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Tips & Bits #27: Loyalty Cards

Is your wallet or purse overflowing with loyalty cards? If you’re like most people, you probably buy many things over and over again. A growing number of marketers want you to keep coming back for more when the time comes for you to refill, restock or replenish your supply of whatever product or service (usually a commodity of some kind) you need.

The Customer Loyalty Card is the vehicle of choice for many – and primarily small – businesses. (The big companies usually opt for those plastic cards with a magnetic strip on it and call it a club. And they’ll provide you with a mini version for your keychain, too.)

File:S&Hstamp.gif File:Bluechip.jpg

Loyalty programs have been around for a long time. Over the years consumers have been offered the opportunity to buy another volume of an encyclopedia with each visit to the supermarket, they’ve collected S&H Green Stamps and Blue Chips Stamps based on the dollar volume of their purchases to redeem on goods from a catalog, and, of course, frequent flyers have been amassing miles which they can swap for yet another flight. The list goes on and on.

The creation of and participation in loyalty programs is growing in this recession. According to Colloquy research, “U.S. consumer participation in rewards programs is on the rise across all demographic segments . . . Consumers are leaning on loyalty programs to stretch household budgets further by earning rewards for their purchases.”

The possibilities for creativity are endless. The size and shape of the card is one variable that can be used to help solidify the brand and encourage customer interaction. The method of punching or marking the card is the tricky part for the store – it must be made somewhat counterfeit-proof or business owners would literally find themselves giving away the store!
If you’re the owner or marketing manager for a business that has stiff competition from nearby businesses, a loyalty card program may be a solution that is quick, easy and inexpensive to implement. Here are a few examples that will, hopefully, get your creative juices flowing.

http://www.autowashnvalet.co.uk/images/loyalty_card.jpg Car wash card – fill in the soap bubbles and get a freebie. With so many places to go for a car wash, this is a good reason to visit the same location.
http://blog.epromos.com/images/chocolate-bar-loyalty-card.jpg A bit scary at first, but a clever bit of irony for a store that sells chocolate! (Although does anyone really need an excuse to buy another piece of candy?)
http://www.memechocolat.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/food-loyalty-card.jpg Free baguette or panini is available with this card. (Don’t really care for the generic headline, though.)
http://catherinescache.com/images/Kameleon/Loyalty%20Card.jpg This card is for a jewelry store that rewards multiple purchases of earrings for those with pierced ears.
http://www.coiffurium.com/images/loyalty-card.jpg This card is from a beauty salon that features natural products. (Hence the green leaf.)
http://www.badgercabs.co.uk/system/files/imagecache/large/loyalty-cards-gif.gif A taxicab is a good example of a service that generally has very low customer loyalty. A program such as this may help gain repeat business.
http://www.pandorajewelers.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Picture-of-Loyalty-Card.jpg With this card, a jeweler encourages collecting beads for the addition to a bracelet.
JardinCG Restaurants are a natural for loyalty card programs. People need to eat. Everyone likes to save. It’s a win-win situation.
https://cheapteachermarket.com/images/uploads/cNS2403.jpg And finally—these kinds of programs can be used to stimulate repeating good habits. Here is a reading club for kids – parents or teachers can decide on an appropriate reward and encourage children to read.

 

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