Customer Loyalty Cards Encourage Customers to Return Back

by Grace Miller |

Customer Loyalty Cards Encourage Customers to Return Back

Customer Loyalty Cards

Visit any coffee shop or a book store, and they will offer you customer loyalty cards at the checkout as a souvenir gift. They label it as a token of appreciation for visiting the store or chain, of course, but they are a very important piece of the puzzle in the marketing strategy. Your wallet … Read more

Loyalty Reward Programs Is the Easiest Way to Grow Business

Loyalty Reward Programs

What is the Loyalty Rewards Program? When you purchase something from a brand, what are the chances you buy from it again? Well, there are many different factors for being loyal or not to the brand. If you purchase from the same store again, you probably have a strong reason to do it. The factors … Read more

Why Loyalty is your Best Asset During Periods of Market Unrest

Loyalty is your best asset during periods of market unrest

If you are a business that’s in it for the long haul, you need to be comfortable that at some point there will be a market downturn. Recessions are undeniable and only the most resilient businesses thrive in such difficult economic conditions. You need strategic thinking to navigate the waters of an economic slump. Customer … Read more

20 User Generated Content Marketing Statistics That Demonstrate Its Undeniable Power

User Generated Content Marketing

In today’s digital age, your customers can become your best advocates through user-generated content marketing. The right user-generated content platform can help you utilize photos, videos, and other media from your customers to help your business thrive. Most consumers are happy to share a photo, give feedback or answer a few questions when provided with … Read more

6 Visual Commerce Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Visual Marketing

Visuals, in addition to content, have come to play a central role in modern advertising. Images, GIFs, and videos are simply easier to process than written text because we are accustomed to seeing pictures of our surroundings. As much as 90% of all information that reaches the average human brain is visual, and as much … Read more

Why Gift Cards Make Spectacular Loyalty Program Rewards

Gift cards incentive

If you’re brainstorming ways to encourage customer loyalty, consider the many potential benefits of using gift cards. These cards are a welcome addition to any retail or e-commerce loyalty program and offer the flexibility to get creative. What is a Gift Card Incentive Program?  A gift card incentive program is one of the best marketing … Read more

8 Shopping Cart Abandonment Solutions That Really Work

shopping-cart-abandonment-solutions

Online shopping cart abandonment has become a serious problem for many e-commerce and retail businesses. This very real issue will deplete your conversion rate unless you take the right measures. More than three of every four consumers visiting an e-commerce site leave their shopping carts full. Typical reasons consumers leave their online carts include excessively high … Read more

Using User Generated Content on Social Media: Why And How

User Generated Content On Social Media

User generated content (UGC)–including reviews, questions and answers, and visual commerce–is the most trusted form of content, but it’s not worthwhile if it’s not shared and seen.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any form of content created, published, or submitted on the Web by users of a brand. It is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand doing it. Although UGC is not created by a brand itself, brands do leverage user-generated content for additional reach and online visibility.

The user-generated content could be reviews, social media update, blog comments, video and a podcast.

Nothing is as powerful as social media in hitting the highest possible spot of reach and online visibility. Besides, at least once a month, 83% of survey respondents hear about a brand or product on social media before they hear about it from any other source. This outlines the strong link between social media and product discovery/awareness. Consequently, one major reason to use user generated content on social media is to multiply its reach. But there are two more arguments for pairing the two.

User Generated Content on Social Media is a Cost-Saver

One of the strongest motives to use user generated content on social media is that both UGC and social media are inexpensive ways to reach out to more consumers. It’s easy to pare down your content production budget by putting UGC, like customer photos and videos, into your mix. Besides, shoppers are accustomed to seeing their friends’ visual content, product reviews, and recommendations on social media. When you share it, you appear more natural and authentic.

Additionally, integrating UGC content from your reviews or Q&A platform on your company’s social networks can be a departure from costly ways of connecting to consumers and maintaining expensive customer service resources. Let your wider audience–not just those on your site–know about common questions and answers and what your fans have to say! When you provide opinions and answers early on in the buying journey, you can easily reduce shipping and returns costs.

UGC Cultivates Positive Mindsets

Nearly 31% of online shoppers say they are using social media channels to buy products. Even those who aren’t buying through social media are at least hearing about products through it. Clearly, it’s a real opportunity for retailers to shorten the path to purchase for customers. But if a sale has to happen, the user needs to have a positive and favorable mindset towards the product. An average customer reads 10 or more reviews before buying something and a brand needs 12 positive reviews to offset the impact of one negative review.

Social media can help in fastening that process, as people are sharing their brand experiences on social media. 26% like to voice their opinions, and one in four passes on personal recommendations of things they like on social media, which is great news for brands. Also, 49% share information on products hoping to change opinions or encourage action. And people do value what people say about brands on social media. Adding reviews to Facebook boosts customer’s time on your site by 9.9% and adding reviews to Twitter boosts time on site by 35%. The point to note here is that by having users praising products on social channels through UGC, a brand can eliminate the need to run a separate ORM campaign and save money.

