These days, every big box store and large restaurant chain has a loyalty strategy in place, but loyalty isn’t just for large companies with deep pockets. Successful, well-managed loyalty programs are absolutely attainable for small business, and new technologies make it easier and more affordable than ever before to draw in customers and keep them coming back.
Here are five ways to boost loyalty for your small business:
- There’s an App for That
Today there are all kinds of mobile apps on the market to help you build loyalty with your customers. Do your research and find out if there’s already a mobile app out there that can accomplish your specific goals. If not, consider building your own. It’s not nearly as expensive or time-consuming as it once was to get a mobile app developed, and it helps that the newly released Android Pay has built-in loyalty features that you can access via their API.
- Bring Payments into the Loyalty Game
You might not see the two as inherently connected, but mobile payments and loyalty are a natural fit. Your point of sale can collect more valuable data from mobile payments versus a credit card or cash, which means you’ll be able to learn more about them, and in turn offer the kind of perks that convert them into loyal customers.
- Embrace Data
What kind of data should you collect about your customers? It depends on what type of business you’re in. To get a good idea, think about the factors that influence your customers to buy and what their preferences and pain points look like. Some things you may want to study include:
- Preferred shopping days and times
- Customer demographics
- Seasonal or weekly cycles
- Product affinity
- Average spend per customer
- Right Offer + Right Time = $
One key to building loyalty is putting the right offer in front of the right person at the right time so they feel like you’re catering to their needs and care about them as customers.
For example, a grocery store might want to zero in on products that are often bought together. Then, if someone is only purchasing one, they can offer a coupon in real time for the other. (Think salsa and chips or wine and cheese).
If you’re a restaurant and know that certain patrons only come on the weekends, you could reach out to those individuals with a special weeknight deal. Combining customer data and overall business trends should help you cook up a loyalty program that gives people what they really want.
- Get Your Customer Service Right
No fancy loyalty program is going to patch up a bad customer service experience, so this is essential to get right if you want to convert visitors into ongoing, loyal patrons. This requires a combination of best practices training for your employees and using technology to make sure you’re helping customers as much as possible. For example, inventory tracking is a big challenge for many stores, and it’s easy to lose customers if you don’t know what you have in stock (or where to get it). Selecting tools that help alleviate this pain point could put you on the fast track to customer loyalty.
BONUS: Reward Your Best Customers
It can be tempting to believe that if a customer is already loyal, you don’t need to expend a bunch of resources to make them happy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Focus on your most loyal shoppers by providing relevant offers, VIP perks and priority access to sales. Odds are, these customers are also your best source of referrals for future loyal customers.
What loyalty strategies have you tried out? Tell us all about it on Twitter @Cayan!
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