“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
The words of writer and activist Maya Angelou ring as true today as they always have. In a world where customers have endless choice, building a relationship based on connection and emotion rather than something purely transactional is a powerful strategy.
More than ever, the relationship between business and customer is a two-way street. Customer loyalty grows when people feel positively engaged.
One typical stereotype in business and retail is that ‘you get what you pay for’. But if that’s all you get, without any added value, would you really go back to the same business? If you can get the same product or service from a range of businesses all competing solely on price, what is the value of loyalty?
The gold standard
For many companies, particularly retailers and consumer-facing businesses, October, November and December is known as the ‘Golden Quarter’. That’s when business activity peaks as people spend more freely in the run-up to Christmas.
However, it’s vital to avoid thinking you don’t need to make an effort – that customers will simply stream through the door or onto your website and spend anyway. You need a good strategy to attract business at this key time, but you also have to keep one eye on the bigger goal. The Golden Quarter is a golden opportunity to attract long-term customers and valuable, repeat purchases throughout the year.
Engaging with customers and implementing strategies to build loyalty at Christmas can pay long-term dividends for your business. According to a study by Bain & Company and the Harvard Business School, improving customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95%.
Now is the time to think about how you can offer extra value that customers find meaningful – get it right and the rewards will come.
The season of giving
In the UK this time of year is traditionally associated with gifting. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s the perfect time to show existing customers how much you appreciate their custom and support throughout the year with loyalty rewards.
Strategic, targeted use of gift cards, e-codes and gift vouchers can help create powerful customer reward and loyalty programmes. And with the right engagement platform to manage your programme, businesses can maximise festive revenues, attract new customers and cement the loyalty of existing ones.
In the midst of a cost of living crisis, small gestures of appreciation and reward can have huge significance.
I wish it could be Christmas every day
Perfecting the balance of giving meaningful customer rewards to create an upbeat feel and emotional connection during the festive period is key. Get it right and you’ll see the rewards in the months and years that follow.
Research from Small Business Trends reveals loyal customers are likely to spend 67% more on products and services than new customers. It also shows that while loyal customers will make up only 20% of your audience, they contribute to up to 80% of your revenue.
Retail giants Morrisons and Marks & Spencer both offer good examples of how festive loyalty and reward programmes can work.
The Morrisons Christmas Collector scheme encourages customers to spend a minimum amount for four weeks out of five in the run up to Christmas. Their reward is a significant bonus voucher to spend between mid-December and early January.
By offering a bonus that helps reduce the cost of Christmas dinner or bridge the financial challenge of the post-Christmas period, Morrisons is giving customers something meaningful. That drives both loyalty and consideration as customers look for brands they feel an affinity towards.
Marks & Spencer offers customers the 12 Days of Sparks promotion. Members of its Sparks loyalty programme can access a digital advent calendar via its app, with daily rewards on offer plus the chance to win a holiday.
While the premise of this offer is less about easing cost, by giving customers the chance to secure items they can give as gifts or use to enhance their Christmas experience they are adding value to their customers’ festive season. This reinforces the brand’s reputation for quality and class and strengthens customer loyalty.
Expertise makes giving easy
Managing such reward programmes in-house requires major resources. If your business is looking to create an impactful reward and loyalty strategy in an efficient, cost-effective way, why not draw on the expertise and experience of specialists in this field?
Love2shop is one of the best known engagement, reward and gifting brands in the UK. Available as a gift card, e-gift card or physical voucher, Love2shop is accepted by more than 150 high street and online retailers.
These include well-known brands such as Argos, Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Matalan, Costa, Harvester, Tui, Jet2Holidays and many more.
For decades, the expert team at Love2shop Business have worked closely with around 150,000 businesses across multiple sectors, to devise and deliver customer rewards programmes and strategies that yield a significant long-term benefit to your bottom line.
The value of passing on the love
Love2shop’s recent Ultimate Guide to Customer Loyalty offers up-to-date statistics on the value of loyalty schemes.
For example, recent data shows businesses with the most effective loyalty programmes increase revenue two-and-a-half times faster than their competitors.
It also found:
- 39% of loyal customers will spend more on a product even if there are less-expensive options available
- Adding a loyalty programme to an e-commerce platform can increase average order quantity by 319%.
- 73% of consumers are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programmes.
Love2shop Business has poured this expertise into its award-winning Engagement Platform, a digital solution to help you manage your customer loyalty and reward programme.
It gathers data to help you see which rewards are proving successful with your customers and which are not having an effect. It allows you to be agile and focus on the right activity, supporting you with automated reward triggers and fulfilment to take the pressure of manually monitoring rewards off your team.
Deck the halls (and the wallets and purses)
Loyalty programmes can operate in a number of ways and adding in a colourful and festive feelgood Christmas theme just gives it that little something extra.
Consumer-facing businesses can offer loyalty bonuses in the run-up to Christmas for people who make qualifying purchases. They can be given in the form of gift cards and e-codes.
Added-value services that enhance your offer are also valued. Things like express delivery, discounts and a gift-wrapping service are all additional touches that customers love and – crucially – will remember.
Don’t think that B2B customers are excluded from this either. According to Research and data specialist Gartner, while B2B businesses are well focused on winning new customers, just 10% focus primarily on retaining existing customers.
That represents huge untapped potential for growing existing customers and taking advantage of that means making your current clients feel engaged, connected and special. You can get started right away, it doesn’t do any harm to show your suppliers how much you appreciate them at this time of year with some sort of gift or reward.
So whether your business is mainly consumer facing, or if you are operating in the B2B market, the message is the same. Loyal customers not only remember you gave them a good price, they remember you offered them a great experience.
Putting in place a well thought out, effective data-driven loyalty programme is vital if you want to see them coming back through the door – or checking out their basket – time and time again.
Contact our expert team here to see how we can support your customer loyalty strategy this Christmas.