a person using the digital loyalty platform Imfree for a digital loyalty card experience

Your Four-step Guide to Launching a Digital Loyalty Program

by | Nov 25, 2020

Connect to a growing number of digital consumers with a loyalty rewards app.

A loyalty program has long been an established and effective way to build strong customer relationships, encourage repeat purchases, and increase sales. Today, it’s not only an effective tactic to drive business growth but also a means to enhance your customer experience. In fact, 78% of consumers surveyed say they are more likely to choose a business that offers a loyalty program over one that does not.

Moreover, a 2020 study by First Point Research and Consulting found that Australian loyalty program members have been increasingly taking advantage of rewards and benefits since 2016. Businesses commonly offer customers paper-based loyalty cards, however, most consumers now prefer using their mobile phones. As more people find it convenient to use smartphones for everyday transactions, digital loyalty cards have already replaced tatty printed loyalty cards. For businesses, digitalising loyalty programs can be an essential long-term method to increase store transactions steadily.

Loyalty rewards apps like Imfree have become a convenient, interactive, and intuitive means for digital consumers that allows them to get a seamless customer experience online and offline. With a digital loyalty card, customers can sign up conveniently, keep track of new rewards, and use them in an easy and fast transaction—all while using their mobile phones. It’s a new and future-proof way to adapt to changing consumers’ needs.

Now that restrictions have eased and that Australians are mobile again, digital loyalty programs will serve as a means for businesses to recover steadily from the lockdown. Launching your customer loyalty rewards app now will:

  • Put you ahead of competitors without incentives and on par with those who do.
  • Increase repeat customers.
  • Boost your revenue.
  • Track your offers’ performance and effectiveness.
  • Help understand your customers’ needs.

It’s also worth noting that plenty of businesses use digital loyalty cards to remove paper cards and cater to the rising demand for eco-friendly products. Going digital also reduces production costs for the business.

With these benefits, how do you launch your own digital loyalty program for your store? Or, if you already have a loyalty program, how do you transfer your current program to a digital platform? Learn the ropes in this four-step guide.

Step 1: Choose your rewards.

a loyalty rewards app showing different rewards or deals

Loyalty rewards can take many forms. For example, with Imfree, you can offer a free item after customers buy certain products five or 10 times in a row via your digital loyalty card. Ideally, you want to offer multiple deals or rewards to provide more options and attract loyal customers. But, how do you choose the right reward to give?

When choosing a customer loyalty reward, keep these three points in mind:

  • Offer value
    The best rewards programs offer customers rewards that they need or want. Your loyalty program should be able to answer customers’ first question: What’s in it for me?
  • Provide convenience
    To make your membership and rewards more enticing, make it easy for your customers to gain them. Also, consider offering instant rewards when they join your loyalty program to encourage customers to sign up.
  • Make it cost-effective
    Don’t forget that you still need to break even. How many purchases should it take before customers earn a reward? How much discount can you give? Consider these factors as well when offering deals.

Overall, striking a balance between you and your customers’ needs will help you choose the right incentive.

Step 2: Determine how to implement your digital loyalty program.

How will your customers gain your rewards? A loyalty program can be structured in any way, but most businesses follow these four common customer loyalty systems.

  • Product-based loyalty system
    Often paired with stamp cards, the loyalty program offers a free item after customers buy a product for a certain number of times. For example, in the Imfree app, you can promote a ‘Buy five drinks, get one free’ deal.
    Compared to other loyalty systems, this is the easiest and quickest system to set up on digital platforms like Imfree, allowing you to implement a digital loyalty program in no time. It’s also a flexible loyalty rewards system that applies to a range of businesses from coffee shops to pharmacies.
  • Points-based system
    For every dollar your customers spend, they receive one or two points. When they accumulate a certain number of points, they can redeem a reward at your store or get a cashback. It’s the most common rewards system that businesses use.
  • Visits-based loyalty system
    Every time a customer visits your store, they will earn loyalty points regardless of how much they spend. Customers can also gain a reward after a certain number of visits. It’s a great loyalty system to increase your store’s foot traffic and allow your customers to see and try more of your products or services.
  • Cashback-based loyalty system
    For every dollar your customers spend, a small percentage goes back into their loyalty account. Cashback-based loyalty systems often work best in stores where customers can stay or dine inside the store because it enhances the engagement between the staff and customer.

