The Importance of Shopper Loyalty and Loyalty Programs

Shopper loyalty has huge benefits. There’s no doubt about it. However with so many ways to build shopper loyalty: rewards, coupons, loyalty programs, customer satisfaction programs, etc, it’s often hard to get started. There are no silver bullets, but as a Shopify merchant, there are many tools to help get started on building customer loyalty, and the benefits that can come from it are not to be missed.

Benefits from Encouraging Shopper Loyalty

When companies do things to encourage shopper loyalty, they often focus on providing boosts to the returning customer and loyal customer segment. Encouraging them to make bigger and more frequent purchases.

 

There’s an unexpected bonus that can come from well designed customer loyalty initiatives that not only prompts customers to come back, but also encourages new visitors to become first time customers.

There is much info out there that says returning customers are cheaper than new customers, that it can be taken as marketing gospel.

Loyalty programs are one type of initiative to start building customer loyalty. However, merchants shouldn’t run a loyalty program if their intention is only to give out points and discounts. It doesn’t add value for the customer, and basic coupons and discount codes easily do that.

The benefits of a loyalty program is that it’s a foundation for businesses to build deeper customer engagement, including personalized engagements to make customers feel special. Great customer engagement coupled with value add is ultimately what leads to customer loyalty.

These engagements, such as birthday bonuses, thanking the customer, and other ways to make the customer smile, all fall into a compounding effect.

And this effect from encouraging loyalty helps show customers that merchants care, and want to show gratitude, and give thanks for their continuous support.

 

How to Encourage Shopper Loyalty with a Loyalty Program

Sometimes it’s easy, the presence of a basic loyalty program can provide small boosts to every part of the customer life cycle. In order to create more engagement, and more gains, the loyalty program should be a part of the marketing efforts and promoted just like everything else.

Think of the loyalty program as a flywheel, initially it will take effort to launch and promote your loyalty program, but when more and more people use it, it will spin increasingly faster. Eventually it can become a channel that customers love and have great feedback on.

Assuming you’re on Shopify, there’s a handful of loyalty programs that you can choose from. I run marketing for S Loyalty, so I’m a bit biased in the recommendation – we want to help merchants make their customers smile.

As a special offer for Traffic and Sales readers, here is a special offer for 2 months free of S Loyalty. Just use the coupon code trafficandsales2017 when you sign up and install through the Shopify app store.

Take Advantage of This Offer 

When you set up your loyalty program, it’s best to keep things simple. Get the basics up and running, promote your new loyalty program over email and social media, and see how customers react.

When it comes to how customers earn points, and what the rewards are, one approach is to determine a “cash back percentage”.

For example, if you wanted to set a 1% cash back, this means that when a customer spends $1000 at your store, they earn 1000 points. When they redeem those points, 1000 points can be redeemed for a $10 off coupon. This scales up when there are more points and more coupon levels.

Your Shoppers Should be Loyal to Your Brand, Not your Prices

This is huge. This is important. You cannot attract your customers because of prices. It’s a losing battle. Shopper loyalty is the exact reason why some merchants can charge more and still continue to grow. They might not have the best prices, but they’ve delighted their customers and built enough trust in a way that makes them not want to shop around for better prices.

This is exactly why we at S Loyalty push the term Loyalty Program over Rewards Program. We believe loyalty is not just about rewards.

One way to start delighting your customers is to thank your customers in a very personalized manner. Even though everyone is looking at a screen and everything is digital, adding personality, images, and flair can make new customers feel great after they complete their first purchase.

Another way to encourage brand loyalty is to have special edition rewards. Rewards that are only available to your most loyal customers, using points they’ve earned from past purchases over the years. Exclusivity can feel good. When done right, it lifts your loyal customers, and also encourages new ones to become loyal.

Take Loyalty Seriously

Shopper loyalty can be a powerful driving force for brands that are growing. If done well, it can elevate a brand. There are many ways to excel at increasing loyalty, and installing loyalty programs can help.

As a special offer to Traffic and Sales readers, S Loyalty is excited to offer 2 Months Free. Just use the coupon code trafficandsales2017 when you sign up and install through the Shopify app store.

Take Advantage of This Offer 

 

  • Karl

    As part of a team working on the Actonlytics eCommerce tool, I do find that it is very important to retain your customers other than chase new customers.

    Very good article!

    Keep it up.