If your pet business wants to focus on building and rewarding strong relationships with your customers, a loyalty program can help you to achieve that goal. A loyalty program can be described as a system in which customer spending is rewarded with incentives designed to increase brand loyalty and keep the customer coming back to your business. Implementing a loyalty program can be daunting if you are unsure of how it can help your pet business, or if you are wondering if it is worth the initial start-up cost, but with the right information you can proceed with confidence and reap the rewards.

 

NOT ALL LOYALTY PROGRAMS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Not convinced? Forbes reports that it is 50% easier to sell to existing customers than to sell to new customers. Keeping your clients happy by giving them incentives to return to your organization is the easiest way to increase the social proof of your business. Providing your clients with a system of rewards for their continued spending ensures that they will want to return to your business and are more likely recommend your services to others. There are many different types of loyalty programs, some common ones are:

  • Paper punch cards or stamp cards in which customers receive a free service or gift after visiting/buying a number of times. For example, after purchasing 9 grooming sessions, the 10th is free
  • An email specific program in which periodic coupons are sent out to customers who have signed up for the program. For example, every few months a 20% off coupon is emailed to customers on the list, to be used for their next purchase
  • A points system in which a phone number or key card is used to electronically track points that are accumulated, to be redeemed when the customer sees fit. For example, when a customer spends $25 they receive 10 points. Points can be redeemed instantly for discounts or prizes, or left to accumulate until a higher balance is achieved

 

YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU DON’T ASK

Different businesses will require different types of loyalty programs. In order to find the best type of loyalty program for your business, it is important to consider the amount of customers that you have as well as what kind of program they would respond to best. If you have a good relationship with your regular customers, consider asking them for their opinion on what kind of rewards they would like to receive! For example, if your business is fairly sized and has consistently regular customers you might consider a paper punch card loyalty program as it is both cost effective and hands-on to run. If your business is on the larger side, is excessively busy, or if you have a higher customer turnover, you might consider an online points system. This method is more expensive than simple paper punch cards, but creates long term benefits in the sense that the entire program is controlled easily with online software. This method is quick and easy as you can install software that monitors your clients’ files and the points collected by the customers who are participating in the program.

 

SELL IT, DON’T SPAM IT

Once you have chosen your preferred method of loyalty program it is important to sell it to your customers, but not to spam them with information. If your pet business has a website, encourage customers to sign up by creating a “Customer Loyalty” page in which your client can see what you’re offering and what they can gain. If you have an email program set up, a “Welcome” email to new members of the loyalty program can be a very effective way to get your customers involved in the rewards system. Sending periodic emails to customers to let them know about discounts or promotions that they might be interested in can increase business because your clients are aware of the great deals your business offers. Spamming your customers with multiple emails in a week or in a day will actually be counterproductive because your clients can become annoyed by the constant overflow of information.

 

BELIEVE IT & ACHIEVE IT

Implementing a loyalty program can be incredibly rewarding if your goals and financial limits are clear from the onset of the program. What is your pet business trying to achieve? If your goal is to create loyal customers who will choose your business above others, regardless of the offers that they receive from your competitors, a customer loyalty program might be for you. If the motive for your loyalty program is to gain new customers, you will have to be hyper-conscious of the deals that your competition is offering and be aware that a loyalty program might not result in a massive increase in clients. Estimating the financial risk of implementing your program is another essential step in the planning process. How much do you have to invest in creating and maintaining the program? You should not invest in a costly electronic points system if you aren’t sure that it will benefit your business. Finally, do you have the time/and or the staff to maintain the loyalty system? A loyalty program must be well maintained in order to benefit both your business and your customers, or else you risk seeming like your operation is disorganized.

 

A loyalty program is a great way to reward loyal customers and encourage them to return to your business over and over again. A well-organized program can help to distinguish your pet business from the competition, as well as encourage fun and positive interactions with your loyal customers!

Do you have tips and tricks to share about how you established your customer loyalty program? Let us know in the comments below! For more tips and advice for your business? Check out our blog!