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How to increase and improve sales with eCommerce Loyalty Programs

Philipe da Silva
19 Sep 2018

When you’re selling online, you want to do everything you can in order to engage customers and keep them returning on a regular basis. Loyalty programs and reward cards can be implemented as a way to improve engagement, sales, and customer loyalty.

Forms of Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are nothing new. Long before eCommerce entered the equation, companies would give out cards to be hole-punched each time customers came in so that when the card was full, it was worth a free item or a discount on the total purchase.

Many companies are utilizing loyalty programs as a means to drive business further. Often, eCommerce loyalty programs consist of issuing points for purchases and total dollars spent. Starbucks and Walgreens, for example, offer real-time rewards programs utilizing their apps.

When taking your business to the next level, you need to move beyond a punch card and begin offering a powerful incentive program that adds real value to the customer, that will justify them choosing your company instead of a competitor. It also brings new KPIs like DORO – Direct and Organic Recurrent Orders – to effectively measure your customer’s evolution and engagement with your company.

Improving the Experience

It’s not simply about offering a discount. Many eCommerce loyalty programs fail due to lack of follow-through as a result of a lack of technology and consistency on the campaigns. You have to remember to engage your customers every step of the way; give them a helpful nudge when needed. Remind them to download the app or sign up for the loyalty program. Provide emails to them on a regular basis so that they can keep up with their points balance. It’s important to keep them abreast and to inspire interest.

Further, you have to make sure that people are using their points. Too often, people allow their points to accumulate and don’t redeem because they don’t know how or they aren’t reminded to redeem. There’s no point in offering a loyalty program if people aren’t going to benefit from it; you have to make it part of the campaign to consistently remind your customers of the benefits that await them; this drives interest, which leads to conversions.

You also have to ensure that the rewards are beneficial. For example, are the points providing a benefit to customers? If there aren’t a large number of redemptions, it might be time to reach out and conduct a survey with those who are members of your loyalty program. The points should be redeemable for discounts, free products, or various “special” offers.

Often, there are issues when you integrate reward cards or loyalty programs with your e-commerce platform. You need to be able to issue points or give credit automatically when customers purchase online. This information needs to be automated in real time so that it updates and displays in their accounts.

Otherwise, if people have to submit copies of receipts or send comments to customer service, it is going to be too time-consuming and therefore ineffective. Therefore, the more automated it happens, the more seamless and intuitive, the better. This also gives a more positive impression of your overall customer service, which communicates to your customers that your company has them in mind, at all times.

Build Better Customer Relationships

You can use loyalty programs in order to build more profitable relationships with your customers. Whether they are getting cash back, points, or another type of reward, you need to make sure that it is beneficial to both you and your customers. Ensure that it is attractive to all of your engaged customers. Also, as you get more people involved in the rewards program, be sure that you continue to communicate effectively to ensure the system remains focused and positive.

For example, a newsletter can be sent out regularly to your customers to remind them not only of the existence of the loyalty program but also their point levels and how they can be redeemed. This keeps the communication going while building interest. It can serve to trigger your customers to want to learn more, while also giving them a reason to shop with you knowing they will benefit further than a single transaction.

There is more competition in the world than ever before; staying ahead of others in your market is extremely important. In order to be successful in your business, reducing costs and generating greater efficiency is a necessity. Along these lines, building and maintaining long-term relationships with your customers is especially valuable, as repeat customers present a greater return on investment per marketing efforts. This can be a more cost-effective strategy than just constantly winning new customers who do not purchase again in the future, while loyalty rewards are a great way to build and maintain these relationships.

Don’t forget: It’s important to offer a quality digital experience to consumers, presenting the overall value of shopping with you. This is the foundation of why they will continue coming back to your eCommerce.

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