Branding

Why You Need A Customer Loyalty Program For Your Shopify Store

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Remember getting a punch card at your local bookstore growing up? I do. My local used bookstore punched your card for every $10 you spent, and once you got 10 punches on your card, you got a $15 gift card to use on anything in the store.

 

Pretty cool, huh?

 

Now, it took a long time for me to get all 10 punches. But having the punch card made me choose this specific bookstore over any others. I knew I’d be getting a reward by shopping there, so I did.

 

Customer loyalty programs are all the rage. Most stores have them.

 

Why?

 

Because loyalty programs are an effective way to create loyal customers.

 

When people feel like they’ll get something in return for choosing your brand over another, they’ll be more likely to pick you over a competitor.

 

There is no reason not to have a customer loyalty program for your Shopify store. If you don’t have one, you’re losing out on a ton of sales potential.

 

All Customer Loyalty Programs Are Not Alike

 

Let’s get down to the basics. Customer loyalty programs are systems brands put in place to reward customers for repeat business. They achieve this by using a specific method.

 

There are different types of customer loyalty programs. Each type has its own benefits, and each are best suited for certain shopping scenarios over others. You’ll need to determine which type of customer loyalty program will work best for your customers depending on the products you’re selling, how much your customers generally spend at your store, and how often they buy products from  you.

 

The main types of customer loyalty programs are:

 

Points – Customers will receive points in accordance with how much they’ve spent at your store.

Tiers – You track your customers purchases and assign them a tier accordingly. Each tier offers its own benefits, and customers can improve their tier by making more purchases (or larger purchases).

Social media – Instead of rewarding customers for actual purposes, you might consider rewarding them for engagement on social media. Host contests and giveaways for shoppers who engage with and share your social media posts. This isn’t a traditional loyalty program, but it’s a great way to win loyal customers and increase your organic reach.

Paid membership – Ever shop at Costco? Do you have an Amazon Prime membership? These are technically customer loyalty programs. This option won’t be best for all brands, but it’s a very effective way to create loyal customers without fronting much money for the rewards.

 

What Should My Rewards Program Offer?

 

So, what exactly what benefits will you offer your customers for signing up with your rewards program? This will also depend on your market, but some common benefits include:

 

Coupons, rebates, and discounts

Free shipping

Better return options

Free gifts

Access to exclusive rewards member shopping events

 

Basically, think about what you want as a customer. What would make you choose one brand over another? Incorporate these small things you can do for your customer into your loyalty plan.

 

How Do I Create a Customer Loyalty Program?

 

There are four steps you’ll need to follow when making your customer loyalty program.

 

Step #1: Research Your Customer

 

What does your customer want? To what measures will they go to get what they want? How can you improve your brand to better suit their needs? What will convince them to sign up for your loyalty program?

 

Look for ways you can improve your customer’s shopping experience while simultaneously benefitting your brand. Write down your findings and move on to step 2.

 

Step #2: Create a Plan

 

Now that you understand your customer, you can create a plan for your customer loyalty program. Use the information you found in step 1 and apply it to your plan.

 

Note which type of loyalty program you’d like to implement, and write down ways you’ll make it benefit your customer.

 

Once you have a plan, you can start to build your customer loyalty program.

 

Step #3: Develop Your Customer Loyalty Program

 

It’s time to structure your plan and put the pieces together.

 

Which rewards will you offer your customer?

 

What will your customer need to do get rewards?

 

Answer these two questions, and you have the basic foundation for your customer loyalty plan. Now, you need to promote your program to earn new customers.

 

Step #4: Promote Your Customer Loyalty Program

 

Market your program like you would any other new offering by your brand. You want word of your program to spread, and you want customers to start signing up as soon as possible.

 

The solution?

 

Social media marketing. Market your customer loyalty program on your social media platforms. This will allow you to reach your audiences fairly quickly once you’ve launched the program.

 

You should also market your program by email. Send emails to customers on your newsletter list – many of them will sign up for your program the next time they make a purchase.

 

Make It Personal

 

The idea behind a successful customer loyalty program is building a more personal relationship with your customer. Customer loyalty programs are intended to make customers feel a stronger connection with your business. When they feel this connection, they’re more likely to return to you in the future.

 

Don’t put your needs before the customer’s. Make it about them if you want your customer loyalty program to work. If you implement your customer loyalty program well, you can improve your sales drastically and create valuable, loyal customers for your brand.

 

Do you use a customer loyalty program? If so, which type of rewards do you use? What do you reward your customers for? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with ecommerce, entrepreneurship, and Shopify. If this resonates with you...I'm so glad you're here! This blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy and the best Shopify Apps and marketing platforms to help you grow and scale. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.