Customer loyalty programs have one major goal: to protect the customer relationship so that customers keep coming back. Giving customers an enticing incentive to return to your market is an excellent way to turn one-time visitors into regular shoppers.

Here are 4 reasons to start a customer loyalty program at your market.

Customers want loyalty programs

Studies show that 80% of people are more likely to shop at a store that has a customer loyalty program. More than half of these people join for the perceived financial savings and just less than half join for the rewards themselves. Regular customers shop more often and spend about 75% more per purchase than new customers do.

The reward needs to be meaningful to the customer – and effortless enough for your market – that there is a true feeling of getting something worthwhile on each side.

Customer loyalty programs attract more customers

Repeat customers give and give – and we’re not just talking about purchases. Since everybody loves savings, regulars who are happy with the loyalty program are likely to bring new customers to your market. More customers mean a bigger bottom line.

Customer loyalty programs bring more money to your market

A study of 1,000 small business owners found that they spend more than half their time and budget focused on existing customers. It’s a good strategy because it costs a business about 5 to 10 times more to acquire new customers than it does to sell more to an existing one. Repeat customers do spend more – about 75% more than a new shopper does. Encouraging shopper loyalty gives a market the best bang for its buck since it nurtures and magnifies the loyal customer-market relationships that already exist.

Customer loyalty programs nurture the market community

Great loyalty programs bring people together by creating a sense of shared experience and a respected relationship. They multiply the good vibe feel by making your customers feel truly special.

Loyalty program best practices and watch-outs

Loyalty cannot be won by incentives if basic customer service needs are not being met; if product availability and selection are limited, and/or if shopping experiences are not pleasant.

Loyalty is also built through effective communication, so loyalty programs require markets to get better at communicating with customers: in person at the market, in posters and handouts, and (very importantly) online via emails, Facebook pages, and your market’s website.

A program will not work without on-site staff or volunteers to administer the program all day, every day. Otherwise, you will end up delivering poor customer service. There must be someone to help customers sign up for the program, redeem their points, coupons, stamped cards or special offers—and answer questions about how the program works.

Above all else, remember that the main goal of creating your customer loyalty program should be to protect and nurture the relationships with your customers. To gain more useful knowledge and receive actionable examples of customer loyalty programs, get your Ontario Market Manager Certification.