An important task for any business is to develop a comprehensive understanding of your competition. We see this even beyond business, for example sports teams spend a lot of time watching videos of their opponents. For businesses the first step is to identify your competitors. Once you know who your competitors are it is important to discover what makes you different. If your competitors aren’t offering a loyalty rewards program to their customers it can be a great opportunity for you to stand out.
- Stand out with a loyalty program
If none of your competitors are using a rewards program you get to set the path. That means your customers are not used to a certain loyalty program structure so you have the freedom to try something new. Your business will set itself apart from competitors by being the first to offer a rewards program. While this is uncommon in the B2C world we see this often with our B2B clients.
- Develop a program to keep up with your competitors
If your competitors already have a loyalty rewards program you need to understand how it works. Beyond learning the basic loyalty program structure, take time to learn about special benefits and promotions that they are using. It can even be helpful for you to know what customers do and don’t like about the rewards program. Your customers will compare you to your competitors especially if your loyalty programs are similar.
- Go beyond points and percentage off
Whether you developed your program to stand out or to keep up with your competitors it is important to go beyond the basics. Don’t just emulate what your competition is doing, figure out a way to be different. For example in the c-store space anyone and everyone has a gas discount of some sort. What sets a c-store loyalty program apart is what they are doing beyond the gas discount. Copying will keep you on the same level but you want to go above and beyond to reward your loyal customers. This doesn’t mean you need to discount more or give away additional free products, you can reward your customers by giving them soft benefits like early access to sales or a new product. You can also differentiate your program by adding a game element using social media or a mobile app.
Having a loyalty program to reward your customers is not a new idea. One of the greatest things about a loyalty program is the chance to be creative and try new things to market to your customers. With so many options for a loyalty program it is important to do your research and have a loyalty program strategy that goes beyond keeping up with the competition. For small to medium sized businesses finding a loyalty program partner that will help you define and evolve your program is important.