• Maria Caines

How do you reward your customers for supporting your business?

Your customers are some of your best advocates because you WOW them with service and an outstanding product line. Here's a miriad of reasons why you should be rewarding your customers for supporting your business.

Maybe you already reward customers or are considering a new program. Do you reward them for frequency of purchases, value of purchases, additional discounts for adding an item (bogo), or like many B2B businesses, for annual volume? Do you have a collector card or app? Do you have an in-house loyalty program? Are you part of a coalition program like Airmiles or Aeroplan? Let's weigh the variations.

By rewarding customers for frequency, you may see them more often. By rewarding for value, customers may add more items to their baskets. By rewarding with additional discounts like bogo, they may purchase more than they had planned. With B2B clients, customers may choose to move more purchasing to your business to increase their future profits margins. All of these features are designed to increase sales, reduce traditional media costs and improve the bottom line.

Traditionally, collector cards were stamped with each purchase with a reward after the desired number of stamps. In the digital age, apps have been designed to replace the bulky cards but the end result is the same: buy 10, get one free for example. According to Alex Hill of SessionM in an article from Loyalty360 in April/18, "In order to drive a recent guest back into the store, it’s crucial to get them rewarded for their transaction right away." That means collector apps and cards are fast becoming obsolete.

Lastly, the decision to launch an in-house program or to join a coalition program should be considered. An in-house platform will offer rewards to existing customers only so you will continue to experience traditional media costs to acquire new customers unless your program is so fantastic that it increases the referrals from existing customers. A coalition program will allow you to reduce the cost of customer acquisition by marketing to all of the cardholders they have. The best program will combine these so that you can have your branding on rewards cards, control your messaging and offers, benchmark metrics, along with marketing beyond your customer base to all of the cardholders and/or merchants within the platform.

Bond Brand Loyalty reported in 2018 that memberships in top rewards programs have increase 68% in the last 5 years and that we are enrolled in 12.3 programs per person. Loyalty programs work to drive revenue growth through increased touch points with customers, with results often exceeding social media.

Social media is often toted as the only way to market a business yet personal experience indicates that I rarely, if ever, get notifications about posts by the businesses that I like and follow. The keepers of those gates are making it nearly impossible to market without spending money and then there is no guarantee of results. Lots of local businesses chose billboards for their holiday marketing; wonder if they know how many new customers resulted from those ads? For a fraction of the cost of traditional media, you can implement a loyalty/rewards platform that will help to generate consistent, sustainable revenue over many years, not merely the day or week of the ad spaces.

The best platform will offer you the tools to control your branding and messaging while connecting you to customers beyond your currrent database in an omni-channel approach to reach multiple demographics easily. My research has shown only one that ticks all the boxes.


Maria Caines is a shop local champion focused on building shopping communities for local businesses through a marketing platform where one card works everywhere! If you would like to learn more, please email maria@bay2main.com or call (902) 449-7624 to schedule a personal consultation.

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