The biggest challenges of any retail business are to get shoppers spending more in a visit and returning sooner than might usually be the case. In this article by Tower CEO Mark Fetcher, we explore a simple yet effective tool.
All retailers, want shoppers to spend more in each visit and to come back more often.
Yet most retailers are uncomfortable overtly engaging with shoppers to get spend more in a visit or come back sooner.
Years ago, the thought was that a shopper VIP card or points based loyalty program was the way to go. Today, with such programs commonplace, their value is diluted.
There is talk among shoppers of loyalty fatigue – they are doubting the value of cards and programs where real rewards are not what was first offered.
Change the game: front-end loyalty
Instead of making shoppers accrue points that are then converted for cash at some future stage, why not offer cash-based rewards earlier, from the first purchase?
This approach is called front-ending loyalty. It brings a reward to the front in an effort to engage shoppers in additional purchases sooner.
It’s an approach that can encourage those who do not shop with you to purchase something else right away, to get the value of the cash discount offered.
Regular shoppers can spend the cash discount right away or come back within any time limit you set.
I started trialling this front-end loyalty strategy in February 2013 in several retail businesses. I did it using the Discount Vouchers facilities in the Tower POS software.
Building the basket
From the first day, in my own shop, I saw shoppers changing behaviour.
One customer came in to purchase a specific item. When I handed him the receipt I point out the voucher offering $2.00 of his next purchase. He was not a regular and so spent the $2.00, and more, right away on another item. He received another voucher and so purchased a third item. In all, he spent three times as much as the original purchase – all because of the Discount Vouchers he received.
Around 33% of all vouchers redeemed are used the day they are received. This shows customers building the basket – adding to their purchase that day as a result of the voucher. This makes each visit more valuable to us.
Bringing shoppers back
33% of redeemed vouchers are used within seven days and the remaining 33% are redeemed up to four weeks after issue, bringing shoppers back.
There is real evidence now from hundreds of retailers supporting these claims.
Here’s another real story: A few months ago, a customer came in and used a voucher she had picked up a couple of weeks earlier. She was happy to get $5.00 off a $65.00 item she wanted. This purchase resulted in another voucher so she bought another item for $29.95.
This customer said her friends had been recently talking about VIP cards and how they were useless. She then told them about us.
Changing how shoppers interact.
In another instance a customer was considering a $250.00 item but decided they could not justify the expense. They purchased some smaller items, spending $25.00.
On receiving a $5.00 voucher they turned around, immediately, and bought the $250.00 item.
We asked what happened. The answer was I don’t know. I needed permission I guess and the $5.00 did it.
This is a true story and there are many more like it in hundreds of retail businesses.
The key about discount vouchers is they change shopper behaviour, usually immediately and valuable for the business.
Indeed, discount vouchers are a game changer for many retail businesses, large an small, city and country.
We love hearing the stories of success from your customers.
You control the business rules
Like any good loyalty program, you need good levers with which to drive shopper engagement and to deliver the benefits to justify the investment.
The Discount Vouchers facilities have this.
You control the amount of each sale you are prepared to give away on the voucher.
You control the products the voucher can be used for.
You control how long the voucher is live for. I suggest 28 days but I have some retailers setting this at 90 days.
Helping your business
With most retail businesses running a loyalty program using a points based approach and only targeting long-term customers, adoption of this front-end loyalty approach can provide you with a genuine point of difference.
It is easily managed through the Tower Systems software and is backed by excellent management reports. This makes implementation and management easier than the old approach.
I’m confident this fresh approach to loyalty is a game changer for any retail business. The control you have enables you to easily manage the cost and the value you gain from the program.
This really is a new approach to bringing shoppers back sooner and getting them to spend more with you.
IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: Beware of those who claim year on year growth or numbers of people in their loyalty program. What is needed is analysis of a series of metrics on a same store basis year on year, metrics that assess carefully what is in the sample basket. For example, including lottery products in a purchase value basket does not make sense – it creates a false result of little value.
Contact the author at email@example.com.
To find out more about how your business can compete a fresh approach to loyalty, talk with an expert at Tower Systems. They can share more stories.
- SA/WA/VIC – Tim Batt 0401 833 917;
- NSW/TAS – Nathan Morrison 0417 568 148;
- QLD – Justin Randall 0434 365 789.