I’ll declare from the outset that I am a skeptic of customer loyalty schemes. It seems to me that you spend a lifetime accruing points so that you can get some lame discount or free product or flights from an airline if you’re prepared to travel overnight and make 6 stops.
Loyalty schemes are on my mind today because small businesses feel they are missing out because of what their big business counter parts offer. In Australia we have FlyBys. It’s a crock – certainly not what I would call a loyalty scheme – you know, a scheme which genuinely rewards loyalty. FlyBys in my mind is designed to dupe customers into thinking they are being rewarded when they accrue points at the point of purchase. It works!
Some of our small business clients want to imitate it regardless – because they think that’s what they have to do. They think that big Australian businesses have got it right and that accruing points for redemption is the best form of loyalty management.
I reckon they’re wrong because most of them do not have capacity in their bottom line for the level of reward they want to provide. Also, copying big business in this way is your way of saying to customers that you want to be compared to big business.
With the number of schemes out there and the greater awareness among consumers about the dubious value, loyalty fatigue is creeping in. Thankfully!
Independent retailers and other small businesses can capitalize on loyalty fatigue and differentiate themselves from big business. We’re small at the small business end of the world. Surely we can come up with something unique and therefore turn our back on the FlyBys and other big business loyalty?
As a software developer we’re working on this right now – a fresh loyalty model managed by the software which presents a unique value proposition which the independent retailer can put to their customers. In part it is based on the campaign we have been running in our own shop.
I think it’s time for some instant gratification.