Retailers cite increasing customer retention as their greatest business goal. But succeeding at converting one-time shoppers into loyal customers for life is also the average retailers biggest hurdle to overcome.
61% of retailers cite customer retention as their biggest obstacle.
Once a retailer has overcome that hurdle, however, and converted as little as 5% of their one-time shoppers into loyal customers, their business will see an average per-customer profit increase of 25% - 100%. That's an incredible ROI, so the most important question you have to ask yourself, as a retailer, is--what is the best method to secure loyalty and maximize CLV?
5% increase in customer loyalty could increase the average profit per customer by 25% - 100%.
You could take out social media ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You could buy spots on local radio stations. You could even flood your store with wider and wider arrays of products and services, hoping that the more you offer, the more customers you'll attract and keep. But doing all of those things combined will not result in a higher consumer-to-loyal-customer conversion rate than launching a customer loyalty rewards program.
64% of retailers say their loyalty rewards program is the best way to connect with consumers.
Customer loyalty rewards programs encourage shoppers to return to stores and make frequent purchases by offering sales, deals, discounts, and free merchandise incentives. In addition to providing loyalty members with opportunities to save their hard-earned money, these rewards programs ultimately provide the retailer with powerful digital marketing tools. How? When customers sign up for the program and begin shopping, the program itself collects valuable information about your loyalty members, their favored products and services, and also the sales promotional campaigns that are the most successful. The retailer can then leverage this customer information to create customized campaigns that will have a higher success rate because they target segmented groups who are most likely to act on the deal being presented.
On average, loyalty members are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase.
The real question is, how can retailers get their customers, especially those first-time shoppers, to sign up for their customer loyalty rewards program? The loyalty strategists at Loyal~n~Save have put together a list of the most effective ways to convert shoppers into loyalty members. Without further adieu and in no particular order, here are the tricks!
CREATIVELY REWARD CUSTOMERS FOR SIGNING UP
As a retailer, you already know why you want every shopper who reaches one of the checkout registers to sign up for your store's customer loyalty rewards program. You're determined to collect valuable consumer information and increase customer retention, which will automatically lead to an increase in business revenue. But have you presented your shoppers with equally advantageous benefits for signing up? In other words, do they know what's in it for them? Making sure they do is a critical first step in terms of getting the word out about why your loyalty program will be mutually beneficial in the short and long runs. Let your shoppers know exactly why signing up for the program today will benefit them immediately. Put simply, offer shoppers a reward for signing up.
58% of loyalty program members utilize the program promotional deals at least once a month.
The most important element of offering a sign-up reward is to make sure the reward itself isn't confusing, boring, or time-consuming to receive. What does this mean? First, shoppers aren't going to be familiar with the real-dollar-value of your program's "loyalty points", so offering "50 points" as a sign-up bonus isn't going to mean much to them. It's confusing. Boring sign-up incentives include blanket-percentage-discounts--like 10% off their current order upon sign-up--additional "punches" on their brand-new program card, and a "free" item that, to the naked eye, is transparently cheap. Worse, don't make your shoppers go through a lengthy sign-up process just to enroll and collect the reward. When retailers present shoppers with a long application they must fill out or ask too many personal questions according to the POS prompts, shoppers can easily get frustrated and abandon the process altogether.
Instead, present your shoppers with a creative sign-up reward and make sure the enrollment process is fast. Creative rewards include experiential rewards, like a free salon beauty consultation (salon industry), a free beverage voucher (from a local retailer you've partnered with), or any experience you can offer that's relevant to your store or the greater retail industry your business belongs to. If you're a restauranteur, for example, a creative sign-up reward could be offering free take-out delivery for a certain duration of time such as a week or a month. If you own a car wash, then offering a free "add-on" could entice a customer to become a loyalty member. You get the idea. The more personal to your brand, business, and industry you can make the sign-up reward, the better.
JOINING MUST BE SIMPLE, EASY & DIGITAL
Yes, enrolling in your store's customer loyalty rewards program must be simple, easy, and fast for your shoppers. You should also make sure that all of your digital channels offer sign-up options, but this isn't to say that enrolling into your program should only be via digital means. This is important. Nine times out of 10, the new enrollee signs up in-store at the checkout register with the help of a sales clerk. Human assistance is critical and no matter how efficient technology becomes, it will never fully replace the need to have a real, live, customer service helper available.
That being said, let's take a look at all of the enrollment avenues you should include:
- In-store sign-up at the register via sales personnel use of your POS
- In-app sign-up via the customer's mobile device
- Website sign-up pop-up and sign-up option at e-commerce checkout
- Email newsletter outreach to customers who have provided their email but never signed up
Next comes the mother of all catch-22s--how do you collect as much customer information as possible upon sign-up while maintaining a fast, efficient process? The answer is simple. You don't. Enrollment should require the barest bones of information, i.e. a first name and email address, tops, maybe a cell phone number. With today's technology integrated into your customer loyalty rewards program, you can trust that as the newly enrolled loyalty member shops with you, valuable data will be compiled as they go. It will take time to understand from an A.I. standpoint who each of your loyalty members are and to market to them accordingly. Let the program do what it's made to do and be patient. On the back-end, you can keep an eye on customer shopping histories and best-selling trends, and leverage that information accordingly.
