How Big Brands embrace loyalty to drive growth. Already this year retail giants such as John Lewis, Amazon and Waitrose have been commended by top analytical gurus such as Research Farm and Micros for following the most profitable trend. Last year with the demise of High Street stores such as Jessops, HMV and Blockbusters, retailers have been trying hard to combat show rooming and to retain custom. The businesses that have observed trends and moved with the times are those that show every chance of success and their tactics can be utilised no matter how big or small a business is. The main strategy that has been embraced this year is customer loyalty. These brands know that by achieving loyalty from a customer they increase their sales, their conversions and also their custom through word of mouth, however it’s not simply a case of giving out loyalty cards, here’s how the big guys are getting it right.

Gather Information

The brands mentioned above devised a clever strategy even before they gave out their first loyalty cards. Their aim was to gain as much information as they possibly could about every customer. This included the ages, locations but more importantly the likes, dislikes and lifestyles. There’s no point launching a loyalty scheme if only 2% of your customers are actually enticed to take part.

Observe and Learn

Next they took time to observe the buying behaviour of their customers, for example, when someone stopped at Waitrose for milk, did they also pick up a loaf of bread? Were they enticed more by the buy one get one free offer or did they prefer half price items. Can they be persuaded to buy more if a good deal is presented? How many times a week did they shop? The questions are endless but essential.

Forget One Size Fits All

Unless your market is niche, such as targeted at 14 year old girls and nothing else, your loyalty scheme won’t work for everyone. Now you have your information you can use it to your advantage. For instance, Starbucks has 3 loyalty schemes aimed at regular users, occasional users and frequent users so everyone feels as though they are rewarded regardless of how many times they can make it to the café. For instance, if you’re a café and you have regulars for breakfast and again for lunch, the lunch crowd wouldn’t be enticed by a half price full English, whereas the breakfast crowd would love buy five breakfasts and get the sixth free.

Access All Areas

Once your customers have their loyalty card don’t let them forget about it, give them a reason to use it every time they visit. Remind them through emails, mail outs or text message that loyalty card users will receive special offers and treatment on particular days. By keeping your customers close you will promote goodwill which in turn will spread the word. Loyalty is a necessity in these tough economic times if a business hopes to succeed.

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