Encourage Repeat Visits With a Customer Loyalty Program

Consider this: It’s 7X times more expensive to get a new customer than to retain a current one.

And this: Your current customers spend more money with your business than new customers.

Keeping both those facts in mind, the winning formula for a business would be repeat sales from loyal customers. One of the best ways to do that: creating a loyalty program. A customer loyalty program gives customers an incentive to shop with you repeatedly and spend more money with you.

Loyalty programs are one of the most effective ways to increase revenue and inspire customers to remain loyal to your brand.

  • 84% of consumers say they’re more likely to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program.
  • 66% of customers say they change their spending behavior based on their ability to earn rewards.

Your business benefits by offering a loyalty program. You can steer customers toward purchasing certain items or spending a specific dollar amount either in a single transaction or over a period of time. A loyalty program implemented and tracked correctly gives you additional insights into customer spending habits. You can use this information to enhance your business offerings based on what you know customers like.

Creating a successful loyalty program requires more than just ordering up a bunch of punch cards and handing them out to every customers who shops with you. Even if you ultimately decide punch cards are the best loyalty program for you, make sure you consider other options first.

Here are some essential steps to follow for a loyalty program that helps build and sustain your business.

Identify your goals.

Ultimately, your goal is to make more money for your business. But, to measure the success of your loyalty program, you’ll have to be a little more specific. For example, you may want to increase customer ticket size by a certain dollar amount or improve customer acquisition by a certain percentage.

Once you’ve chosen a goal, or several goals, make it measurable and give it a timeframe. This is how you’ll determine whether your program is successful and you’ll be able to make changes if necessary to reach the goals you’ve set.

Set a goal for your customers.

As you craft your loyalty program, consider what would create value for your customers. It may be a discount, a free product or service, an upgrade to a discount. It may be a personalized recommendation or something else that saves them time or money, or both.

Consider feedback you’ve received from customers and what you currently know about your customers’ current buying habits to craft a goal.

Decide what customers have to do to earn a reward.

Loyalty programs that offer points are great for businesses where customers shop frequently for short-term purchases. Customers earn points that they can redeem for a reward like a discount or free item. Make sure points are simple, easy to understand, easy to earn, and easy to redeem.

Avoid making customers wait too long before they can accumulate enough points for a redemption.

You can offer a tiered points system that allows customers to redeem a smaller number of points for a lower-tiered reward or they can save points for more valuable rewards. For example, your loyalty program may feature silver, bronze, and gold tiers where customers at each tier receive an increased level of benefits.

Consider jumpstarting your customers’ progress toward receiving their first reward by offering a signup bonus. Think about the most difficult part of accomplishing any goal – starting out. But, if someone took the first step for you, you could jump right in and finish. The same concept can apply to a loyalty program. Say, for example, your customer needs 1,000 points reach the reward threshold. Starting them out with 100 points can motivate them to earn the remaining 900 points.

Automate your loyalty program.

Old-fashioned punch cards may be a quick and inexpensive way to launch your loyalty program, it’s also hard to track. You don’t have an easy or systematic way to keep up with the number of cards you punched in a day. Using software or mobile application to automate your loyalty program makes it easier to implement, track, and maintain.

The Clover Rewards program connects your Clover point-of-sale directly with customers through their mobile phones. You can send special offers in real time, matching your goals and your customers’ tastes.

Consider some of the greats.

A loyalty program done wrong is a waste of time and resources both for your business and your customers. As you develop your loyalty program, consider companies with the best customer loyalty programs.


Through its loyalty program, Starbucks rewards customers with free beverages and food, early access to new products, and easy mobile payments through the My Starbucks rewards program. Each time a customer makes a purchase with their Starbucks card, they earn a star.

Your loyalty program doesn’t have to stay the same. You can change or rebrand to bring new life to your brand or to encourage more customer signups. Starbucks recently revamped their rewards program allowing customers to cash in stars for smaller drink customizations or save up for free merchandise or coffee.

Papa John’s

In one of the simplest rewards programs, Papa John’s Papa Rewards gives members one point for every $5 spent.

Members can receive a free large, three-topping pizza with 25 points, which means customers have to spend $125 before receiving a pizza.

Target REDCard

With most loyalty programs, customers only receive the reward after a certain amount of activity. Target’s loyalty program allows customers to receive rewards upfront, automatically, with no accumulations or redemptions required.

With its REDCard, which is available as a credit card or a debit card, Target allows customers to receive an upfront 5% discount on every purchase. It’s free to join and customers also receive free shipping online purchases and an additional 30 days for returns.

Listen to customer feedback.

Solicit feedback early and often to learn what customers like and dislike about your loyalty program. Consider their feedback as a sign that you’ve executed your program well or that there’s room for improvement.

Whether you’re creating a new loyalty program or enhancing an existing one, understand that loyalty program is more than just a way to drive sales. It’s a way to develop and strengthen a relationship with your customers, a factor that’s key to success in today’s competitive market.

Avoid using a loyalty program as a band-aid for low sales. The addition of a loyalty program won’t cure fatal flaws like bad customer service or poor products and services.

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