Keep Them Coming Back: Using Customer Relationship Management to Build a Loyalty Program
Today, CRM – Customer Relationship Management – is becoming more ubiquitous in the retail space. As consumers, we see it in the form of email solicitations at checkout, frequent buying programs, and membership cards. For smaller retailers CRM can be an afterthought, whether it is because of price or unfamiliarity with how a CRM system works.
But what are the benefits of using CRM as part of a retail software system? In addition to keeping accurate records of customers, retailers can print special coupons, send promotional emails, or create stored-value cards for use as gifts. Once you have a customer’s information in the system – such as name, email address and birthday – you can begin accumulating data that allows you to market to your regular clientele in the form of a Loyalty Program.
For example, if a retailer would like to give a coupon to Loyalty Program customers who spent over $500 in the store this month, that information can easily be called up within CRM and coupons mailed (or emailed) to incentivize return trips to the store.
Fortunately, many retail software platforms on the market today offer a CRM system that is completely integrated with the point-of-sale and allows the retailer to keep up with customer information and purchasing habits. In addition to the example above, CRM gives retailers the ability to see things like regular/repeat purchases (sales), where customers are coming from (customer addresses), even birthdays/anniversaries (customer info).
When building out a Loyalty Program, it is always good to begin with the end in mind. What is the goal or reward for participants of this program? What do they need to do to earn that reward? What info do you as a retailer need to collect to deliver the reward? Having a concise process in place not only helps you set up your Loyalty Program; it also clearly shows the customer how the program operates and what the benefits are for participating.
Those who leverage CRM can create an increase in customer satisfaction as well as “organic growth” in revenue from regular customers. Also, offering a Loyalty Program can be a brand differentiator within your local market. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the added steps to your checkout process with customers. New customers must be queried at checkout about their personal information, and repeat customers must be polled from time to time to make sure current information within CRM is up to date.
If you are not currently using CRM to bring additional business into your store(s), it may be time to come back around for another look.