It’s no secret that businesses across most industries and sectors have their proverbial backs against the wall. The COVID-19 lockdowns and economic pressure, along with major disruption to operations, has forced business decisions into a corner. Fortunately there is a way out – loyalty programmes.
The COVID-19 crisis left many a business in its wake, including the likes of retail giant Edcon, which entered into voluntary business rescue after losing R2-billion under lockdown conditions.
Businesses must continue to operate or face closure and that is why a reduction in lockdown restrictions is so important. It represents a chance for brands to reengage customers.
South Africa has always been a brand-conscious market, but these days the consumer has become a lot more discerning and, amid the pandemic, recognises the value of loyalty rewards and programmes in the value chain, says LoyaltyPlus.
LoyaltyPlus is a leading independent customer relationship management company and has over 25 years’ experience in the development and application of cutting-edge programmes and partnerships – and its leadership in helping businesses ensure their customers remain loyal to their brands while optimising all touchpoints and customer experiences.
It argues that as more businesses, especially small-to-medium sized operations, return to full operation under reduced lockdown phases, there is a significant opportunity to engage the customer with rewards-based programmes.
The objective is not only to possibly attract new customers, but also retain those who have been separated from their brands for an extended period of time.
Retail rewards still dominate the loyalty programme landscape, according to Business Tech online.
LoyaltyPlus executives point to Starbucks as an example of a global brand that responded to the crisis in a way that actually help build its business.
An article published by Independent Online details how, when faced with the pandemic, the business had to close down stores in China and then further afield internationally.
Rather than fold under the pressure, Starbucks reacted well and sustained operations, and ensured their loyal customers could still access hubs for takeaway and delivery orders. As the article says “Significant scale advantage offers Starbucks unmatched flexibility in supply negotiations and product pricing, which leads to durability.”
LoyaltyPlus says there are a few considerations behind creating a solid customer loyalty program. These include:
1.Choose a great name.
2.Create deeper meaning.
3.Reward a variety of customer actions.
4.Offer a variety of rewards.
5.Make your “points” valuable.
6.Structure non-monetary rewards around your customers’ values.
7.Provide multiple opportunities for customers to enroll.
Once in place, a credible programme will help boost the brand reputation, increase sales, provides insight into the market, rewards customers – it really is an effective marketing tool!