No matter what size business you own, great products, excellent customer service and a good reputation are critical success factors for your business. However, without loyal customers and repeat business, these other qualities may easily get lost in the landscape of competition. Loyalty programs and gift cards can help cultivate customer loyalty while increasing visibility for new and potential customers. Here are five essential steps to begin building loyalty for your business.
Know the difference.
Gift cards are purchased by customers for future use, either for themselves or to be gifted to another. A gift card has a cash value which can be redeemed at a future use, up to the amount of the purchased card. Loyalty programs track accumulated rewards. Customers can earn rewards for their purchasing behavior, for instance, a reward card may entitle the holder to a free product or service a set amount of purchases.
Gift cards reflect an upfront transaction with the intention of providing a product or service at a later date. It is also a reflection of one customer’s appreciation for your business, being passed along to another potential customer. Loyalty programs encourage existing customers to return at a greater frequency to enjoy your product or service.
Determine your bottom line.
Building loyalty is great, but not at the detriment of your business finances. Look at your financials to decide how a gift card or loyalty program will impact your numbers. Selling gift cards as an upfront transaction is as good as having cash-in-hand. However, at some point, that gift card will be redeemed. Will your inventory still be sufficient? Will there be a cost increase or decrease from the time the card is sold until it is redeemed?
Providing rewards for visits or purchases may seem like an imaginary tally mark. However, once a goal has been reached, those tally marks will be redeemed for a good or service. If you choose a loyalty program, does the cost of the reward reflect the value of repeat business?
With today’s offerings, you are not limited to printed gift certificates or hole-punched loyalty cards. There are a lot of creative solutions to compliment your business' brand. Mag stripe cards are an excellent solution that can be both branded and a safe and secure way to transfer transaction data. Mag stripe cards are also compatible with an array of terminals commonly used in today's fast-paced storefronts.
Look for full-color branding solutions so that displays your brand and logo. Do you have a unique product or service? Consider a uniquely shaped loyalty/gift card to match. Every card you distribute is a unique advertising opportunity; a chance to build your brand.
Make a plan.
So, you’ve decided that you want to launch a gift card or loyalty program. You know how much the program will cost and how much you can afford to spend. How are you going to measure the success? Make sure you have a robust system to track all transactions and rewards points.
A good system will help you build reliable inventory of gift cards sold, activated and redeemed. Track data between when a card is purchased and when it is finally used. Reconcile costs and project future budgets based on the data you collect. Use the same type of system to track rewards to determine if customer behavior is being driven in a direction that benefits your business and builds a strong relationship with that customer.
Contact our team.
Bank Independent’s Treasury Solutions team can help you assess your business and tailor a solution specific to your business needs. Gift Card and Loyalty Programs can help you attract customers and build loyal, repeat business through:
- A tailored program to suit the needs and goals of your business,
- Cards that are compatible with all of our terminals,
- Optional full-color card branding, and
- Online reporting to monitor success.
Why Bank Independent?
- A dedicated Treasury Solutions team available for complimentary on-site consultations and follow-up
- Flat-rate pricing
- Self-service online reporting
- 24/7 customer service by phone
- Electronic or paper statements