Don’t Make These Mistakes With Your Loyalty Program During the Holidays
As the holiday season heats up competition among retailers, it’s tempting to entice shoppers with discounts and deals. However, with so many companies seeking the same ends, marketers must work to drive customer loyalty through engagement and experience.
Smart marketers use loyalty programs not just as discount hubs, but as long-term opportunities to communicate with shoppers and improve the customer experience. This is easier said than done, as there are many blunders that could reduce the effectiveness of any loyalty program.
As the holidays approach, take care not to make these mistakes when strategizing your loyalty program.
Emphasizing Freebies Over the Customer Experience
A punch card can make for a popular loyalty program, but free products alone don’t drive long-term brand loyalty. While shoppers appreciate freebies, your loyalty program should focus on the customer experience. Whether you reward loyalty with special offers, giveaways or other perks, your ultimate goal should be to make customers feel valued. According to a Vibes report, 77 percent of customers say that exclusive content, surprise rewards and birthday messaging have big impacts on brand loyalty.
Taking a holistic approach will strengthen the emotional connection customers develop with your brand, which will draw them back to stores more effectively than a coupon.
Neglecting Loyal Customers During Holiday Sales
Holidays are the perfect time to treat loyal customers with more than the typical seasonal perks available to everyone. As a rule, holiday loyalty rewards should be more enticing than those offered throughout the year. Give loyal customers access to the best Black Friday discounts early, or offer expedited shipping exclusively for them. This keeps returning customers happy and encourages new shoppers to sign up for your program.
Simply put, customers who don’t see the additional benefits to loyalty programs are less likely to continue shopping with your company long term.
Skip the Measurements
A loyalty program isn’t a quick fix for low sales volume. It’s a long-term investment in better relationships with your customers, and it requires constant improvements. However, you can’t improve it without evaluating and measuring the effectiveness of your loyalty program.
To do so, you need to develop clear goals for your program and identify shopper needs and behaviors. Accurate, comprehensive data analysis allows you to scrap features customers don’t respond to and enhance features that drive real results.
It’s crucial to analyze how customers interact with your loyalty program during the high-volume holiday season, enabling you to make improvements for the next year.
Isolate Departmental Efforts
In the fast-paced holiday season, effective communication across all departments touching your loyalty program is essential. Silos waste time and money, and prevent insights from becoming solutions. Create open communication channels across departments so that feedback can come easily from all angles.
Educate all employees on the value of your loyalty program. Employees in any department, from the store floor to the C-suite, should be advocates for your loyalty program.
A quality, rewarding loyalty program is quickly becoming a necessity to keep customers coming back. Because acquiring a new customer can be five times as expensive as keeping an existing one, motivating repeat purchases is especially important for retailers. However, a good rewards program will also attract new customers who are eager for improved brand relationships.
If you want to stay competitive during the holidays, you need to tailor your loyalty program directly to your customers’ needs. This means offering more than just discounts and deals, and ensuring that your behind-the-scenes teams work collaboratively to track crucial metrics and keep up with customer needs over time.
Pamela Sullins is the vice president of retail client services at Kobie Marketing, a provider of customer reward programs and loyalty marketing solutions.
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