Why User-generated Content is imperative for Businesses?

In the current marketing buzzword, user-generated content has surpassed the other marketing trends. Truth to be told, this trend matches with the fast-paced digital world and unlocks maximum benefits for marketers.

UGC is the most authentic, reliable, and creative content online according to users. It acts as an excellent social proof because it is not the brand doing the promotion but the customers themselves after using the product. The reviews from customers increase the credibility of your brand and consumers start believing what you claim.

Let’s discuss its benefits:

User-generated Content Boosts Trust

More than 90% of buyers trust brands that create UGC more than traditional advertising. This is because UGC is unbiased and created by users who share their real-life experiences.

 Authentic

Consumers trust 2.4 times more user-generated content than other forms of advertisement created by brands. Consumer-generated content is highly effective as it engages your customers. It not only increases the company’s value in the market but also captures new eyeballs.

Less Investment, High ROI

All big companies are aware of the power of UGC. When customers post their pictures or videos using the products on social media, it garners huge publicity. This makes UGC more cost-effective than other TV commercials and Billboards. In a nutshell, users promote the products without marketers having to empty their pockets.

Encourages Users to Make a Purchase

The most taxing task for any business is making people buy their products. UGC influences the decision-making of customers and increases the conversion rate by 4.6%.

Chances of Going Viral

User-generated content has more potential to go viral than that of ordinary content as users share their experiences through videos and stories on social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.

But to actually pluck these conferred benefits, there is a need to find innovative and feasible ways to put user generated content on social media. Following enlisting gives glimpses of such innovative and feasible ways covering multiple social media networks.

Instagram

Instagram is the current king of UGC for brands. Its format makes it simple to share user-generated photos and videos, whether as regular posts from your own account, components in your Story, or as ads. Even adding nicely formatted reviews as photos is easy.

Instagram
This company puts a customer’s review in the text caption of its photo.

 

Check out how Ugg Australia used this sponsored UGC image from Kylie Jenner to gain authenticity while playing off her huge following…

ugg kylie instagram

Pinterest

Due to its exclusive visual appeal, Pinterest is a great playground for UGC–especially for images and brand related photos. One study points out that more than 80% of pins are repins. And repins are nothing but a curated form of content. Thus, content curation amalgamates with UGC as soon as a user repins branded pins. But for that brands need two things: A collaborative pinboard and an engaging hashtag. The prime benefit of a collective pinboard is it takes user participation to the next level.

Gap solicited user photos through a group pinboard.
Gap solicited user photos through a group pinboard.

Twitter

While Twitter’s character limits may seem inflexible, you can always add photos and videos to your tweets. Thus, it’s a perfect place to embed a short customer review explaining the gist of the product’s qualities alongside the product’s photo. This assemblage deserves a chance, as 70% of consumers trust reviews written by other customers above professionally written marketing content and businesses see a 26% increase in traffic from Twitter after sharing reviews.

Facebook

Due to updates to the Facebook news feed algorithm in 2016 that placed emphasis on content from friends and family, UGC is generating tremendous traction on Facebook. There are reports suggesting that UGC drove a 6.9x higher engagement level than brand-generated content. Unsurprisingly, Facebook emerges as the first choice when brands think about putting user generate content on social media. Companies are doing this because highlighting these individuals will make others want to live their brand as well.

Forever 21 shares user photos collected through Visual Commerce on Facebook.
Forever 21 shares user photos collected through Visual Commerce on Facebook.

The success of above examples leaves no doubt about how integrating user generated content on social media improves mass reach, customer engagement, brand mentions, and operational efficiency. But remember that every social media platform has different strengths and weaknesses. The brand must be ultra-clear about what sort of user generated content it wants and how it is going to curate and use this collected dust of gold. Thus, the blueprint of the overall curation, syndication, and marketing plan must be ready before the content shared by your customers begins to crawl on your social network pages!

The Most Valuable Types of Loyal Customers

the most valuable types of loyal customers

The success of any business largely depends on how long customers, whether existing or newly acquired ones, stay with it. Customers often become more profitable over time and loyal customers account for an unusually high proportion of the sales and profit growth of successful businesses. 

To drive the point home…

Not all loyal customers are the same, though. Their further segmentation is possible. Customers may be classified into five categories based on their loyalty to your brand. In fact, this segmentation is necessary. You may be able to devise a separate loyalty strategy for each of the categories.

types of loyal customersHardcore Loyal Customers

These are the ideal types of customers that every business wants to have. They genuinely love everything about your brand…then be it a brand persona, product or customer service. They take pride in associating themselves with your brand.

