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Retail & E-commerce

How to Operate a Loyalty Program In-Store and Online

Written by 
Brad Davis
May 14, 2021

Does your business engage customers through an online store as well as a brick-and-mortar shop? It should…

Whether you are in retail, hospitality or otherwise, recent global events have highlighted the importance of giving customers numerous channels in which they can engage your business, make purchases and strengthen their relationship with your brand.

It’s also caused ecommerce to be more competitive than it ever has been before. In addition to 13% more competition joining the marketplace each year, businesses must also compete with Amazon’s continuously growing ecommerce market share.

These days, a good customer experience is your most valuable asset to retaining customers. And how do you provide a personalised customer experience that will keep them coming back again and again? With a top-notch loyalty program, of course!

So if you’re wondering how to operate a loyalty program in-store and online at the same time, here is what you need to do:

1. First, provide an omnichannel experience

omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel Experience

In order to operate a loyalty program in-store and online, your business needs to have a solid means of omnichannel engagement. This means customers can browse your products from their mobile, communicate with your support team via social media messaging, easily access product reviews in contrast to competitors’ products and so on.

A good omnichannel engagement strategy will efficiently serve customers in real-time, wherever and however they choose; it will gather valuable insights into consumer behavior; and it will create an emotional connection between your brands and its customers.

Did you know that 87% of customers believe businesses need to invest more resources in providing a seamless omnichannel experience, and 90% expect to have consistent interactions across numerous channels?

The better your omnichannel engagement is, the better you will understand your customers. When it comes to fostering brand loyalty, this is priceless!

2. Roll out a single rewards program for both channels

how to operate a loyalty program in-store and online
In-store and Online Shopping

Now it’s time to create the loyalty program and learn how to operate it across in-store and online transactions. Thankfully, you don’t need to figure out this step on your own.

There are a whole host of loyalty program providers that offer a turnkey solution to retaining customers and building brand loyalty, with digital loyalty apps that allow customers to accrue points and redeem rewards from their mobile devices. This SaaS approach is a remarkably convenient way to synchronize your loyalty experience for both in-person and online shoppers.

As an example, Stamp Me platform can be integrated with Shopify to provide online businesses with a simple and engaging ecommerce rewards program to offer their customers. However, businesses that also have a physical store can prompt customers at checkout to validate their loyalty points via a mobile app.

This system will coincide with the ecommerce loyalty program, for a seamless experience.

3. Once implemented, keep your loyalty program consistent across all channels

nike plus mobile app
Nike's loyalty program - Image Source: Nike+

Customers love consistency – just look at brands like Netflix, IKEA and Coca-Cola!

Your loyalty program is a direct reflection of your business, and it’s key to the customer relationship. Whether customers are shopping with you online or in-person, the brand values and messaging need to be the same for a wholesome experience.

If your employees have been trained to offer customers upgrades or add-ons at checkout, then why not have a pop-up box do the same thing in the mobile app or online store when a customer hits “proceed to checkout”?

At Stamp Me, we’re big believers that loyalty programs yield greater results when they are designed to reflect the brand’s CSR initiatives. Take your time designing an effective rewards structure that will keep your customers engaged, and then keep this structure consistent across online and offline channels.

However, keep in mind that consistency doesn’t mean you can’t offer variety in your perks and rewards. Your in-store shoppers might appreciate skip-the-queue benefits, while your online shoppers are likely to opt for free shipping.

By segmenting your loyal customer base into key categories, you can automate the process of providing a personalized experience –which brings me to my next point!

4. Maintain a personal touch across your in-store and online loyalty program

personalization in online and in-store loyalty programs
Personalization across in-store and online experiences

With so much shopping taking place online these days, it’s easy to lose the human element of business-customer interaction.

If you are operating a loyalty program across in-store and online channels, your business is in a unique position to enhance the customer experience through tailored communications, bespoke rewards and other personalized functions.

As an example, Zoetis Paw Care Club does a remarkable job of strengthening engagement with customers by:

  • Communicating with pet owners via automated reminders for administering treatments
  • Facilitating a stronger tie-in relationship between customers and Zoetis-branded offerings
  • Providing veterinary clinicians with a tool to promote various Zoetis petcare products
  • Capturing valuable customer data for actionable end-user insights
  • Promoting new products, upcoming events, exciting news and more
zoetis paw club care mobile app
Zoetis Paw Care Club

Be sure to conduct regular audits on your loyalty program to ensure it is continuing to engage in-person and online shoppers as effectively as possible.

Contact us to learn more about how to operate a loyalty program in-store and online

As the ecommerce space continues to grow, it’s crucial that businesses nurture the existing customer relationships that they’ve already established. A seamless online and offline loyalty program experience will strengthen these connections, as well as attract new customers.

For more information about how Stamp Me Loyalty Solutions can set up your business with a highly sophisticated rewards program that spans your in-store and ecommerce channels, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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