Loyal~n~Save is committed to helping retailers retain customers and increase revenue. One of the most reliable ways to steadily grow customer retention is with a customer loyalty rewards program. Loyalty programs, when implemented and managed correctly, have the power to increase profits by as much as 25% to 95%.
Nine times out of ten, or even ninety-nine times out of one hundred, retailers should focus on offering incentives to their loyalty members in order to spark program engagement and boost sales. After all, rewards programs work because they're designed to be mutually beneficial and reward both sides of the business equation—the customer as well as the retailer.
But every so often, it's appropriate to step outside of offering incentives, and instead actually go "above and beyond" for your loyalty members. Offer them an unconditional gift. In other words, say "thank you."
We're talking about customer appreciation in its purest form. Thanking your loyalty members for engaging with your program, for shopping with you, and for being all around awesome is the fastest, easiest, and most affordable form of customer appreciation there is.
When Should You Send Thank You Messages to Loyalty Members?
There are several instances when you can send thank you messages to loyalty members. However, before you proceed, you must first understand the difference between an incentive and a thank you. Setting up a system to thank your loyalty members is not the same as using incentives to encourage your loyalty members to take specific actions.
Put very simply, thank you messages should come as total surprises to your loyalty members. There should be no advertising, such as "join this loyalty program and receive a 'thank you' item." That totally defeats the surprise-and-delight aspect of sending a thank you message in the first place.
Instead, the thank you message and its correlating gift, offer, or discount should be issued after a loyalty member has taken a specific action.
The following are some examples of actions that you can thank your loyalty members for completing:
- Reaching a Higher Loyalty Program Tier—Thank your customers after they have invested in your brand so much that they reach a higher rewards tier within your customer loyalty rewards program
- Subscription Enrollment—Thank your customers for purchasing a subscription you sell
- Subscription Upgrades—Building upon the last idea, when a customer upgrades to a more expensive subscription package, thank them
- Anniversaries—Thank your customers for simply sticking with your business for one month, one year, five years, or any benchmark anniversary they reach shopping with you
- Social Media Actions—Track your branded hashtags as well as your social media handles, and every time someone posts positive content about your store, publicly thank them for it in a replying comment
Granted, we aren't suggesting that you send out thank you messages for all of these actions. Pick one or two and see how your loyalty members like and respond to the thank you messages you send
The purpose of thanking your customers is to show that you appreciate their loyalty. Saying thank you should be done with no strings attached. It shouldn't come with an implied CTA because again, it's not an incentive.
Now that we've clarified all that, let's take a look at 4 creative ways to say thanks for customer purchases.
PROVIDE FREE GIFTS OR SAMPLES
One creative way to say thanks for customer purchases is by providing the customer with a free gift or free sample. In addition to the fun, surprise factor of giving a free gift or sample, these kinds of freebies allow retailers to expose their customers to relevant products of interest that their customers haven't tried yet. When loyalty members receive a free item from you, they'll feel appreciated which can quickly turn into appreciation for your brand. Meaning, they might feel inclined to actually buy the sample product next time.
The beauty of sending freebies as a thank you, however, is that there really aren't any strings attached. You won't have to suggest that they buy the product. In fact, you shouldn't make any suggestions of that nature.
If sending out free gifts or samples doesn't sound especially creative, here is what you must do in order to make this thank you strategy impactful. Personalize the freebie as best you can. We recommend that you check out both the order history and the Wish List items of the customer you want to thank. Get a sense of the products they like, the products they've bought, and the products they want to buy in the future.
The thank you message that accompanies the freebie can say:
The entire team at [BRAND NAME] wanted to thank you for [TAKING AN ACTION]! We wish all of our customers were as loyal as you. So, to say thanks, here is a free sample of the Wish List [ITEM NAME] we noticed you've been eyeing! We hope you love it, and again, thanks for your priceless loyalty to our brand!