Due to their high regard for your brand, they are the readymade material for becoming your brand advocates. They will promote your brand with heart! If you’re lucky enough to have hardcore loyal customers, you should consider devising a program to both thank them for their support and encourage them to share the word about your business.

Borderline Loyal Customers

These are also known as pseudo-loyal, as their loyalty is not unconditional. They are buying from you either because they don’t have any other option or pricing of your product is within their range. But overall they are quite satisfied with your brand.

As their buying relationship with you hinges upon the availability and price, as soon as some better deal is in the picture, they will leave you quickly. These types of customers are seen more in a monopolistic type of service markets. The important thing to note here is they possess the trait to become your loyal customers. By devising a special loyalty program for them which can give them a fairer and cheaper deal, you can surely hold them for long.

After all, loyalty program members spend 5-20% more than non-members on average.

Split Loyal Customers

These are the people who are loyal to many brands. They will buy from the brand which is giving them the best deal at the moment. Of course, they don’t generate more revenue for you as they are less frequent, but they are not without any value either.

One of the keys to nurturing these split loyal customers is to rope them into a loyalty program. While they won’t be as responsive to it as your hardcore loyal customers or your borderline ones, some will be swayed by discounts. The customer data you gain will also be important for this segment,

Need-Based Loyal Customers

People in this category are driven by a specific need. If you are offering some product which is closest to what they want, they will buy from you. Otherwise, they overlook you. That want might have arrived due to various reasons such as a specific occasion, a specific need, or an absolute price point. Of course, it’s very difficult to retain such customers as they are completely driven by need and convenience, but they can win over by a personal and careful handling by your salespeople. This is especially true for physical stores. They can be transformed into loyal customers if they are getting a treatment and service which isn’t available on internet based stores.

Switchers

They are not loyal to any one brand. For multiple reasons, they keep changing their brand. Generally, this is the largest segment in terms of traffic. There is very little that you can do about them, as there is no specific reason why they leave you and prefer others. But, they are in large chunk even though they bring very little revenue.

The most you can do is treat them well when they are buying from you. Try to evoke a sense of satisfaction among them through your service and behavior. Outstanding customer experiences are a key differentiator when it comes to nurturing loyalty, after all.

Watch Out for These 9 Common Loyalty Mistakes!

loyalty mistakes

There’s no point in hiding from the truth: some loyalty programs fail. The globally successful Air Miles program tanked when it was launched in the U.S. market. The program lost $25 million in its first year and was consequently shut down. A wrongly executed loyalty program can injure your company, but don’t discount the massive benefits of a well-designed one. Just consider these common customer loyalty mistakes to help you along your way.

Puzzling Rules and Point Conversions

The most common joke about loyalty programs is how complicated they are. Take Chipotle’s new program as an example—rather than having a simple points-for-purchase system or something more inventive, their program skips points altogether. Instead, they have three status levels that reset every month, and only one purchase per day counts. In fact, it’s so complicated that they need this image to explain it.

Chiptopia-Rewards

Apart from having too complicated rules and structure, one of the most infamous loyalty  mistakes is puzzling point conversions. Shoppers want to know the actual worth of their points in an uncomplicated manner. If you as a marketer cannot easily tell what a point is worth to them they won’t sign up.

Both earning and spending should be crystal clear. You can do it by using multiples of 10. With this, shoppers will be able to calculate the worth of points in their head as well.

Not Welcoming Your New Members

The key to today’s marketing is instant gratification as consumers are becoming less and less patient. To maintain their interest level from the inception of your loyalty program, it’s a must to give them some sort of instant gratification.

It’s a huge mistake to not pick up on the momentum generated from a customer’s initial sign-up. If you don’t offer them a tangible sign-up incentive, or at the very least a welcome email, you’re missing out.

Take a page out of Olympus Camera’s book and offer shoppers points when they create an account, and send a follow-up email.

olympus welcome email

 

Insisting on Using Plastic Cards

In the current era where everything is becoming online, it’s senseless to ask your customers to carry plastic loyalty cards around. There are enough studies which point out that only 18% of plastic card-based users remained active after 3 months (vs. 83% for a card-linked loyalty program). Besides, when you add in the fact that these old-school cards also cost up to $1 per card, the cost of the program can get out of hand quickly.

Thanks to the advent of mobile technology and now mobile wallets, it’s easier and easier to avoid loyalty mistakes like this one.

Not Treating High-Value Customers Differently:

You should look at all your customers with equal respect, but it’s more than reasonable to treat your very best customers and advocates differently. Many rewards programs do this by creating tiers of membership, with the biggest spenders getting extra perks. Sephora, whose rules are seen below, is one of them.

sephora beauty rules

You can go beyond this, though, and also reward those customers who are sharing and engaging the most. These advocates are an important part of brand growth–don’t overlook them!

