With Loyalty programs, restaurants and retailers have unprecedented opportunities to track customers and encourage repeat visits.
Loyalty programs are a perfect marketing strategy that business owners use to show how much they appreciate their customers, but also to inspire them to keep coming back. There are many ways how this can be done and with the possibility to create apps to track the points gained after every purchase, the business owners get an enormous amount of data that they can use to connect to their customers on a much deeper level and give the offers that they will love.
Average US households participate in 29 loyalty programs. If you aren’t giving your customers a solid reason to come back, your competitors will. We’ve come a long way from the days of simply telling a customer to return real soon. It is a true potential that more and more businesses explore nowadays.
Now restaurant and shop owners have myriad ways to make it worth a customers’ while to come back again and again. With customer profiles, point tracking, push notifications and SMS and email blasts, today’s POS systems allow you to reach your customers with irresistible offers that compel them to walk back through your doors on a regular basis. The point is that not all 100% of people have to come back. Even if half of them come again, your goal is fulfilled, you will have a money flow and your customers will feel appreciated and valued. It is a perfect way to hit your goal without too much effort.
Restaurant Loyalty Programs
Two of the most popular types of restaurant loyalty programs are punch cards and point-based programs. A punch card is very simple: For every meal or every x amount of dollars spent, the customer gets a punch on their card. Once they reach a certain number of punches, their next unit is free. At that point, it starts all over again. This is a low-tech solution that is not dependent on a particular restaurant POS system. While this can be good for delis, coffee shops, and other quick-serve restaurants, it’s a one-size-fits-all system that has no flexibility and does not work well for sit-down restaurants with a broader menu offering.
With a point-based system, you incentivize your customers to keep coming back and collect as many points as they can. This works particularly well at sit-down restaurants with alcohol service. Customers are assured that they’re not just throwing their money away because after all, they’re earning points. If you want to encourage more diners during slow periods, you can even double the points they earn on every transaction over a certain period. This will certainly help you boost the activity in your restaurant because your guests will come with friends and then refer you to other people. It is a perfect way to popularize your restaurant and attract new customers.
The more points they earn, the more they can redeem, and the more you make. It’s a far more controlled means of rewarding your regulars than randomly offering them a free drink or two every now and then, which can play havoc with your reporting and leave you wondering whether your bartenders are being too generous or not generous enough.
Having a clear system in place is crucial for having a successful loyalty program. The goal is not to confuse your customers because that may lead to misunderstandings. Being as transparent as possible about the reward system will make it easy for everyone to know what to expect and the time when they can get their reward.
Modern POS software also allows you to make one-time offers to certain customer groups. For instance, if there’s an item that’s only on your menu periodically, you can let customers who particularly like it know when it’s available. This kind of microtargeting also lets you take care of customers on their birthday – something that’s very popular in the sit-down restaurant space. This can go a long way toward making your customers feel valued and besides being a wonderful surprise, it will do wonders for your overall reputation among customers.
Giving free drinks for the person celebrating and all the friends at the table or giving a birthday cake won’t jeopardize your budget too much, but it will do wonders for your future business. It is a genuine form of marketing that you should use, so you can start seeing the results pretty quickly.
Retail Loyalty Programs
Here’s where the customer tracking capabilities of modern POS software really shine. You can take into account the clothing preferences of the majority of your customers, ensure their favorite styles are in stock, and even send them a custom-tailored offer to tickle their buying bone and get them back in your door. This may sound complicated at first, but once you have the system in place, you will realize just how much of an impact your strategy has on the way your customers see your store. It is all about creating a deeper connection and showing how much you value each one of your customers.
Often, there are several people who shop with you more frequently than all the rest. These are your VIP customers. They pump thousands of dollars into your shop. So why not reward them for their above-and-beyond patronage. You can create perks that will only apply to this group and send them notice of available items sooner than everyone else – enabling them to get a jump on their competition.
They will appreciate the special treatment and reward you accordingly. Everyone loves presents, it is basic human psychology. No matter how much money we have, if we get a discount on the item we like, we will be happy. It is the card you should play on and make your customers happy. However, you will be surprised just how much of an impact it will have on you too – you will enjoy your work more because you will receive positive attention and see how people’s reactions change.
Customer loyalty programs are a two-way street. You reward your customers for their business; they reward you for the special treatment they receive by continuing to do business with you. It is certainly a method worth looking into that shows results for years ever since it first showed up. And with modern POS software, initiating and maintaining a customer loyalty program that utilizes your customers’ unique habits to maximize sales has never been easier.
Take advantage of it and start looking at the way your business flourishes. Without the initial investments, there is no gain, so look at it from the perspective of the opportunity to grow and change your business for the better. If you want to learn more about the powerful POS software and how it can be integrated into your business, please visit Lightspeed. Also, please feel free to comment on this post and share your insights!