Building virtual loyalty programmes dos and don’ts
It would be short-sighted of you to only plan for your business’ festive season success and forget to strategise how to keep as many new customers captured by your season’s offers as possible for 2012 and beyond.
In Kenyan brick and mortar businesses, particularly major supermarkets such as Nakumatt, and Uchumi, loyalty cards are the best example of persuasion instruments used to encourage customers to continue shopping there. You enjoy benefits such as points for a particular amount spent (Nakumatt and Uchumi calculate 1 point for every Kshs 100 spent currently), that can then be later redeemed for discounted goods or school fees (Nakumatt),and Safaricom airtime (Uchumi), etc.
If your website delivers a beautiful return on your marketing investment during the festive season, you should consider building a post- festive season virtual loyalty programme. How do you do this?
- Inform your consumers that they can redeem their virtual points online so that when they visit your store, they just come to pick their goods or they are delivered to them hassle-free. This means your IT infrastructure and home delivery platforms have to be pothole-free. Also include an option of availing virtual gift vouchers.
- Add other gifts such as online games to the basket of benefits that your customers can enjoy. You may be surprised to find out that some of your customers get a kick out of such ‘childish’ pastimes.
- Promote your loyalty programme on your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Build a virtual loyalty programme if your website can’t handle online payments and points redemption processes.
- Assume all your potential loyal customers want a uniform set of rewards. Survey them to find out what excites them.
- Promise your loyal followers specific rewards and then you don’t fulfill them. If you run out of stock, inform your customers in advance and provide alternatives.
Election years are normally slow for Kenyan businesses because of post-election uncertainties and 2012 won’t be any different. Building online loyalty programmes is one tactic of giving your business a fighting chance to survive and thrive.