Narrow Reward Earning Period

Customers should be given enough time to collect and redeem their points. This point is key to reward your loyal customers rightly and fairly.

JetBlue’s TrueBlue program, wherein regular flier miles expired one year following the day they were earned is without a doubt a worst case scenario from the customers’ point of view. It may happen that it’s not possible for your loyal customers to redeem all those flier miles in one calendar year. Finally, JetBlue realized the fallacy in this policy and they changed it. Now, their miles never expire if the member makes at least one flight a year with the airline.

To realize the core goal of a loyalty program, which is to drive loyalty, it’s a must that points are redeemed.

Failing to Measure Your Program’s Effectiveness

If you can’t measure it, you cannot manage it. Because you can miss the key opportunities that can help your business grow, as it lets you know where your program is heading and what amendments you can make to enhance its power further.

Areas to monitor include:

  • How long do members stick around?
  • Does your program improve the customer experience?
  • Are customers signing up, but not returning?
  • What gender or age group of your customers tend to be loyal?
  • Which rewards are favorites for your customers?

Patchy User Experience:

It’s not uncommon to see a disjointed, confusing user experience when engaging with a brand online. It’s a proven fact that the continuity of the experience across all channels in terms of tone, offerings, and message is an important asset to keep customers coming back to your brand over time.

Despite this, many loyalty programs consider themselves as separate entities from their brand’s online persona. Multiple logins to access the program, confusing authentication patterns, and sometimes even a separate domain to engage with the program…all these nuisances are a definite obstruction in creating universal and seamless user experience.

The risk is not just that it is separating your loyalty program from your brand’s overall online presence, but it also makes the lives of your development team people miserable. More authentication means more steps have to be accounted for on the development side of the house. Naturally, it is opening up more chances for technical errors which are not at all advisable.

Not Considering Behavior

One of the most common and disastrous loyalty mistakes is the practice of only rewarding transactions. Companies that do so are squarely failing to reward a positive behavior of a customer which might help them in the long term.

The fact is that when you reward customers for doing things like sharing your brand online, writing product reviews, referring friends, and so on, you can triple your loyalty program revenue. When customers can earn points for these advocacy actions, they accumulate them faster and spend them faster. At the same time, they’re marketing your business! It’s a win-win.

Bebe is one company that’s correctly rewarding engagement. Their Club Bebe program rewards customers for purchasing as well as for connecting on social media, visiting their website, hashtagging photos, and referring friends.

bebe loyalty rules

Not Knowing Your Audience:

Gary Vaynerchuk was unbelievably correct when he had said, “marketing is going to go back to the old butcher shop style, the mom and pop stores that knew our names. They knew our children’s names, the names of our dogs, and they understood our context”.

In the current era of social media and internet, it’s not difficult to capture the detailed information of your customers. Based on that you can create a program which offers exactly what different people want in terms of rewards.

Programs that offer inflexible rewards that don’t reflect consumer preferences are bound to fail. Avoid this key loyalty mistake by looking to Coca-Cola.

MyCokeRewards members can collect points via a code on Coke bottle caps, and can then redeem them for a wide variety of vouchers and gift cards. When the program added gift cards for popular video games, their redemption rate grew 18 times over!

Getting Your Customers to Actually Refer Their Friends

Refer Their Friends

Every one of your existing customers has the potential to share your brand with their friends and family and refer an endless number of new customers to your business. But even though these new potential customers are just one social network away, getting people to actually refer their friends can be a real challenge. You … Read more

Looking for an Answer: Incentivizing Customers to Contribute to Your Questions & Answers Platform

questions and answers

When you have a Questions and Answers platform on your site, it’s worthless unless you actually get people to, well, answer the questions. Over 50% of millennials utilize user-generated content (UGC) to inform their purchase decisions about major electronics, cars, major appliances, and more. Furthermore, UGC like Questions and Answers or Ratings and Reviews is … Read more

5 Ways to Bring Your Customers Back From the Dead

loyalty

Churned customers are a lot like zombies: they’re never quite dead, just dormant. However, unlike zombies, you definitely want to figure how to re-awaken a dormant customer. After all, it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an old one. So, here are five ways to leverage omni-channel … Read more

Email Marketing Best Practices: Are You In or Out?

email marketing best practices

Whatever your social commerce and customer loyalty marketing plan is, it’s basically guaranteed that emails are part of it. When your customers click to use a tool like Refer a Friend or join your loyalty program, you’re probably going to collect their emails and then use them to send your customers more offers. But what … Read more

Soliciting Reviews: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Soliciting Reviews

When your ecommerce or omnichannel retail brand implements a Ratings and Reviews solution, it obviously won’t be of any use unless your customers actually submit reviews. Especially since 45% of customers share negative reviews on social media, compared to 30% who share positive reviews, it’s crucial to get ahead of the curve and get satisfied … Read more

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