“Businesses with loyalty programs, on average, are 88% more profitable than competitors who do not.” -Deloitte Retail Survey
Coupons and discounts get traffic to your website and entice new people to purchase from you, but how do you get them to stay or return once they have placed that first order? Of course, continually do your research to stay relevant with other stores, but using customer clubs and booklets can hook people in too.
A customer club, also known as a loyalty program, is a group you create out of customers who regularly patronize your store. Most customers are familiar with loyalty programs, and many join these programs for the added benefits. There are multiple kinds of programs you can set up for your store to reward returning customers.
The first option is to have a tiered system, allowing people to move up in benefits as they spend more at your online store. For example: low spenders in a beginners or “Bronze Members” club, moderate spenders in a “Silver Members” club, big spenders in a “Gold Members” club, and very heavy spenders in a “Platinum Members” Club. This tiered system allows you to target your benefits to specific customers on each platform.
Want to see this tiered system in action? Check out how Sephora uses this strategy with their Beauty Insider loyalty program:
Another type of program would be a points club. For every amount of money a customer spends, they get x amount of points, and after x amount of points, they get a reward. This reward could be 1 free item, 1 free shipping order or some other highly coveted reward that encourages them to spend. Setting up a system to keep track of the points can be a challenge with this club, but there are lots of software programs created to assist with this type of points system.
Making the club more like a game is another way to entice users to spend a little more. This program would also take quite a bit of set up, but once the game is established it will prove quite lucrative to your online store. The idea is to have levels of spending unlock a new part of the game, generally themed to your online store, and opportunities in the game to win something from your online store, such as a free item or a coupon code.
All of these club ideas are very enticing to your customers, but are also a challenge to get set up at the beginning. If you are just starting out, or would like to test run a customer club first you can create one large group of Club Members who are allowed to join after a minimum-spending amount. If the club works for you, and is not an issue for you to keep up with take it to the next level with one of the ideas above.
Other platforms for club members to achieve membership in your program that are not related to purchases can be customers who follow all of your social media accounts, customers who repost your sales, or reviewers. These people are helping promote your store, and rewarding them gets your name out there to a broader network.
Once you have your club, send out rewards to these customers that other customers not in the program would want. Entice other people to want to join your club! Give members a jumpstart on the discounts, higher discounts, or more coupons than are generally offered and tell everyone about it. “Congratulations to our club members on unlocking new sales! Coupons up to x amount off of x product!”
Using this “look at me” method of advertising pushes customers to spend just that little bit more to feel special too. If their order comes to just under the threshold and there are more benefits if they spend just that little bit more, most customers will take the plunge and join your program. As we discussed earlier in chapter 2, here would be a great place to offer free shipping with a certain amount of spending. Or you could offer coupons with purchase, as you read in chapter 3. Any of the discounts or coupons we already went over in previous chapters can be applied to your customer clubs.
A great tool that can give your online store the jump on sales is a coupon booklet. This helps keep you organized and prepared as well. A coupon booklet is exactly what it sounds like- a list of coupons and times they are available.
This helps you plan out and promote your sales without being rushed into them. Having an organized plan, even just for 3 months or so, can keep your online store sales promotions and product stock on a schedule that is easy to manage.
Additionally, sending out these coupon booklets with your sales schedule is another promotion method for your online store! Sending out booklets to members of your club or those in your email list lets them know to prepare for sales. If customers are torn on the price of an item, or are looking at a competitor’s store knowing there is a sale coming in advance can make them change their minds and purchase from you. There is another opportunity for your Members Only Club here also- their coupon booklets could have wider dates to attain the sale, or an extra coupon added to their booklet.
If you use a coupon booklet, you can plan ahead for some sales and still leave room for discounts or other coupons you want to do at the same time. This way, you have at least one sale planned and ready to go, but if you have extra inventory or another idea you can still have another sale not in the booklet.
Customer Clubs and Coupon Booklets are excellent options to have ready for your online store. Once you have the hang of using discounts and coupons, up your game with one or both of these methods to really take your store to the next professional level. In the next chapter, we will discuss how to keep your sales fresh and exciting to customers, how to adapt to trends for more profit, and how to reuse popular discounts.