Guide for launching loyalty for small and medium-sized business

You are the owner of a restaurant, a pizzeria, a coffee shop, a convenience store. You heard that 20 percent of customers bring 80 percent of income, and you have set a goal to increase the length of the visitor’s check.

After realizing that a loyalty program can help with this problem, you decided to find a platform to run it. Of course, the Internet is full of websites that promise you to build your consumers’ loyalty. The amount of information is enormous, the selection criteria are not clear, and you are disturbed by uncertainty.

In this article, we will help you define the evaluation criteria and will talk about the first steps towards the building of your loyalty program.

When we were bringing the inCust loyalty program platform to the market, we identified three key criteria.

First, we aim to let small businesses instantly connect customers to the loyalty program. This is an essential component: the profit of our clients depends on the speed of adding new customers to the loyalty program. To ensure that the loyalty program does not result in losses to your business, you need to take into account many factors, including the separation of customers to those who carry plastic cards and those who use only a smartphone and sometimes a bank card. You need to cover all categories, from students to those already retired, with your program.

Second, we decided that the ease of creating and deploying a loyalty program is equally important. We understood that small and medium businesses rarely have extensive expertise in information technology. So for a business to survive, the simplicity of program launch with maximum speed and minimum resources is vital.

Third, we have set the requirement that the first loyalty program of small and medium businesses should allow not just to retain customers and increase their loyalty and the sum of an average check, but do this automatically. When you are just starting a business, significant personnel flow is possible, and there is no possibility to allocate a dedicated person to manage a loyalty program or to devote the needed time to it.

After analyzing the existing solutions, we in inCust have identified three differences between our platform and the alternatives.

The first difference: 15 minutes is exactly the time needed to train personnel to work the new loyalty program. At the same time, the profit of small and medium businesses that use the inCust platform grows by at least 7.5%. 

The second difference is that a customer’s mobile phone number is the primary identifier in your loyalty program. With the help of inCust, an entrepreneur does not need to issue plastic cards or buy additional equipment. Businesses get feedback from real customers via the chatbot, mobile app, SMS, or social networks.

The third difference is the set of offered instruments. The inCust platform covers all stages of customer interaction, from attracting them to handling sales, to staying in contact with customers to collecting feedback and ratings from them to bringing customers back to your business. 

With inCust, the business almost immediately gains an increase in profitability, fixed costs are reduced, existing POS and accounting systems are used more profitably, and customers feel their value and their importance to the business. Other great things happen as well: brand awareness grows, warehouse stocks are optimized, sales personnel are motivated, and most importantly, you can build an up-to-date customer database.

Now we’ll show you how it all becomes a reality.

First of all, it is necessary to understand the financial goal of creating a loyalty program. Usually, business defines two objectives: increase the sum of the average check and increase the frequency of visits.

The increase of the sum of the average check is based on the usual customer psychology: if there are bonus points on my account, I can afford to buy more today, because I will pay part of the purchase with bonus points, which, in turn, will allow me to earn even more bonus points. Verified: bonus programs allow you to increase the sum of the average check. Bonus systems are the magnet for customers.

inCust suggests: if you still have not decided what type of your first loyalty program to choose (bonus, discount, with game mechanics or reward points) – the bonus loyalty program will be a win-win option.

The frequency of visits can be increased by sending a message to the customer after each visit; such a message would indicate the number of bonus points in their wallet. Year after year, we see the same picture: customers do not delete these messages! Moreover, they keep returning to them periodically. Also, you need to remind customers about yourself: messages about a new product or service, congratulations on a customer’s birthday, etc.

If you achieve these two goals by, for example, increasing the frequency of visits from one per month to one in three weeks, profits will grow by 25%.

Also, the business gets new tools to attract and retain customers. You will be able to publish news inside the inCust mobile app, and this news will be read by all your customers. You can publish coupons on the Internet, in social networks, and in printed materials, issue gift certificates, engage customers into recommending your business to their friends, and utilize many other instruments that the platform offers.

It is worth remembering that a reduction in costs is equivalent to an increase in profits. While reducing costs, we increase the flow of customers, reduce spending on advertising, and optimize the losses on discounts. 

Let’s look at the last aspect. By providing an instant discount, you reduce your profit. And bonus points are a delayed discount. According to statistics, as much as 33% of the credited bonus points will never be redeemed. By using periodical reminders, we optimize the use of these bonus points, driving them to the goods or services that we need to sell.

Finally, we do not forget about the customers. By including them in the loyalty program, we show them that we care. We do not force them to carry a plastic card — the mobile phone is enough for us. We let them spend bonus points at any time and provide access to all bonus statistics. We inform customers: our users are the first people who will receive information about promotions, offers, and discounts. We can offer gift certificates and unique terms of service.

All in all, we allow customers to not only save bonus points but also to spend. And these are two pleasures, not one.

A few words about the indirect but real additional benefits:

Let’s take brand recognition. The modern world is a world of relations. To strengthen the relationship, you must make customers remember about you in a positive manner. For this, we include the logo, pictures, and other images in each message to the customer.

A loyalty program can let you deal with the stock of your goods more efficiently. Do you have items poorly sold? You can not just sell them at a reduced price, but attract attention and incentivize the purchase of such items using bonus points.

The loyalty program allows motivating your salespeople. Using the inCust platform, you can track sales at each point of sale and get private feedback from customers.

All the above benefits can be achieved when you have built a comprehensive customer database. Therefore, the primary task of every business is to create such a database. The technologies used on the inCust platform allow not only to build the first database and continuously expand it but also to segment customers according to various criteria: by check size, by frequency of visits, by loyalty period, by the interval between visits.

In addition to the above mentioned, the inCust platform contains many other tools and instruments for driving your business. To get full access to them, you need to take several steps:

  1. Register in the inCust service – it’s free
  2. Set up a simple bonus program, if you do not have much experience and do not want to take a risk
  3. Install the inCust Terminal application on any salesperson’s smartphone or tablet at the point of sale.

… and start building a loyalty program and establishing friendships with customers. After some time, you will have a database of customers that will stay loyal with the help of the inCust platform.

Finally, we need to note that no technical system can replace a high-quality product or service. Train your salespeople and do everything possible to see customers not just as a source of income but also as friends.

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