Leveraging loyalty programs to retain customers and drive sales: loyalty programs are a suitable option for companies seeking long-term customer relationships and continued sales increase rather than a mere boost in revenue for the short term.

Author:Epstein, Tom
Position::MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS
 
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Gone are the days of consumer loyalty out of necessity. Today's consumers don't need to shop from the local grocer, merchant or restaurateur simply because they don't have other options. With easy access to transportation and an interconnected world derived through technology, today's consumers have limitless options to research, compare and purchase. They are finding opportunities to save money and will make buying decisions based on their best interests and needs.

With the continuous evolution of technologies, businesses must stay abreast of the ever-changing ways consumers find, interact and purchase goods and services to successfully gain their loyalty amid today's heavy competition. By appropriately adapting, planning and executing a loyalty program within its marketing mix, a company can capitalize on the dynamic marketplace of today's consumer spending to reach the end goal in mind: retaining customers to drive sales.

A Look at Loyalty Programs Today

A well-implemented marketing strategy engages and retains customers, which can be achieved through effective loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are a suitable option for companies seeking long-term customer relationships and continued sales increase rather than a mere boost in revenue for the short term.

There are a number of different types of loyalty programs that are customizable to match the needs and goals of a company. A more traditional program is when customers sign up for their membership on location and receive a tangible membership card. A more recent campaign allows consumers to opt-in to receive offers and notifications via their mobile device. Although the more traditional loyalty program offers face-to-face engagement, the latter is much more relevant to current consumer behavior.

According to CTIA-The Wireless Association, "95 percent of text messages are read within three minutes of being received." By engaging consumers through their preferred medium, your company is much more likely to strike a chord with them, leading to greater engagement and brand awareness. With text messaging programs, companies are able to connect with customers while they are deciding where to purchase and how much they are willing to spend. Franchise businesses can also entice missing customers or those who haven't purchased from the company for a while to come back. Throughout any point of the day or purchase, a text message loyalty program is able to reach the people your company wants, when...

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