Everyone loves getting cashback, earning coupons and redeeming compiled points for gifts. Through the utilization of innovative loyalty and rewards programs, it has been shown that businesses can provide deals and steals all while building relationships with customers that will ensure loyalty.

The first step in the rewards programs process is determining if you offer the products or services that would work well with one. Retailers, whether grocery stores or spas, are known for their rewards and loyalty programs for a reason; they offer products that consumers will need to repurchase often. But even if you operate in a niche industry or offer a unique product, certain reward programs could be the right fit for you.

But while these various program methods, if used strategically, do increase customer retention, they result in more than the same customer returning time and time again, such as:

  • Differentiates your brand from competitors
  • Shows customer appreciation and builds stronger relationships
  • Increases revenue
  • Entices first time customers and stimulates word of mouth marketing
  • Offer opportunities to track customer feedback via surveys through reward program emails and reminders

So now that you know the benefits of enforcing a rewards program, you need to know the type that will both satisfy you and your customers. Here are five effective loyalty program types:

  1. Point Program
  2. The point program is one of the most common and simplistic programs that businesses utilize. Usually accompanied by a free set-up and membership account, point programs record the value of purchases, convert them into points, and allow the consumer to redeem them at a later date for savings. It’s just that easy.

    While points programs do not provide instant rewards for the consumer, it can entice them to continue shopping with a specific company in order to build their point balance for great redemptions in the future. When constructing a points program for your business, it is important to build the reward options that will not only satisfy the member but also ensure that high ticket items are not handed out too frequently.

  3. Punch Card Program
  4. Lets travel back to when wallets were filled with small businesses cards with sporadic punched holes throughout them. No, we are not saying to start up the printer and find your nearest hole punch, but we are saying to use the general idea behind them.

    While punch card loyalty programs have now mostly turned digital, the general concept is clever; people buy so much of something, they get a free or discounted one. If you sell a product or service that could easily transfer to a punch card service, there are a multitude of online and digital services that will allow customers to carry their punch card in an app.

  5. Paid Membership Program
  6. This type of program is a paid membership, usually an annual fee, that allows customers to unlock special benefits once they have joined. This membership requires more commitment than a first time shopper might be willing to give, so it might be best to start with target existing, already loyal consumers to join the program.

    Here's how it works: Once members are a part of the paid program, every time they visit your store they are eligible for the same benefits. For example some companies may offer 10% off of everything and an additional 30% off of clearance with a $25 yearly paid membership. Whatever you decide to offer, this type of membership plan will surely entice frequent shoppers and encourage more to visit again.

  7. Charity Program
  8. While everyone loves money, many prefer their money to go toward programs and groups. This is where the charity program option comes in. This type of program is when a company and charitable organization partner together to offer customers the option of spending their rewards points on someone else.

    Just like a points program, customers will build up credit based on their purchase size which will be stored in their account, but instead of redeeming it for free items, the points convert into a monetary value that can be donated to the organization of the customers choice. Not only will you build relationships with organizations, but you will also offer your customers a unique way to give.

No matter the type of business you operate, gaining and keeping customers is imperative to success. Whether you chose the simplistic digital punch card or to build charity partnerships for customers to donate to, offering unique reward programs is a great way to entice new shoppers and reward returners.

Interested in learning the various ways to make your brand noticeable and attract clientele? Inner Spark Creative can help. By brainstorming the options that are ideal for your specific company and product, the experts at Inner Spark Creative are sure to help your audience grow.

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