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Forget punch cards: Top tools to boost customer loyalty

Customers are the cornerstone – and lifeline – of your small business. Retaining existing clientele is much more profitable – and easier – than attracting new customers. Customer loyalty is in the golden age, largely in part due to “big data” and the rise of smartphones.

Customers are sharing more data and engaging with their smartphone than ever before, creating the perfect opportunity for marketers. As such, developing a loyalty rewards program is not only crucial in this competitive landscape, but also necessary to boost brand recognition and increase engagement.

Spendgo

Spendgo is the modern day equivalent of the punch card. While in public beta, the service enables small businesses to award “points” for customer purchases, culminating in a free item or store credit once a pre-defined threshold is met. Customers simply enter their phone number on the provided tablet-like device, or scan a QR code on their receipt with the Spendgo app for iOS.

Belly

Belly streamlines customer rewards, offering an out-of-the-box solution that enables companies to offer customized, points-based rewards. Through the rather limited platform, businesses can send targeted emails to their most influential shoppers, push special offers to bring them into their store, and integrate your store with their Passbook for iOS.

GoPago

Nobody enjoys waiting in line – except Black Friday, apparently. While GoPago is by design a mobile payments platform, it also boosts customer retention by expediting their checkout time. Shoppers can place their order in advance, such as before leaving the office, and pickup their item shortly thereafter. Companies can also send push notifications with special offers.

Womply

Recent studies indicate customers value a flexible – and open – rewards program. Loyalty Cloud understands this, offering a platform that provides customers cash back when purchasing using their pre-registered credit or debit cards. Like others, Womply allows you to customize your reward denomination and value.

Mplifyr

Mplifyr enables you to identify – and target – your brand ambassadors or influencers, extending beyond the confines of the social web. An interesting feature enables businesses to setup VIP events, exclusively for their top influencers. Additionally, Mplifyr also allows businesses to “compete” with each other, for charity, by donating a percentage of the transaction fee.

Social Rewards

As the name implies, Social Rewards encourages brand ambassadors and Facebook mavens alike to engage with your small business online. Businesses create amazing offers; social users share them, and then get rewarded for spreading the word. By leveraging the larger social sphere, your business reaches a larger audience than traditional rewards programs.

Swipely

Swipely is a powerful payment and loyalty rewards service, which aims to simplify the process for your shoppers. Rewards are tied to their credit or debit cards, and they can sign up via text message, without downloading an app. Additionally, Swipely gains valuable insight from your shoppers via their payment transaction data, offering comprehensive analytics.

Loyalty Program Best Practices

Shoppers have a multitude of purchasing options nowadays, but your loyalty rewards program can help then keep coming back to your business, again and again. Effective loyalty programs harness the power of data by creating predefined personal, targeted rewards based on their transactional data.

Openness and simplicity are both equally important for customers to quickly adopt your loyalty rewards program. By adopting a mainstream program, customers do not have to sign up for another service or manage another account. Regardless of the solution you adopt, it should be easy – for both the customer and your marketers.

This article is part of the Drive Your Business Forward series. Check out allvoices.com/smallbusiness for more tips and advice on how to succeed as a small business. This series is supported by Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.