Before a loyalty program can be implemented, or even planned, you will need to decide on a number of factors that define the nature of your program.
What is the program brand or identity going to be?
Part of a loyalty program should be the build a strong 'tribal' identity and a strong sense of belonging and membership amongst the participants. For this reason your loyalty program should have a strong visual brand and a clear identity. Decide on a program name and logo that your members will identify with and will be easily linked with the benefits you envisage for them. At Loyal2.com we believe that every program should be a unique, self-branded entity and the nature of the program should be completely controlled by you.
Who are your target members?
Firstly decide who you want to target. Not all your customers should necessarily be targeted to join your loyalty program. Challenge yourself to identify those who should be included and then design the program around them. Are you looking to reward all customers? Or customers who have accounts with you? Or customers with a certain turnover? Or only customers who deal with you in-store? Or only those who shop online? Also remember that you can run multiple programs targeted at different demographics within your customer base - in Loyal2.com you would use 'groups/tiers' for this purpose.
What are the actions you looking to measure and incentivise?
Once you have a clear picture in your mind of the type of customer you are wanting to build this loyalty relationship with, you can decide what triggers or actions they perform are worth rewarding. In this area there are two main categories - transactional rewards or action based (non-transactional) rewards. In a transactional model you will be rewarding them per transaction, based on the value of the transaction. In an action based reward you will be rewarding them for performing any one of a multitude of actions: coming into your store, completing a purchase, filling in a survey, shopping online, logging into an online system, requesting a quote, registering a product - there are no limits to this type of program.
How do you intend to reward your members?
Now that your target member and rewardable action are decided upon, you can move onto the fun bit which is deciding on the reward to offer. Again, the sky is the limit here. The Loyal2.com model is voucher-based - so that means points are used to 'buy' vouchers and a voucher can be used for any kind of reward. You could offer product discounts, free give-aways, competition entries, in-store lucky draws, free consultations or training, etc. Make sure that your reward has real value for your members.
At Loyal2.com each of your personalized vouchers has a unique code, and once validated will not be able to be used again. Your aim should be to get your members to associate real value with your vouchers, and the voucher should be a compelling reason for them to interact with you in-store or online. Design the reward in such a way that your members are required to return to your store or online in order to redeem each voucher.
What is the most convenient data-capture mechanism?
At some point you have to get practical and decide where you will be gathering the loyalty points on behalf of your members. This is perhaps one of the most critical decisions, as it can determine the success or failure of your program. Make it too hard or onerous to gain the points and nobody will participate. Keep this step as simple as possible.
At Loyal2.com we spend a lot of time trying to make this part of the loyalty process as robust and user friendly as possible. Essentially you have 4 options:
Virtual points via the web
Card scanning in store
Rewarding your members in store is still the mainstay of loyalty worldwide. For this purpose you should consider a traditional program element which will require issuing pre-coded cards (provided by Loyal2.com or purchased directly from another supplier). Cards are then scanned in store using a tablet or other scanning device (best practice here is QR code or NFC tag scanning which integrates directly with your Loyal2.com account) or integrated into Loyal2.com via our API's using your existing ePOS/back office systems.
Manual backoffice points capture
The most basic method of capture is to simply capture each transaction or point as it occurs into the Loyal2.com back office system. You would use this method if the above two more automated methods do not suit your type of business.
Manual end of day spreadsheet upload
Similar to the manual points capture method above, this approach takes advantage of Loyal2.com's easily imported spreadsheet option. This would require you to capture member numbers and points through the day into a spreadsheet and then simply import it at the end of each day.
Automated API-based transaction integration
For a truly integrated approach, and assuming that your business has an ePOS or back office system, you could use our set of API's to integrate Loyal2.com with your system so that every transaction is automatically uploaded as it occurs. Points will then be auto generated by the transaction-based promotions that you have set up at Loyal2.com.
How are you going to keep communicating with your members?
Establishing a regular communication channel with your members is key to the success of your program. The obvious methods are email and mobile communication - both of which are offered as built-in communication methods within Loyal2.com. Key to the success of this aspect is ensuring that your communications are never wasteful or meaningless to your target market. You do not want to give them any reason to opt-out of this communication stream. You can do this by ensuring that the messages are frequent but not too frequent (monthly or bi-monthly) and that each message contains relevant information which has real value every time. Take trouble to have the messages written well, and always include a call to action that will tempt your members to re-engage with you in some way.
Above all have fun! Ensure that running your program is as energizing and fun for your team as it is for your members to participate.