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Thank You, Come Again


W


hile independent retailers like you have traditionally had the advantage of a one- on-one relationship with customers, in the


ever-growing world of social media, even big brands are now able to connect on a very personal level with every customer by tracking data, shopping habits and most important, offering personal rewards that speak directly to their needs. How can you respond to these changes? The savvy independent retailer understands that every customer must be appropriately courted and thanked after every transaction and that the smallest purchase can no longer be taken for granted. A customized loyalty card program is one potential solution. Simply put, a loyalty card program is a way for retailers


to create a long-term marketing effort that provides offers, rewards and incentives to repeat customers who continue to return and make purchases on a consistent basis. This repeated loyalty drives regular sales and often creates word-of-mouth marketing from the well-rewarded customer. The out-of-pocket costs can vary based on the offer provided, but certainly can be built into any business


222 GIFT SHOP n Summer 2014


model as a marketing cost for which every store—new or old—should have a budget.


The whys There are several key reasons why a loyalty program might work for your store. ■ First and foremost, it’s a way for you to say thank you –


in ways both small and large – to your most loyal customers each and every time they interact with you. You can do so either in store or via your marketing communications. ■ Additionally, a loyalty program encourages customers


to return – often. Having a card in their wallet that “reminds” them they are close to earning a reward can be exactly what your store needs to infl uence your customers to turn the car into your parking lot and make another purchase. ■ It is a form of low-cost advertising. Customers see


your name on the loyalty card when they open their wallet or when they check their email. It’s an effective and inexpensive method for staying front and center of your most important customers. ■ A loyalty program can help you gather key information.


By using one that is monitored via software and linked to your POS system, you can collect valuable metrics to learn


GiftShopMag.com


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