49% of consumers agree they spend more after having joined a loyalty program.
If you want to hasten the data-collection process, then your loyalty program must come in mobile app form. These days, consumers do just about everything in their cell phones from reading the daily news, to transferring money from one bank account to another, to keeping a group text conversation going. There are apps for dimming the living room lights and apps for starting and warming your car on a frigid winter morning. Your loyalty program needs to come with an app, period. The best part about a loyalty app is that the user can fill in more personal information on their own time after signing up. Because the app is within their cell phone, it can pull a full history of the user's online activity, which will provide you with mountains of data with which to leverage.
PERSONALIZE YOUR PROGRAM WITH PERSONALITY
Since our inception, Loyal~n~Save has advocated the importance of integrating the retailer's mission, purpose, and story into their brand to reinforce their unique business identity. When a retailer makes their company mission statement clear to the broader consumer pool, their brand becomes personal and relatable, and the result is a higher conversion rate of browsers to buyers. You can go a step further than infusing your unique business personality into your brand by infusing your brand personality into your customer loyalty rewards program. We feel so strongly about this powerful marketing strategy, in fact, that we've written an entire article about it, How Your Loyalty Program Can Powerfully Brand Your Store. Be sure to check it out when you have a chance!
50% of consumers changed their behavior to reach a higher tier within a loyalty program.
Addressing the broad strokes of how you, as a retailer, can personalize your program with personality, a great starting point is to cleverly name your program and also create a special identity for your loyalty members. Does your loyalty program use a tiered rewards system? Name those tiers, as well, so that the entire program has a personable, uniform character that fits your business's brand and image. Lastly, the actual "currency" of your points system can have a thematically-appropriate name, too! For example, if you own a beauty salon, your loyalty program might include:
- Royalty Rewards (program name)
- Ladies of Loyalty (special loyalty member identity)
- Countess, Dutchess, Princess, and Queen (rewards tiers)
- Crown Jewel Currency such as Opal, Ruby, Sapphire, and Diamond (rewards currency)
By creating a whole new world for your loyalty program members to participate in, you'll amplify the fun and engagement for everyone involved, which will boost sales and heighten customer satisfaction in the long run. Best of all, your customers will want to "join the club" when it's presented as a fun package that's full of savings opportunities.
PROMOTE THE PERKS & PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
Another highly effective tactic to get your customers to sign up for your loyalty rewards program is to focus on marketing the program's perks in order to attract interested shoppers. What we mean, first and foremost, is try not to overwhelm prospective members with too much information about the rewards program. We have no doubt that your loyalty program is packed to the gills with opportunities to save, fun seasonal deals, ways to collect bonus points, and a whole host of other benefits, but if you bombard your shoppers with reason after reason to join, all you'll end up doing is pushing them away. Less is more when it comes to giving your shoppers a reason to sign up. So instead, highlight your strongest program perk and couple that with the sign up incentive you created. For example, if the most popular feature of your rewards program, as implemented at a small grocery store, is free delivery for life just for being a member, then make sure your program promotional materials boast that benefit loud and clear, along with the sign-up incentive. As the expression goes, keep it simple, silly. And then keep it going… In other words, promote, promote, promote!
The average loyalty member spends 67% more in their 31st to 36th months of shopping loyalty program deals than they did in months 0 through 6.
While this article's main objective is to help you elicit effective methods to convert shoppers into loyalty members, it's important for you to understand that developing trust and fostering relationships with your customers via your rewards program takes time. Signing customers up really is just the beginning. As the above fact points out, an important factor of increasing customer spending and CLV is time itself. Your newly enrolled loyalty members aren't going to spend the most during the first few months, but keep marketing to them and keep them engaged in the program. A year or two down the road, the ROI will begin to grow exponentially!
TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES TO PITCH THE PROGRAM
At the beginning of this article, we stressed the importance of signing shoppers up for your rewards program upon checkout at the cash registers. While providing digital avenues that customers can use to sign up for the program are critical, most customers will still enroll at the counter with the help of your sales staff. Your store employees and managers must be well-trained and equipped with "scripts" they can use to tell shoppers about the program and invite them to sign up.
69% of consumers say choice of retailer is influenced by where they can earn customer loyalty rewards program points.
If you've gotten this far with our recommendations, then you already have all of the information you need in order to properly train your staff to pitch the program to your in-store customers. Inform your employees about the nuts-and-bolts of the rewards program, such as the creative name and sign-up bonus. Train them on the fast, straightforward steps of signing up customers at the POS. And also train them on assisting customers to download your loyalty app into their mobile phone, if they prefer to sign up there. Depending on your POS solutions provider, you can engage "pop-up" "scripts" to display on the employee-facing POS screen. These pre-canned "scripts", written by you, can guide your staff through the exact phrases to say, which will greatly increase the success rate of enrollment. For more on how to train your staff and get them promoting your rewards program as hard as you do, we recommend that you take a moment to read, Incentives to Motivate Your Employees.
76% of consumers think that loyalty programs are a part of their relationship with brands.
If you would like to learn about Loyal~n~Save's loyalty rewards program, then Contact Us anytime and our strategists can work with you every step of the way, from partnering with us, setting up your rewards program, tailoring the rewards app we provide, and enrolling your shoppers.
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.