Loyalty Programs Grow Business

The other day I took my family to Panera for dinner. The kids like the soup there, and we will often choose Panera over a fast food joint if we need a quick meal while on the go. As we paid for our meal, I handed over my Loyalty card, and the girl told me I had qualified for a free bagel. Since my daughter loves the Asiago bagels there, she got it for free that night with her soup. And it was kind of fun, knowing we got it for free.

I have a similar experience when I shop at the Body Shop. Often when I check out I find out I’ve qualified for some discount or purchase with purchase special because of the loyalty program. And even though it’s small, it gives me a little thrill. It’s a positive experience with the brand that makes me want to come back.

And I’ve been thinking lately about how we, as direct sellers, can give our customers a similar burst of happiness when they’re loyal to us.

Do you track how many times a customer purchases from you? It can be as simple as a punch card (buy 10 candles get 1 free), or you can track a customer’s order on a spreadsheet or other tracking program. The gift doesn’t have to cost you a lot, but it can encourage repeat business. Think about how you could use this:

  • If a hostess hosts 3 parties in the same calendar year, she qualifies for a free product or additional discount.
  • Every time a customer spends a certain amount (say, $100) she qualifies for a small free gift or discount on an additional purchase.
  • For every 5 leads a customer gives you that turn into a purchase or recruit, give them a gift.

The point is to have this be an ongoing program, and not just a 1-time thing. One of the things I love about Panera and Body Shop is that I never know exactly when I’ll qualify, and it’s always fun to get an unexpected gift.

Make a big deal out of your loyalty program. Give customers cards, and have them present them to qualify. It will make them feel special.

Companies can do this too, with customer clubs. When customers sign up for the customer club, they qualify for specials and discounts monthly, sent direct from the company. You have to be in the club to be eligible.

And all of this leads to repeat business.

Do you use loyalty programs for your business to encourage reorders? How do you structure your program? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

3 Responses to Loyalty Programs Grow Business
  1. Tracey Fisher
    April 22, 2012 | 2:31 pm

    I am going to test drive this too! I hope that this will not only help to retain my customer base but to bring in new customers as well! Thanks so much Jen.

  2. sheila
    March 28, 2012 | 11:43 am

    I love this, more along the same would be fabulous and potentially really transform someone’s business. Selling is the heart of our business and loyalty creates trust – trust could turn out to be our next recruit. Thanks for the great info!

  3. kathy Yellets
    March 28, 2012 | 9:26 am

    I’m definitely going to give this a test drive. If nothing more, it will add a ‘fresh idea’ to our businesses!

    Thanks Jen!

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