by Tim Liew
I am sure we are all not strangers to cards like these which offer rewards for your continued support of their food and beverage or retail establishments. As a Retail Designer, I have personally come across so many of these and I must say that though they are an excellent way to get customers to come back to your retail or Food & Beverage outlet over and over again, there are common mistakes most retailers make which undermine the benefit these little wonders bring for your retail business. Today in this article I would like to outline my thoughts on what 3 common mistakes are.
Mistake 1: Putting an expiry date on these rewards cards
This strategy whilst intended to make the customer make a repeat purchase as quickly as possibly would most likely backfire on your retail business. Here’s why. First things first, you are not the only game in town offering these reward cards hence if you try to get customers to do a repeat purchase by putting an expiry date on the reward card it may seem insincere to your customers and in their mind you could be trying to manipulate them to make a purchase so soon even though that may not be your intention . My advice would be to have no expiry date on your reward cards and leave a simple note such as “We don’t care when you come back but we hope its soon!”.
Mistake 2: Not rewarding customers quick enough
In this day and age where running a retail businesses is competitive, I think its super important that if you are going to reward customers there is a need to do it as quickly as possible. As you can see from the visual above if it takes me 5 visits to your place before I get some sort of reward that maybe too long. Personally, I think that the reward should be every 3 visits. The point to remember is this, these rewards cards are meant to kick start what will hopefully be a long and prosperous relationship between the customer and your retail business. The key to any rewarding relationship is the building of trust and likability and rewarding your customers fast is great way to jump start that relationship.
Mistake 3: A solely analog reward system
My last critique is a mistake I see so often when retail businesses try to start a customer rewards program. They make it analog, which means that it takes the simple form of just being as pictured in the card above. If the card is to be given to the customer, why do you need to put a name and contact number on the card (i.e. as pictured above). Who is that information for? Your business or is it to remind customers on who they are and what their contact no is? You have to make the reward system a digital one if possible. No, I am not saying that we should all go out and design an app and get our customers to download it but what I am saying is that if you intend to give out these cards the least you could do is get them to fill out some kind of form so that you can input it into that customer database you are building. If you are running a retail business, the more you know your customers, the better off your business will be. Now I know what many of you reading this would be worried about, why would customers give me their data? Are they not worried I would spam them? Well, to that my point is this, start off with something simple, just get the customer to give your their name and email. Nothing more.
Bear in mind, if you want more information about them (i.e. your customers), the reward you are offering them has to be on par with the amount of information that you are asking from your customers. So, don’t go offering your customers a $5 discount off their next purchase in exchange for a lot of their information such as full name, birth date, address, contact number, etc; they are not going to respond well to you! Simply put, the reward you are offering in exchange for your customers information better be of value to them if you expect them to share their valuable contact information.
Rewarding your customers in your retail business is an extremely important part of growing your retail business but as always there are the right ways and the wrong way of doing things. So make sure you avoid what I consider the 3 deadly customer reward mistakes of:
- putting an expiry date on your reward card
- not rewarding customers quickly enough and lastly
- not collecting any sort of information about your customers from your rewards program
If you successfully avoid these 3 mistakes, i am certain that you will be way ahead of most of your competitors and on your way to building a lasting and successful retail business.
Connect with me in the comments section if you have more questions about this article or even your thoughts on this piece. Please feel free to share this piece with your friends who are in the retail business. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org