Everyone loves loyal returning customers. They become the foundation your business is built on. Keeping your existing customers through loyalty is always much cheaper than going and looking for new customers all the time. Did you realize that studies show that it can be 3-10 times less expensive to keep a customer than to attract a new one.
That’s why you should invest in keeping your current customers. For this, you need a well-defined customer retention strategy which focuses on keeping your current customers happy, ensures their on-going loyalty and encourages them to visit your website often and spend more often during their visits.
One of the most effective ways of retaining your customers is through a customer loyalty program that rewards customers with points for their purchases. Members of loyalty programs often also receive personalized emails with news about the program and reminders of their points balance.
This prompts them to return to your site and reconnect with your company; it also adds an extra dimension to their shopping experience. A positive customer experience must be central to any retention strategy.
Happy customers are the best advocates for your business. These are the people who will tell others about you, and will write online reviews telling the world about your company.
What makes a good loyalty program?
Each loyalty program is a little different, but they all have lots of ways that customers can earn points. You can choose the ways that are most suitable for your business. Some of the most popular ways of increasing customer engagement through a loyalty program would be rewarding customers for:
- Making purchases
- Leaving reviews
- Sharing your content
- Referring their friends
- Entering contests / sweepstakes
The best loyalty programs can be installed quickly, and will integrate seamlessly with your existing ecommerce store. As far as your customers are concerned it should only be your branding visible throughout. Loyalty programs need to be able to work across all your sales channels, and to be accessible on mobile devices.
Perhaps most importantly they must produce measurable results. It must affect the number of customers who stay with you, and remain loyal to your company.
You might think that running a loyalty program like this is complicated, and would add too much of a burden to your already hard working staff. This doesn’t have to be the case; there are some great software packages out there that do all the hard work for you.
The five best-known loyalty programs are:
- Captain Up
- Sweet Tooth Rewards
- Social Annex
Let’s take a look at each of them and see what you get:
Founded in 2012, London based Antavo loyalty software offers a full range of options that can help you engage with your customers. A contest app which works like a sweepstake and adds gamification to your ecommerce website, user profiling, and personalized automated emails which are sent out when a loyal customer has completed specified actions within the program. Antavo gives you everything you need to convert Facebook users into paying customers.
Antavo is easy to use and the customisation options are designed to be really simple to understand. They make it possible to run great promotions without any special technical knowledge. Antavo offer their users actionable analytics with weekly reports to let you drill down and see exactly what is happening with your customers. The reports contain the vital statistics you need to fine-tune your program. Antavo also offers Magento and WooCommerce integration to make the user experience as seamless as possible. A loyalty strategist is on hand at all times to help clients plan, build and maintain their loyalty program. The strategist follows the program’s performance and offers suggestions for improvement. Antavo also offer their clients a Loyalty Academy and free ebooks that will enable them to run a successful program.
Captain Up was founded in the same year as Antavo, but is based in Tel Aviv rather than London. It focuses on building customer engagement with the users website. Captain Up can be accessed from both mobile applications and the web. It is simple to install and lets users connect with Facebook and Twitter while earning badges, points, and making progress through the various games on offer, and for sharing the website with their online friends. The package is completely customizable and supports 14 different languages. Captain Up aims to increase and analyze user behavior so that website owners can gain a deeper appreciation of exactly what draws users to the site, and why they stay there.
LoyaltyLion is extremely simple to use, and in some cases customers can set their systems in under five minutes. Members earn points for participating in a variety of actions. They employ widgets to show loyalty program members how they are progressing on the site. Website owners can quickly establish a variety of award schemes including, registration, referrals, visits to the website store, community participation, posting a review, and making purchases. Users can easily track how many points are being awarded, and the progress of each user. Loyalty Lion is fully customizable and supports four languages.
Sweet Tooth Rewards
Sweet Tooth is one of the bigger operators in the loyalty rewards market. They started life as an ecommerce web development agency before deciding to concentrate on the loyalty market. Their software is presently available through Magento, BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce, although the greatest range of features is only available through Magento. Looking at the complete Sweet Tooth package can be a little overwhelming as they boast an extensive range of configuration options to completely customize the user experience.
The Sweet Tooth points based loyalty program lets you set up rewards for actions, such as, referrals, social sharing, writing reviews, subscribing to your newsletter. They offer videos and interactive demonstrations to help retailers better understand what’s on offer. There is also a customer support team available to respond to any concerns you may have.
Social Annex are based in California and are the biggest, and longest established company in the loyalty market. They offer more than 20 social tools to help retailers combine social networking and marketing.
Social Annex helps retailers to expand their reach and increase customer loyalty by implementing a package of badges, and status increases to reward programs. By gamifying the retail process they encourage referrals to new clients, and persuade existing customers to return to your website more often. They are able to identify the customers that generate the most referral revenue and offer them incentives to refer others. Their products include ‘share and save’, user generated content, and many other possibilities.
Each of these programs has a lot to commend them; the final choice will come down to the specific needs of your business. How easily the program can be integrated to your existing offering, and which program most closely matches your online strategy. Not all loyalty programs are the same. It is vital that you choose one that will add maximum value to your business.
Are you using a loyalty software program? Please do leave a comment and share your favorite and what success you’ve had with creating a loyalty scheme.
About Guest Blog Author: Lilach Bullock
Speaker | Social Media Consultant & Trainer | Social Media Marketing & Influencer Outreach
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence! She’s a hugely connected and highly influential serial entrepreneur.
Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. A recipient for a Global Women Champions Award (by the Global Connections for Women Foundation) for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.
Originally posted at http://www.purematter.com