One trend we’ve noticed over the last couple of years has been the growing interest in loyalty schemes amongst shoppers. Only last month I watched a focus group sharing their thoughts on the old Green Shield Stamp scheme – admittedly we were showing them some loyalty scheme ideas, but it was the fondness with which they spoke about those little green stamp books that surprised us. If we had covered the same subject five years ago the stamp scheme would have been given short shrift by shoppers who expected immediate returns, and who would rather spend than save. The discussion at our focus group was particularly interesting because it only briefly touched on nostalgia, with most comments relating to the sense of reward created by the scheme – the excitement of hitting the required number of stamps, or choosing from the catalogue once a number of pages had been completed.
Shoppers are more open to initiatives that reward them for their loyalty
This is another sign of how things have changed for shoppers and businesses alike. In fact, how many of you have found your own purses or wallets increasingly bulging with coffee shop stamp cards?
Yet what does this actually mean from a business perspective – what can you do with the knowledge that shoppers are more open to initiatives that reward them for their loyalty over time? Well for a start, it gives you as a retailer an alternative to relying on unsustainable discounts and sales promotions. More importantly however, a well run and motivating loyalty scheme can give you the chance to get closer to your shoppers. In the days of Green Shield Stamps the possible interactions between the scheme and the shopper were limited to mail, phone, and face to face opportunities when the shopper cashed in stamps. Nowadays with email, mobile, and social media available there are many more chances to communicate directly with shoppers, and to tailor your message specifically to that individual, making the interaction so much more meaningful.
Reasons why setting up a loyalty scheme is worthwhile for engaging shoppers
- Shoppers are increasingly looking for rewards and are prepared to wait for them
- They are looking for solutions that make life easier
- They are becoming cynical about promotions, sometimes believing that price cuts are achieved by hiking prices first, or by reducing pack size. They see rewards-based offers as more trustworthy
So, next time you claim that ‘free’ coffee after filling up your loyalty card, mull on how much nicer it tastes compared to the nine or so coffees you actually paid for…
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get that same sense of reward across to your shoppers?
This blog was provided by Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director of Shoppercentric. Shoppercentric is a full service market research agency, specialising in understanding shoppers. As well as their client work they produce their own trends reports available free from their website. For more information, visit www.shoppercentric.co.uk/trends