Customer loyalty programs have been around for several years now. At first, loyalty programs were either punch cards or tags we keep on our keychains. And these initial programs were a decent way for businesses to measure customer purchase amounts. And so, the more money a customer would spend with a business, the quicker they would earn rewards.
These programs were a good starting point for in-store purchases, but with the growth of e-commerce sales, how will a customer use a punch card on a computer or mobile device? And this now became the new challenge for many businesses that have cross-channel sales points. As a result, some businesses are either completing ignoring customer loyalty programs for their online sales or are running different loyalty programs for their channels.
It is pretty obvious why ignoring a customer loyalty program for any sales channel is a bad idea. First off, businesses could be losing online sales to competitors who have a customer loyalty program for their online sales. Secondly, valuable customer data is lost out on. And with the growth of e-commerce sales, there is a large percentage of customers who only shop online. As a result, if a business is doesn’t have a loyalty program for their online section, then how are they collecting customer data? So the next time a promotion is run on a product that specific online-only customers are interested in, they will miss out.
Now there might be some people thinking, what is the harm in running multiple loyalty programs? From a customer point-of-view, running multiple programs can be confusing, especially if the structure of the programs are different. Customers may not be sure how they will earn rewards and as a result, customers will begin to stop participating in the loyalty program. And from a business point-of-view, there could have multiple profiles for the same customer. Leaving businesses to struggle with customer segmentation and targeted communications.
The solution for multi-channel businesses operating a customer loyalty program is to adopt an omni-channel approach. With an omni-channel loyalty program businesses can connect with their customers in a seamless and simple manner, that fosters conversations, instead of a sales-pitch. The whole purpose of a customer loyalty program is to increase customer retention, meaning your customers are continuously returning to do business with you. The previous two approaches encour a potential point where customers stop returning.
For an example of a successful omni-channel customer loyalty program, take a look the new GNC loyalty program, One New GNC. The Customer Insight Group recently wrote a blog post on the success of GNC’s newest loyalty program.
With GNC’s old loyalty program, there was multiple pricing structures for their in-store loyalty members and online loyalty members. As a result, customers were confused and participation rates dropped. Now One New GNC is an omni-channel customer loyalty program that has the customer in mind first.
With One New GNC, the multiple pricing structure system was removed, leaving customers with one-standard pricing model, regardless of in-store and online purchases. And GNC has begun to reap the rewards of their omni-channel approach. According to their CEO, Robert Moran, 7.3 million members have joined the program and customer retention has increased by 50%, year-over-year. Additionally, GNC has collected 3X more customer data then they did 6 months ago.
So what is the lesson of the day? Not everyone can expect to see the same results as GNC, but what can be expected is customer retention and customer participation will increase through an omni-channel customer loyalty program. With an omni-channel approach, loyalty program structures eliminate any customer confusion, leading to increased participation.
Contact us today, through the below form, to find out how you can easily set-up your omni-channel customer loyalty program. And to stay up-to-date with more customer retention and loyalty program tips, subscribe to our blog post.