Ultimately, all of these systems encourage customers to buy again. When choosing your digital loyalty program, don’t make your rewards system complicated as it may discourage customers to sign up or use your loyalty program. An effective loyalty rewards program encourages customers to sign up and use your program repeatedly.

Step 3: Subscribe to a loyalty rewards app.

phone showing how to create a digital loyalty program on the Imfree app

Part of what makes a digital loyalty program effective and successful is using the right platform. 75% of customers expect businesses to utilise technology for a better customer experience. Loyalty rewards platforms will enable you to not only create and monitor your loyalty program, but also reach a bigger market, engage your customers, and track your sales and performance. All of which contribute to providing better customer service and experience.

Before subscribing to a platform, look for the following when reviewing loyalty rewards apps:

  • User-friendliness
    Is the platform easy to use and navigate for you and your customers? Does it provide a convenient way to transact for both parties? Does the app work well and provide good technical support?
  • Easy setup and customisation
    Is setting up your business on the platform and creating promotions fast and easy? Does the platform offer features that allow you to personalise your promotions?
  • Reasonable costs
    Given the features of the platform, is the subscription fee worth it? Will the platform be a good long-term investment for your store?

Consider these traits and questions to find the right digital loyalty platform for your business. Currently, plenty of online loyalty platforms offer various features to suit your business needs. However, coupling your digital loyalty program with a powerful local area marketing platform like Imfree will maximise your store’s potential to engage your customers and grow your business.

Imfree is not only a loyalty app but also the first real-time local area marketing and promotions app that enables businesses to connect with a relevant and responsive audience and gain an immediate return on investment.

With the Imfree app, you get a simple and easy-to-navigate platform. Moreover, setting up your business on the platform only takes a few steps. You only need to fill a few details about your business and upload your store images. Now, your store is ready to offer deals and rewards to your customers. To top it off, you get these benefits and features for free with Imfree.

To know more about how Imfree’s digital loyalty card works, watch this quick video below:

Step 4: Promote your digital loyalty program.

Encourage your customers to download the loyalty app and join your loyalty program by spreading the word on various channels online and offline.

The first and easiest way to promote your loyalty program is by tapping on your current customers via email or text message. If you don’t have a customer database to use, let your staff promote it to customers as they buy or dine in your store. Make sure to train employees, so they can promote the program well and answer customer questions correctly. Also, offer a sign-up incentive to encourage customers to join.

Online, use several channels such as your store’s website and social media accounts to promote to new and existing customers. If you also have the budget, take the extra step to advertise on Google Ads, your local newspaper, or flyers. With the Imfree app, you also get to promote your digital loyalty program to new customers who find or discover your store through the platform.

However, don’t forget and never underestimate the influence of word-of-mouth marketing. After all, 92% of consumers globally say that they trust recommendations from family and friends above all forms of advertising. Your loyal customers are also your best source of new customers as they spread the news of your digital loyalty program’s effectiveness and value.

As you implement your digital loyalty program, focus on providing a valuable and consistent digital loyalty program to satisfy and retain customers, and encourage them to share their experience with others.

Improve customer experience and service with a digital loyalty program

Two-thirds of Australians say that loyalty programs enhance their buying experience with brands or businesses. Moreover, loyalty program members prefer rewards that improve their lifestyle. By implementing a digital loyalty program, your business can provide an omnichannel experience for customers while steadily increasing your sales and brand awareness.

Whether you’re a small local grocery store or large retail brand, a digital loyalty program will become an essential means for your business to retain customers, reach new customers, and drive overall business growth.

To help your business recover from the effects of the lockdown, Imfree partners with stores, retailers, manufacturers, and brands of all sizes by providing a free online platform to promote deals, discounts, and loyalty programs. 

To get started, simply sign up here, set up your store in just a few taps, and start promoting your loyalty program.

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