We try and educate our small business customers that a good loyalty program is much more than giving fake discounts off petrol or points which are hard to access. A good loyalty program is one which delivers genuine value to the consumer and which rewards the business with a measurable increase in sales. Smart small business operators, particularly those in regular traffic businesses like newsagents, chemists, card shops, gift shops and supermarkets can build a program which stays wholly within the business.

In our own retail shop, where we experiment with everything we put into our point of sale software, we run a loyalty program which resets every eight weeks. Customers get the card and have eight weeks to achieve the goal and the prize. I’d venture to say that this program is among the most successful loyalty programs in Australia.

Our software is built around similar principles – providing users the ability to drive sales in the store rather than pushing them outside to get some cents off inflated petrol prices. We use points and other rewards to help business owners to reward customers. So prefer to send a cheque – we can handle that too.

Like anything, a good loyalty program takes work. Good software is the first step. The business benefits from tight management and active promotion in all interactions with the customers.

Smart small businesses can compare their offering to Coles’ FlyBys and those from other big businesses and clearly demonstrate to customers that small is not only beautiful – it is also more valuable.