By Stephen Rhodes
Do loyalty programs work? Air Miles is one of the most effective in Canada. Aeroplan? Shoppers Drug Mart’s Optimum card? Canadian Tire money or gas cards? Some grocery chains have their own points programs redeemable for merchandise.
But does any of it really matter?
Forbes in a weighty opinion says that low-margin retailers often argue they can’t afford customer loyalty programs, but questions whether that’s true? Two business professors make the case that such programs are profit-enhancing differentiators. You can read their paper – Six Myths About Customer Loyalty Programs.
I am less convinced. I look for product quality and customer service first. That’s my major differentiator. If they happen to offer Air Miles, that’s a bonus.
Consumers are more selective and they have more options. If you are all about price, it’s easy to do comparison shopping online and even make the purchase from the comfort of your kitchen table. Want express delivery. No problem.
But if it’s your car mechanic, then you likely want someone you trust, someone who caters to your needs and won’t overcharge you. Same for a hairdresser/barber.
Ask yourself a simple question. Are you loyal to the product, the brand or the service?
Do customer loyalty programs work for you?
By Stephen Rhodes
Over the years I have preached (sorry) about how important it is to measure success. All plans need measurable goals or how will you know if the are working. There are lots of tools available to help measure how your communication/marketing strategy is working online, or even in the traditional media world.
And there is always the opportunity to actually talk to customers to get their feedback.
It’s important to analyze the data to know what’s working and whether you are spending to achieve the best results. It can also help identify opportunities that may not have been part of your original plan.
It takes time to wade through the analysis, particularly with the array of tools available.
Adjustments mid-course can be risky and it’s unlikely you are ready to quickly pull the plug on a plan that just a few months ago was the future of your company. But doing nothing is not an option. You’ll probably overthink it, and come up with several reasons why now isn’t good time to tinker. You will rationalize that you have plausible reasons, and not just excuses.
Push past the paralysis of fear and take a leap of faith, and even if you fail, you’ll farther ahead than if you did nothing.
Measuring your business activity is important. Analyzing the results equally so. Make sure you act on them.
By Stephen Rhodes
Here’s a thought.
What skill, attribute or approach best enables a small business owner to succeed?
Businesses have to plan, which means they need to set goals, develop strategy and tactics and to the best of their ability deliver that plan.
Lots of businesses do this stuff and not all of them succeed. Why?
The larger question is why are you in this business? What is your driving force? What happens when the plan doesn’t work or your competitors jump all over you? What keeps your head in the game.
We all look for it when we hire, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the most successful business people have it in spades.
I have great admiration for two Brampton business people who have the attitude. Don’t try and tell Daniel at Tea by Daniel or Graham at Poutine Dare to be Fresh that they can’t succeed.
These guys don’t know what that means.