OFFER POST-PURCHASE DISCOUNTS
How is it possible to offer your loyal customers a post-purchase discount as a thank you without attaching "strings," otherwise known as CTAs? That's a good question. Ordinarily, post-purchase discounts come with built-in CTAs. The very implication that the customer has to apply the discount to a future purchase causes a string to be attached to the offer, which isn't ideal. However, you can offer post-purchase discounts as thank you's that don't come across as phony "give to get" tricks by simply highlighting that there is no expiration on the discount.
This particular idea for thanking customers is especially powerful during and after a big holiday season. If a portion of your loyalty members really increased their spending at your store throughout the winter holidays, for example, try thanking them for it right after the New Year with post-purchase discounts.
Or, let's say your current loyalty member upgraded their monthly subscription package from your business. As a thank you, you could offer them a discount code that makes an add-on product or associated item half off, or even completely free, for a period of time. This discount idea works especially well for businesses that also offer SaaS, or Software as a Service.
The thank you message that accompanies the post-purchase discount offer can say:
Wow! We really saw a lot of you, [CUSTOMER NAME], this holiday season! To show our appreciation, we want to say, "thank you for choosing us" by offering you this discount code for X% off any order. This offer will never expire!
CELEBRATE CUSTOMER MILESTONES
In the midst of a retailer's day-to-day hustle, it can be easy to accidentally overlook your most loyal customers' milestones. But noticing customer milestones shouldn't be an afterthought that occurs when you're reviewing your loyalty program profit reports every quarter. It's important to recognize and acknowledge when a customer has reached a new milestone with your brand. Milestones can include earning enough loyalty points to start redeeming rewards, ascending to a higher loyalty tier, and even consistently playing a new loyalty program game that you launched regardless of whether they've been winning or losing.
The last thing you want to do is cause your loyalty members to feel like their participation in your rewards program hasn't been noticed or appreciated. Remember, there's a difference between "noticing" and "rewarding." Yes, the program itself is designed to reward your customers. But when the store owner personally acknowledges a customer, thanking them for engaging in the rewards program, it can help the customer to truly feel appreciated.
A super creative way to say thank you to a customer for reaching a milestone with your brand is to surprise them with personalized swag. Your swag shop items already have your brand name and logo on them, but you can enhance the swag gift by also using the customer's name. Do you carry tote bags in your swag shop? Print the customer's name above your logo!
The thank you message that celebrates the customer's milestone on the swag item can be short and sweet, saying:
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]!
THANK CUSTOMERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It's fun. It's free. And it comes packed with added brand-building benefits. We're talking about thanking your customers for their loyalty on social media. As with the other creative ideas in this article, you don't have to spend a ton of time thanking special loyalty members on social media. First, figure out what specifically you want to thank your customers for. Are you going to thank them for completing a certain action on social media? Are you going to thank them because they successfully referred your loyalty program to a friend? Or are you going to surprise-and-delight them by thanking them for just being awesome?
Once you decide when you're going to thank customers using social media, the next step is to figure out how. Of course, you'll need the loyal customer's social media handle in order to properly "tag" him or her. Be sure to use the "check in" feature to tag your retail location, and it's a good idea to include a branded hashtag and other relevant hashtags. Next comes the most important decision you'll make in this entire process, what photo or image will you use for the post?
You want to use as much personalization as possible. For example, if you're thanking a loyal customer for having recently written an online review for you, take a screenshot of the review and use it as the post's image.
Then, add even more personalization to the thank you caption you include in your post on Facebook, Instagram, or whichever social media site you're using. The caption can say:
Thanks for the five-star review, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We think you're a five-star customer, which is why we want to shout from the social media rooftops how awesome you are! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the review!
That wraps up our article. We hope you've gotten some creative ideas to use as you personally thank your loyal customers for sticking with your brand. If you'd like to learn more about thanking your loyalty members, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions:
Thanking Your Loyalty Members FAQs
1. How does sending thank you messages to my customers benefit my loyalty program?
While sending out "thank you messages" that either do or do not come with free gifts might seem like it will only benefit your loyalty members, your business will actually reap a far bigger benefit than anyone. A "thank you" card, email, or social media post is an effective marketing strategy that has been proven to build long-term customer relationships, as well as improve customer acquisition. In this digital age, showing customer appreciation in the form of thank you messages are not only appreciated by customers, but customers tend to share online and on social media the fact that they've received personalized thank you messages from the retailers they like. As far as social credit goes, this can be invaluable for brands looking to build brand awareness, attract new customers, and give their current customers something to brag about.
