Like many stores, the Randolph-Macon Campus Store had a loyalty program. Students earned points on applicable purchases, which they could use to go online within a year of earning the points to create an order for gift cards, in $5 increments. The store would then create the gift certificate in-store on its POS, which they'd either mail to students or send the students an email letting them to know they could pick it up themselves. Those gift cards also had a one-year shelf life before expiring.
Sound complicated? R-MC Store agrees. That's why they revamped the Yellow Jacket Loyalty Rewards program and simplified it immensely. Students' loyalty points now never expire, and the customer can either redeem their points right at the register from the time of purchase or use them to buy a gift certificate online.
Taking advantage of inSite
"When Operations and Textbook Manager Rebecca Bowles and I went to MBS for training last fall, I attended a session on MBS Systems inSite," said Terri Church Briest, bookstore inventory control specialist. "There, someone from Towson University Store told me that their loyalty points never expire, because students and new alumni don't have as much money to spend and their points often expire just when they're entering the workforce. That really hit home for me: I've seen the students scramble at the end of the semesters to redeem their points for gift certificates and heard the complaints about only having one year to use them."
Now when students earn loyalty points, a message appears on the POS screen telling them their point values and asking if the customer would like to spend their points now or save them to redeem later. Briest said that most of her customers really like the new program and continue to participate.
"The whole process has been streamlined and made it easier to use for customers and for store employees," she said. "Having the pop-up message at the POS helps keep the customer thinking about the points, how they should be spent and if they should be saved to use for a big purchase. All reasons to come back to the campus store and shop!"
Debuting the new and improved loyalty program
After taking advantage of some inSite enhancements, R-MC Store unveiled its updated program during Buyback Week. Briest said the timing couldn't have been better.
"Students brought their cash from books right into the store," Briest said. "When the pop-up messages started appearing, most students applied them to the purchase then went and shopped more because they had cash left over. Our student cashiers really enjoyed the reactions customers had when they'd say 'you have X number of dollars available in Loyalty Reward Points. Would you like to use them now?' It was great!"
Briest said staff have promoted the changes through social media and word of mouth. While it's proven popular with current students, the new and improved rewards program has already helped the R-MC Store woo future generations of Yellow Jackets and build long-time customers from the moment they step foot on campus.
"It was also very well received at the New Student (Freshman) Orientations," Briest noted. "We had some families register before their students even graduated from high school, so they'll take advantage of the points not expiring this year."