. VIPs might get special perks like exclusive gifts, a free birthday gift, first access to new products, and are invited to attend VIP-only events.
Companies have also started using apps to help customers keep track of their purchases and earn instant rewards. These are stored value accounts. Starbucks has successfully used this concept to increase its spending per customer by two to three times. With mobile apps being an integral part of everyday life, it makes sense to add this into the marketing mix.
Fast-food companies use a similar approach to offer free food and other items. Creating a program where customers are incentivized just because they are a part of your network can make a huge difference and solidify their loyalty to you – not the competition.