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Best Practice Tips for Retail Loyalty Programmes

Best Practice Tips for Retail Loyalty Programmes

When people think of retail loyalty programmes, they often think of old stamp cards lying somewhere at the bottom of their wallet. Thankfully, that’s in the past (for the most part). 

Loyalty programmes have gone from being inefficient and difficult to track, to becoming useful marketing tools that help retail merchants translate customer data into personalised, interactive campaigns that drive more repeat purchases and brand fidelity. 

If you want to launch a successful retail loyalty programme, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how your loyalty programme fits into your customer journey. We’re going to cover our top tips to take your loyalty programme to the next level. Let’s get started. 

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Building customer loyalty goes beyond your loyalty programme. Stay ahead of trends and impress shoppers with future-proof digital strategies.

Ditch physical loyalty programme cards

No one needs another card to carry around. Tying a customer’s loyalty programme membership to their customer profile in your POS benefits both of you.

For the customer, it means automatically earning points on sales with their customer profile attached. No need to bring out a card or add an extra step during the checkout process. For you, it means you can start gathering important purchase history data you can use to personalise your marketing campaigns.

Offer omnichannel customer loyalty

Your customers should be earning points on both their online and in-store purchases. Your marketing campaigns should recognise what channels a loyalty programme member uses. Your online orders should reward the same points as any other purchase your customer makes, whether that be an in-store purchase or a collection.

Simplify enrolment and points redemption

If getting signed up for your retail loyalty programme is a hassle, you’ll turn customers off before they’ve even redeemed their first reward. 

Having to swap between your POS app and your loyalty programme manager to redeem points at checkout will make using any points customers have accumulated too time-consuming to bother with.

Using a loyalty programme integrated with your iPad POS app—like Lightspeed Loyalty is—solves these problems. You still get all the benefits of a portable, cloud-based POS while being able to quickly manage and use your loyalty programme as customers pay. 

The checkout screen will show you the rewards available to customers and how many points a customer has earned and redeemed at the completion of a sale, so you don’t waste any time. You’ll also be able to easily enrol customers in a number of ways—through their phone, email address or customer profile—so getting started with your loyalty programme isn’t a drag. 

Use email and SMS messages

75% of customers come back to a retailer’s store or website after receiving an offer. The real challenge, however, is getting customers to actually see these offers. 

The most successful retail loyalty programmes use both emails and SMS messages to send offers to customers, which maximises the probability that the offer is seen.

You shouldn’t rely exclusively on emails to send relevant offers to customers. Email open rates for the retail industry average 10.81%, and clickthrough rates—the rate at which customers follow a link in your email—average 8.19%. It’s important to acknowledge that while these rates may seem low, email marketing still has a high ROI for many businesses.

Surveys have shown that 91% of respondents were interested in signing up for text messages from brands. Studies also show that people check their phones upwards of 80 times per day. Additionally, SMS messages have an 82% open rate. The probability of a customer seeing your offer when it’s sent by SMS message is substantially higher than with emails. Make sure to use a mixture of both to improve your awareness of any customer loyalty programmes or offers you have available.

Pick your touch points carefully

Make sure your messaging is relevant to the customer you’re sending it to. Bombarding customers with emails and SMS messages of repeat content they don’t care about will drive them away.

Not every customer needs to be informed about every sale, new item, and store update in both their email inbox and their text messages. The point isn’t to wear customers down; it’s to stay in contact so you’re top-of-mind without annoying them.

Let’s say, for example, we’re a beauty supply retailer developing our loyalty campaigns. We want to send customers a monthly newsletter, let them know about sales, and keep them informed of seasonal product drops. That means we have three objectives we need to create either an email or an SMS message for.

The newsletter should be an email campaign. A good newsletter will be longer than you can communicate over text message, and should contain enticing images (and even video—as a beauty supply retailer, we might want to include videos showing products in use and makeup tutorials). We’ll need to be sure we’re avoiding common spam words and enticing people to open by being honest about the email’s contents.

Sales notifications might work best as SMS messages, because you can catch customers as they’re checking their phone sooner than you might be able to catch them over email. These should be short, did-you-know messages that let your loyalty programme members know they can get 15% off, or a free product with purchase or whatever the details of our sale are. We’ll want to keep these messages sparse—don’t bombard customers with text messages! Make it easy to opt out so customers know you respect their time, and sweeten the deal with a promo code they get for being a loyalty programme member. 

Seasonal product releases could be communicated either through email or SMS messages. We could implement A/B testing to see which is more effective, but we shouldn’t send both to the same customer. Keep them brief and make it easy to opt out so customers feel in control of the communication. Be conversational, let them know new products are in stock, and link them to your eCommerce store. 

Leverage your customer data 

It doesn’t matter how well-crafted your emails and SMS texts are if they’re not relevant to the customer. Offering special deals, promotions, discounts, and gifts is part of a loyalty campaign, but so too is building a personalised connection with your customers. 

Purely transactional incentives with no personalised value are dime-a-dozen; they don’t build a relationship with your customer. A well-crafted retail loyalty programme steps out of the discounts and price reductions comfort zone and brings a more personalised touch to the table.

Start by using your customer data (like their purchase history) to know what products and services they like and sending them rewards based on those preferences. Your point of sale (POS) can help you do just that. 

With Lightspeed, you can create customer groups based on shared demographic information, purchase history, location, method of payment and special days (like birthdays).  

Lightspeed Loyalty customer groups

Once you have your groups set up and ready, you can just choose an email template, add your text, photos, subject line, and select the groups you want to send the email to. 

Lightspeed Loyalty custom group emails


Next, send the emails and analyse your results afterward to see how you can improve your next emails. 

Tip: With Lightspeed, you can also send SMS messages to your customer groups.

Personalise your promotions 

To build long-lasting relationships with customers (and increase their lifetime value), you have to consistently show them that your business has what they need. Rather than offering generic rewards, use your customer data and offer personalised promotions that matter to the customer. 

If a customer typically purchases new items at full-price, consider adding them to a customer group that will be targeted with emails promoting products that are new in-store. Those customers probably value being the first to buy a new item rather than older items that are being liquidated. 

There are plenty of ways that you can personalise your retail loyalty programme’s promotions:

  • Birthday offers
  • Advanced previews of new collections
  • Discount rates on items based on past purchase preferences
  • Giveaways
  • Special event invitations

Providing consistent branding across all channels helps make the shopping experience more memorable.  

Launch a referral programme 

Referral programmes are a great way to incentivise your existing customers to recommend your business to their friends and family. Customers are more likely to trust referrals that come from people they know—word of mouth marketing is advertising you don’t need to pay for directly.

Consider incentivising your existing customers to share special promo codes with their friends by offering them a kickback, giveaway, or promotion. For example, for every customer they refer, they get a discount towards their next purchase. 

Offering loyal customers the chance to refer friends or family and win points or rewards is a great way to make your customers happy and get new potential customers in exchange.

Grow your business with a loyalty programme

Investing in your customers is not just great for your brand image, but also your bottom line. Your existing customers can be worth up to ten times more than their original purchase. 

And that’s where a loyalty programme that’s synced with your retail point of sale really shines. 

When both work seamlessly with one another, you can fully leverage your customer data, maximize how existing customers spend and incentivise them to recommend your business to their friends and family. 

That adds up to increased sales from both existing and new customers and stronger customer relationships. Loyalty programmes are customer-centric marketing, done right. 

With Lightspeed Loyalty, you get an easy-to-use integrated loyalty tool that allows your customers to collect points and allows you to reach out to customers through email and SMS. If you’re interested in getting set up with Loyalty, let’s chat. 

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More of this topic: Customer Experience