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Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



April 2016: Customer Loyalty Month

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 4/1/16 11:01 AM
Topics: MBS Systems On The Go, customer loyalty, MBS Monthly Marketing Plans

In the college bookstore, loyalty doesn’t have to be an intangible concept that you can’t quite quantify. For a store like yours, there are few, if any, things more valuable than repeat customers who show a consistent desire to come back to you first, ahead of your competitors. Whatever their reason is – be it your wider selection, friendly service staff, etc. – your store is in a position to reward your customers for their continued loyalty, and you can dole out those rewards in a number of ways.

Make it all about your customers this month and show them how much you value their continual interest in your store with our latest marketing plan: Customer Loyalty Month!

Implement loyalty points to reward customers with every purchase

Download: Loyalty program marketing kit
Download: Loyalty program marketing kit
Download Kit

If there’s one thing that will keep your customers coming back for more, it’s loyalty points. The way this works is simple: Every time a customer makes a purchase in your store, they earn a certain number of points based on how much they spend. For example, you could set it up so that for every dollar spent, the customer earns one point. Then, once they reach certain thresholds that you’ve set ahead of time, the customer can redeem their points for specific items that you’ve selected. So in essence, the more they buy, the more points they’ll accumulate, and the better items they’ll be able to get with their reward points.

What that means is that both your customers and your store are in a position to benefit from a loyalty points system. Customers occasionally get “free” items, and you get more purchases as they work their way up to their desired point threshold.

In addition to everyday sales, loyalty points can make a huge difference at buyback. With the end of the term fast approaching, now is the time to get the word out about your loyalty program, and how selling books back at your store is the best choice for your customers. Just like regular transactions, you determine exactly how to hand out your points, but instead of buying something from you, customers are selling their books. So not only are they getting cash for selling their books back, but they’re ostensibly getting loyalty points on top of that which they can redeem at your store later on. This means you’ll get more books back from your students, and they’ll get loyalty points without spending any money. It’s a win for everybody involved.

An easy way to get this set up is with the MBS Systems Loyalty Module, which will not only make loyalty points a part of your everyday business, but will make everything automated in doing so. With our loyalty module, your customers will earns points whether they buy in-store or on your store’s website, or if they sell their books back to you at the end of the term. Once implemented, customers can enroll in your program by registering an account that will automatically track all of their purchases and assign them loyalty points accordingly. Check with your MBS Systems Client Representative if this sounds appealing and you’d like to learn more!

Read our guest post from a loyalty expert!

Reward mobile loyalty with your On The Go app

Download: On The Go app marketing kit
 Download: On The Go app marketing kit
Download Kit

This theme gives you the opportunity to reward your On The Go customers for their loyalty, and to bring more awareness of the app to store customers who may not be as familiar with it. We’d suggest entering all active users into a special contest where they could win anything from prizes to additional loyalty points.

The setup is simple. First, make sure students have the app downloaded onto their phones so they can participate. Do this by putting up announcements in your store, sending out emails, or posting on social media. Then, when you’re getting close to buyback season, have students send screenshots of themselves using On The Go to check their buyback value. You can use email, Facebook, Twitter – whatever you’d like – to collect these submissions, but keep track of everyone that sends something in and put them all into a raffle to win your prize. Make sure to be active on social media while your contest is going on, and use our free marketing materials to spread the word. The more you put your message out there, the better your results are going to be.

Pro tip: Facebook status update vs. photo/video upload

When posting these images to your store’s Facebook page, use the “Photo/Video” tab instead of creating a general status update. You can still create a caption with all of your event information, but this guarantees your image won’t be cropped in your customer’s newsfeed!

Give customers another reason to come back with price matching

Download: Price matching promo marketing kit
Download: Price matching promo marketing kit
Download Kit

With the rise of online competition, the practice of price matching has become more common, and more important to the survival of some retail stores. The majority of you are familiar with what this is, but just in case, price matching is the practice of lowering your own price on a specific item in order to match the cheaper option found elsewhere by a customer. So if your store is offering a book for $10, and a customer brings in proof that the store across the street is offering that same book for $9, your store would then lower your price by $1 in order to keep the sale.

But price matching is about more than self-preservation and keeping sales away from competitors, though those parts are certainly important. It also goes a long way towards instilling loyalty in your customers. A store that’s willing to take a small hit to their margin in order to get the best price for their customer is that much more likely to inspire confidence in those customers that your store has their best interest at heart.

Price matching isn’t as tangible as something like loyalty points, but it’s a practice that will inspire customer loyalty all the same. It may not be a wise strategy to implement across the board – you don’t want to be consistently losing money – but stores that use it wisely can see big benefits, and actually make themselves money in the long run. Try it out for yourselves this month and see how it goes!

Download: all loyalty promo marketing materials
Download: all loyalty promo marketing materials
Download All Materials

About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

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