Loyalty programs are common practice in retail. All shoppers, including students, are familiar with the basics of how loyalty programs operate. This knowledge also means that shoppers might have become pickier about the loyalty programs they are willing to sign up for. It is no longer enough to just offer a loyalty program. You have to ensure customers can see the benefit of being a loyal shopper in your college store.
While many stores have loyalty programs, they are still important for drawing customers to your store. Think about how loyalty programs influence your decisions. If you have a choice between two restaurants for lunch and one you are a loyalty program member with a free sandwich waiting for you while the other offers no reward, which one will you choose to go to? Creating this inclination to choose your store because the customer knows they will get something in return is the point of a loyalty program.
Here are a couple tips to help your store grow its loyalty program by adding convenience, ease and a clear value that resonates with customers.
- Make sure it is simple to sign up for your loyalty program
Because it is so common for stores to ask customers at checkout if they want to sign up for loyalty, many shoppers might reflexively say no. They don’t want to delay check out or spend more time than they have to. However, what information does your store truly need for a customer to sign up for a loyalty program? Make the process as simple as possible. Maybe you only need to scan a student ID and/or enter an email address to sign a student up. Rather than asking if a student wants to sign up for a loyalty program with no information about what is required, maybe ask if they would like to enter their email address or phone number to sign up for the loyalty program.
- Give customers a reason to sign up
Another way to grow a loyalty program is to offer customers something right at the start. Sign up for our loyalty program and get a 20% off coupon. Select something that will be tempting and a good enough reward to take the extra time to sign up.
Now that you have gotten more customers to sign up for your loyalty program, how will you keep your loyalty members happy and invested in the program? Here are a few tips to help.
- Be clear about the benefits of your program
If customers don’t know what they get or how to use their rewards, it won’t have the desired effect. Make sure the rewards are clear, simple and easy to track. Think about the loyalty rewards in your life that you like best. They are tangible, you probably track them, and they are very easy to use.
- Give members special loyalty offers
Drive more traffic and sales with your loyalty program members while also reminding customers about the perks of membership by offering exclusive sales, deals and/or coupons. While shopping in a store for gifts on Black Friday, I noticed a sign on each special sale rack that had the sale price and the slightly lower price for their loyalty club members. As I saw more and more of these signs throughout the store, I started doing the math. How much could I save on my purchase if I signed up. It turned out to be quite a lot. So, I went to their special customer service set up and signed up before I checked out so I could get those perks.
- Promote the program
Customers don’t have to be in your store to learn about the loyalty program. If you can, send several emails throughout the year to students explaining why they should sign up along with a signup link. Post about it on your social media channels. Add a sign about the loyalty perks to any remote setups that you do.
What has been an effective way your store has promoted its loyalty program? Let us know in the comments.