A customer loyalty system is a powerful marketing tool used more and more in today’s competitive retail world. Letting your customers know that you appreciate them is good business practice and almost reason enough to implement a loyalty program. The added bonus of gaining key personal details on your buyers for use in future strategic marketing plans, if implemented properly, make it a sure fire winner. “Customer loyalty is arguably the greatest asset in the business; loyal customers provide repeat business, and equally importantly, new customer referrals,” reports the Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University in their whitepaper, ‘Towards customer loyalty: Strategic differentiators for success.” In the retail industry, Myer operates one of Australia’s most well run loyalty programs with last year’s financial results revealing 70% of their total sales were made by customer loyalty program members. Myer uses the valuable data provided by over 5 million MYER one card members, to monitor and evaluate key aspects of their operations performance in areas including stores, products, brands and marketing.
“We continue to focus on customer engagement and retention by acknowledging and rewarding our most valuable members as well as targeting customers with relevant offers. We have a pipeline of further enhancements for our MYER one loyalty program as it is a key competitive advantage providing incredible insights through sophisticated data analysis”, says Myer CEO, Bernie Brookes.
Loyalty programs have obviously been profitable for many retailers but unless they are well planned and executed appropriately they won’t succeed. “The loyalty program has to be more than just discounting, it has to have some form of value-add like a VIP program. We have also found customers were not dissuaded from dealing with a retailer if there wasn’t a loyalty program; it was more of a motivator if there was one. Where loyalty programs tend to be most successful is where they are linked to other offers, so the customer gets broader value,” Founder & CEO of the Retail Doctor Group, Brian Walker advises in Smart Company.
Loyalty Systems & Point of Sale Software
Loyalty cards and systems offer an incentive to customers to return to the store and can provide valuable information to the retailer about customer buying habits. Once upon a time managing a loyalty system for retail would have been a nightmare, but with modern technology and the latest in point of sale software, this is no longer the case. Scanning a customer’s loyalty card into a retail point of sale system gives the retailer the opportunity to collect information on the customer’s brand preferences, purchasing habits and demographic information as well as calculating accumulated spend. This information can then be used for a number of marketing purposes.
Using a cloud-based POS system, retailers have access to information from customer loyalty card transactions and can create advertising and marketing campaigns to be directly targeted to the audience considered the most receptive. To begin with, the retailer can provide their customers with their own personal loyalty card, which is associated to their POS System Account Number and branded with their company’s logo and information. Once the customer is in-store, they can scan the barcode with the their POS and begin collecting information as the customer returns each time. The information collected and recalled is endless and can include purchases between certain dates to basket size to birthday profiles within a certain geographical location. The uses for this data and reward opportunities are also endless including:
- Applying points as ‘tender’ to pay for goods.
- Automatically assign discounts for customers depending on their spending pattern.
- Manually apply discounts to groups of customers.
- Generate thousands of gift vouchers at a time.
- Applying bonus points as incentives to re-visit or re-purchase.
All helping to communicate more effectively with your customer by email, mail or phone. Gathering and collecting all this information, its management and secure storage is no longer the nightmare it used to be. Effective retail pos solutions exist that are designed to take the process further than just recording the sale, and taking the money at the check out. The data is all cloud-based and therefore accurate to the second. Point of sale, stock inventory management, webstore management and CRM are all rolled into one powerful system thereby allowing the retailer to focus on their passion rather than the system.
For more information on Australia's market-leading cloud based retail operating software, Retail Express, please drop us a line www.retailexpress.com.au/getstarted or call 1300 732 618 to learn more. Aaron Blackman is the CEO of Retail Express. Follow Aaron on Google+ and LinkedIn