Shopify and Clover merchants are always on the look-out for tools that can give them a marketing edge and improve their bottom line.  A strong loyalty program is one of the best tools to promote return visits and higher customer spending. Here are 7 tips to make the most out of your customer loyalty program.

#1          Offer value to your customers

  • Your customers need to be motivated to participate in your loyalty program, so pick rewards that they will want to earn. The simpler and more immediate, the better. For instance, use instant in-store credits vs a complicated points-accumulation plan.
  • Choose rewards that align with a customer’s regular purchasing habits, or reward them with your signature items, or both.
  • Consider personalizing the rewards you offer to each customer based on their needs and purchasing preferences.

#2          Tie the reward back to your company

  • Inject your brand’s unique flair into your loyalty program if you can, down to every reward you choose.
  • If your reward offers a benefit from your company, it works as an incentive to keep customers coming back.  For example, you could offer in store credits towards their next purchase with you, free products, free shipping, or discounts on your products.  However, discounts have a tendency to condition your customers to expect reduced prices on every purchase and reduce your brand value.

#3          Balance quick and instant rewards with premium ones for high-value customers

  • Not every reward should be hard to earn. Consider having some elements activate instantly upon joining, to kick-start customers’ motivation.
  • But pull out all the stops for the VIPs who make a large amount of purchases from you, with higher-value incentives.

#4          Make sure rewards are enticing for customers and cost-effective for business

  • This will also come down to how you structure your loyalty program. For example, how many purchases it takes to earn a certain reward?  Store credits are an increasingly popular reward system. One example is the structure of Kohl’s Cash: “Earn $10 cash for every $50 you spend.”  For every given dollar amount spent, customers participating in these rewards programs receive credit to use on a later purchase.

#5          A great loyalty plan is frictionless

  • Joining and using a loyalty program should be easy. People don’t want to divulge all their personal information at sign up, especially if they are signing up at check out. Nor do most people have room for another card in their wallets.   A note on enrolling members: While people may not love being asked to join at check out, it still is one of the most effective places to enroll customers. It doesn’t have to be a tedious process. Often just a phone number is sufficient. It also helps to make it clear what the sign-up process is like. Make sure customers know it’s easy and be sure to reveal the benefits of the program upfront.

#6          Make your loyalty campaign repeatable

  • The difference between an offer and a loyalty program lies in the ability of the customer to repeat the process. If customers only get the offer, discount, or deal after their second purchase, it’s not going to entice them back in for a third or fourth purchase.  Likewise, if it requires dozens of purchase to get the first reward, it may seem a bit out of reach and decrease a customer’s likelihood to participate. Programs with a repeatable process increase usage. There are many ways to make a program repeatable. It is not as much about the offer as it is about keeping members interested in the program. Keep in mind the timeframe in which you’d like customers to come back.

#7          A good loyalty program compels action from customers

  • The loyalty program should encourage members to take action. A compelling offer is something the customer wants and is willing to work for. It should require some work on the customer’s part, but not so much that they give up.  Point systems were one of the most prominent reward methods in the past. However, more and more, loyalty programs are replacing points with other, more compelling rewards. Many companies have found that points don’t encourage usage nearly as much as tangible rewards that make your customer feel more connected to the business.