Why personal loyalty schemes don’t have to be the preserve of retail giants


To build revenue alongside a loyal army of returning customers, like the giants of UK retail, small independent retail owners should think about personal loyalty schemes and take advantage of data, writes head at ecommerce solutions platform First Data, Raj Sond.
Turning a browser? into a buyer and a loyal customer is especially challenging for small retail owners who don’t have the huge marketing budgets of some high street brands, or the ability to offer huge discounts.
However, despite the competitive personal loyalty schemes offered by some household retail brands, smaller firms can still find creative ways to generate customer loyalty.
A recent survey found that 42 per cent of small business owners trust their instinct when it comes to getting to know their customers. While this figure might not be surprising, given how time-poor most small business owners are, it shows a wasted opportunity.
Leaving one of the most important aspects of a business understanding your customers to gut feeling alone, is shaky territory, especially for ambitious small retail owners that are looking to grow.
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Find out where loyalties lie
When asked why they would leave a store without making a purchase, 69 per cent of consumers cited poor customer service as a major factor. Last year’s Customer Index Survey goes one step further, finding that 79 per cent of customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service.
Retail is ruthless, and customers have an extraordinary range of choice, both online and offline, so managers cannot afford to be complacent.
In a fast-paced, multi-platform world, customer experience doesnt start or end when a shopper walks onto the shop floor. Customers want to feel special, and that their custom is uniquely valued, rather than feeling part of a mass targeted group.
By diving into and drawing insights from data, independent business owners can build an accurate picture of their customer base and connect with customers in a much more personalised way. Don’t base your business decisions on guess-work when facts are at your fingertips.
Small businesses are constantly collecting data
The days of manually keeping a paper log of daily business transactions are long gone. Technology collects and stores this information for you previous purchases, online orders and payment transaction data will all be recorded. Access to this information, and the ability to analyse it will allow business owners to be both proactive and reactive around customer needs.
For example, an independent high street caf? could apply personal loyalty schemes and promotions to hot and cold drinks as and when temperatures rise and fall dramatically, responding to the nature of customers? needs on the spot. Likewise, offering quirky campaigns and personal loyalty schemes for significant calendar events are often well received, such as free cups of tea with all sales of cake on the Queen’s birthday.
A quick analysis of which products do well at which times of the year can help you craft fun and engaging personal loyalty schemes to market the business and increase sales.