By Source One Management Services
By Elizabeth Skipor, Senior Analyst, Source One Management Services
Did you know that the average spend of a repeat customer is 67% higher than a new shopper? All businesses need to constantly acquire new customers, while in synchrony, retain and not overlook customers whom are already loyal. Acquiring a new customer is expensive, according to Inc.com, sometimes 5-10 times the cost of retaining an existing one. Your easiest source of revenue is with those who already know and love your company, your loyal patrons.
Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize and connect with frequent customers, keep them engaged and reward them for good shopping behavior. Not only can these programs spread customer appreciation, but also directly affect your top and bottom line by shaping incremental behavior and sales.
Shoppers, in today’s consumer-centric landscape, want to know a brand or company values their loyalty and receive rewards or incentives based on their shopping habits, or they just may take their wallet to your nearest competitor. A study, conducted by ClickFox, revealed that 62% of consumers do not believe that the brands they are most loyal to are doing enough to reward them. Consumers, more than ever, are expecting more from where they spend their money. Implementing a loyalty program may help you solve this exact issue.
Loyalty programs offer a real-time, accurate look into your shopper’s behaviors -providing great insight for shaping how you directly market your brand through different channels. Many companies spend thousands, and in some cases millions, marketing to their customers through channels such as direct TV campaigns, content marketing, social media, direct mail and much more. Using a portion of your already existing budget towards an effective loyalty program, can in turn pay for itself.
In a recent study, only 12-15% of customers are loyal to a single brand and make up 55-70% of total sales (Center for Retail Management, Northwestern University). Based on this statistic, it is worth discovering if a loyalty program is worth adding to your customer engagement portfolio. Should you come to the conclusion that a loyalty program is beneficial to your business, you then need to choose the right partner to ensure you deploy the best platform possible.
Prior to sourcing a loyalty platform provider, you want to construct a detailed outline of all business requirements. This includes the current state of your loyalty program (should you already have one in place), an outline of the new loyalty benefits structure, scope of the data volume, data integration points, IT requirements, additional business platforms the program will need to integrate within (such as any POS, email or CRM platforms), reporting and analytics requirements, and how your business would like the partnership to operate, such as any strategic planning and program management.
The loyalty providers that offer strategic consulting can assist in shaping your new loyalty program, offering expertise by collecting data and information about your customer base, what your program objectives are, and work with your team side-by-side to build the best possible platform to drive incremental shopping behaviors, and in turn, into incremental sales.
Five considerations to take into account when engaging loyalty platform providers:
Technical capabilities:The provider should have the proper APIs (Application Program Interface) to seamlessly integrate with all of your current business systems. This includes integrations with CRM platforms, call-center platforms, order management platforms, POS (Point of Sale) systems, ecommerce platforms, social media integration, and email deployment platforms. The provider should also have the ability to deliver an easy-to-use customer interface via Web and mobile and real-time data updates for business employees to be able to view and address any account management questions via your consumers.
Experience within your business channel: The provider should encompass experience within the landscape your business resides. For example, if you are a retail company, the provider should have the subject matter expertise in deploying and managing retail loyalty programs, knowledge of your customer base, and strong aptitude in how loyalty programs should operate within each channel of retail operations.
Reporting and analytics: The provider should have a robust reporting tool for loyalty programs. To ensure your loyalty program is driving and increasing customer engagement and incremental sales, it is crucial to use the data input from the program to measure its performance. Analytics is essential in understanding your customer’s experience and encourages constant loyalty program improvement. From this data, your business will be able to create continuous positive experiences for your customer to drive and cultivate long-term customer loyalty and profitability.
Partnership: If your business is looking for a more strategic partnership with a potential loyalty platform provider, then identifying a provider of choice with the ability to provide ongoing consulting about the performance of your program is key. Be sure to assess the firm’s ability to continually grow and re-vamp the program.
Program management: Critical to your program’s success is how it is managed as well as the relationship you have with your provider. Providers should be able to support a number of program components including marketing strategy, enhancement, rewards management and performance analytics.
When assessing contending platform providers, ask for references, case studies, proven results, and capability demonstrations to evaluate what solution is best for your objectives. In addition, at least one single point of contact should be provided to assist in the day-to-day operations. This contact will be responsible for learning and understanding your core objective participating throughout strategic planning, and addressing any discrepancies or concerns with the platform or relationship.
There’s no doubt loyalty programs are a win-win for both businesses and customers. The key, however, is selecting the right provider that aligns with your company culture and goals. When selecting a best-fit provider, be sure to keep in mind how these considerations relate to your company’s core objectives.
Elizabeth Skipor is a Senior Analyst at Source One Management Services, helping mid-market to Fortune 500 companies achieve cost savings and budget optimization through strategic sourcing and contract management best practices. Before joining Source One, she was an assistant category manager/category specialist for a major US retailer, and a global inventory manager for an international and domestic garment component manufacturer.
Source One has been a leading Procurement Service Provider supplementing client resources with cost reduction, strategic sourcing services and spend management solutions since 1992.
Source One's experienced sourcing professionals work closely with clients' in-house staff to reduce spend, optimize existing budgets and increase the efficiency of operations by using proven sourcing and purchasing strategies, best practices, innovative technologies, and an unsurpassed database of market intelligence to help clients achieve the maximum level of savings possible. Ongoing monitoring and monthly audit processes further ensure that savings remain competitive and sustainable.
The Source One process develops a secure and responsive supply base that is capable of providing quality, delivery, costs, technologies, flexibility and services to meet the current and future business needs. Source One has strategic sourcing and cost reduction solutions for businesses of all sizes, from the small to the mid-market and including the Fortune 500. More on the web at www.SourceOneInc.com
George E. Krauter
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