2. Which contact methods do customers prefer when it comes to receiving thank you messages?
There are several different contact methods you could use—handwritten thank you cards, personalized thank you emails, thank you shoutouts on social media, and even SMS text messages and in-app push notifications. The method you choose will really depend on your loyalty members' preferences. Ask yourself, how do you currently communicate with your loyalty members? Is it mostly via email? Then sending thank you emails might be best. Do you usually email them, but also have their mailing addresses? Interestingly, switching things up and mailing out thank you cards could surprise-and-delight your customers beyond measure! One of the greatest benefits of using personalized, handwritten, thank you cards is that the recipients often take photos of the thoughtful and unexpected cards they receive and post those photos on social media, which can turn into excellent word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. The main takeaway is that you'll want to either go with your loyalty members' preferred method of contact or intentionally surprise them by using a contact method they aren't used to.
3. I'm very busy, can I automate the thank you messages I send out?
The straightforward answer is, yes, it's possible to automate your thank you messages, especially if you're planning to send those thank you messages to your loyalty members as emails. That being said, we would caution you to be very careful with using email automation in this specific area. Think about it, the entire purpose of sending out a thank you message to a loyalty member is to show your genuine appreciation in a personalized way. Thank you messages should not be a dime a dozen. Plus, if you overly thank your customers for everything they do, you will water down the potency of surprising them in the first place. The point is that sending out a batch of highly personalized thank you messages here and there shouldn't be incredibly time consuming. Now, using a system of automation to stay personally organized about when to send thank you messages to which customers is a totally different story. In this instance, yes, you can set up triggers in your loyalty program dashboard to alert you to the fact that a customer milestone is approaching, for example, or the fact that a long-term subscriber just upgraded to a bigger subscription package. Once you receive the alert, set aside some time to personally thank each customer. Trust us, this is one area where responding manually will ensure that your customer appreciation is authentic.
4. What are the least expensive ways to say thank you to my loyalty members?
Any digital format will be far less expensive than physical ones. An email costs virtually nothing to send, whereas a mailed thank you card will have associated expenses such as the cost of the card itself and the postage. Of course, if your thank you message strategy comes with a discount or freebie, those variables will increase the overall cost. If you're on a very tight budget and simply can't afford to send out thank you messages that will accrue costs, then you can't go wrong with sending thank you emails, thank you SMS text messages, or thank you in-app push notifications. But the return on investment won't be as great as if you're able to spend a little money. That being said, the least expensive way to show customer appreciation that will yield the highest ROI is to publicly thank your loyalty members on social media. This method won't cost you a dime, and it will definitely surprise-and-delight your customers.
5. Would it be overkill to send thank you messages to everyone who signs up for my loyalty program?
Honestly, yes. Sending your newly enrolled loyalty members personalized thank you's that come with no strings attached isn't the best use of thank you messages. When it comes to thanking new loyalty members, using rewarding incentives in a traditional manner is actually the right way to go. Meaning, you should prominently advertise the sign-up benefit your customers will receive once they enroll in your rewards program, and then thank them straightforwardly for completing the sign up process. Once a new loyalty member has reached a milestone or proven their longstanding loyalty to your brand in some other way, thank them with a surprise-and-delight thank you message that will leave a lasting, positive impression.
Are you convinced that using a customer loyalty rewards program is an integral part of thanking customers for shopping with your brand, but you don't have a loyalty program in place at your store? Sign up for Loyal~n~Save, a premium loyalty rewards program. Loyal~n~Save has several beneficial features that your business can utilize to increase customer retention and financial ROI. And trust us, once you start seeing a boost in sales, you'll be eager to thank your loyalty members using the ideas in this article! Contact us to speak with a loyalty expert who specializes in your industry about how our rewards platform can help you retain customers and grow your brand.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.