I recently came across an article on Forbes.com titled “Will 2013 Be the Year of Loyalty Programs?” The article states that the high penetration rates of smartphones and the big part they play in our day to day life have also had a major effect on the potential of loyalty programs to become a powerful marketing and engagement tool.
It seems that the answer to the question Forbes.com present is YES! Let’s see how it’s done, exactly.
There are three things you need to do in order to launch a successful loyalty program. First, you need to clearly define the objective of the program. Obviously, loyalty programs are meant to increase loyalty to your business or brand, but they can do more than that. Loyalty programs can also be used to gain new customers, increase your business’s mind share and wallet share, serve as a powerful promotional and communication tool, etc. Second, you must remember that loyalty programs’ ultimate goal is to increase your bottom line; that’s why it’s important that you target consumers who will help you achieve that goal. Identify who are your most valuable consumers, analyze their common pull factors to your business, and attempt to answer those with the loyalty program you design. Third, plan your loyalty plan based on the knowledge you accumulated in the last two steps. Decide whether the program will be inclusive or exclusive, define the structure of the offers it will include, and create a yearly promotional plan.
After the loyalty program is set up, launching it is the next step. Here are two mobile applications that can make this step that much easier: The first is Belly, a point-accumulation loyalty program app. With Belly consumers gain points as they purchase and can use them to get rewards, discounts, or free products—whatever you decide. Belly is fully integrated into different social networks and Apple’s Passbook, and it also allows you to run email campaigns to target your most loyal customers. The second app is Perka. Perka is unique because of its “personal touch” features. Perka ranks consumers based on their loyalty (frequency of visits) and recognizes each customer by name. Therefore, you can offer your most loyal customers superior personalized service special exclusive perks.
Loyalty programs are becoming increasingly important as consumers look to form close bonds with the companies they choose to buy from. Offering a loyalty program shows them that you are also looking to connect.