Who doesn't recognize it? A customer card for the supermarket, a customer card for the garden center, a gift card for the Hema: we have customer cards in abundance. And that in 2018. Is the loyalty card making its comeback now, or is the way we use the loyalty card changing? Does the loyalty card still have a future? We take a look at the garden industry.
Does the loyalty card still have a future?
At the customer card for garden centers many people still think of an old-fashioned pass that must be passed by a scanner at the cash register. Points will then be credited and debited, after which you will receive a discount. About twenty years ago we had a wallet protruding from a customer card, soon with an inch thickness. Impossible.
Nowadays there is certainly a future for the customer card, but then there must be a link with the website. There are no longer handwritten forms with illegible contact information, but forms that can automate the data directly.
The purpose of the customer card is also changing. The loyalty card is becoming less and less of an old-fashioned discount card and much more a means of getting to know the customer, getting in touch and making an appropriate offer. As a result, the customer will become more loyal to the garden center in the future and more will come customer loyalty.
Link with the smartphone
A link with the smartphone is essential nowadays. In all garden centers customers walk around with the smartphone in their hands. Which plant did you want again? There is a nice offer for a birdhouse! But also to look up additional product information. For garden centers it offers the chance to replace the plastic card with a mobile version. Without a big wallet, visitors can then easily enjoy the promotions and discounts on the smartphone. The advantage of this is that a promotion or discount can be accurately communicated to the minute.
An example of an action where the smartphone shows added value is for customers who visit the garden center restaurant for ten hours. Later in the day, the hospitality industry becomes busier and the discount automatically expires.
Collect customer data
A loyalty card as part of a loyalty program is a good way to collect valuable data. Provided you meet the conditions of the new privacy law, garden centers can collect contact information, demographic information and purchase data. That condition is actually very simple: explain what you collect the data for. Customers only give their details if you give something in return: a discount on your birthday, an extra nice offer that suits you, a fixed discount for regular customers. Although it costs money, it also gives you a lot. The data can, for example, be used to identify which customers have a dog and for whom an offer with dog food or dog toys is therefore interesting. In addition, as garden centers you can find out which zip codes generate the most revenue, and respond smartly to that.
For example, you can use this data to automatically send e-mails through a Personal Marketing system. For example, if a customer visits the garden center several times a month, this could be rewarded with a free cup of coffee. And when buying a barbecue, the customer could receive an e-mail with tasty recipes. Fully automatic: that is called marketing automation.
Launch online loyalty programs
An option that can completely replace the loyalty card is an online loyalty program. This is an action where customers enjoy benefits if they keep coming back as a customer. There are four rules of thumb for starting an online loyalty program: start small, give convenience, go for impact and identify your customer.
- Start small with a bite-sized system. This system must be able to quickly place physical payments in a system and make it accessible to the customer and the company. With every purchase the customer receives information about the number of loyalty points. It doesn't have to be that extensive.
- Give convenience by using a simple registration system. At the push of a button and you are logged in. Make sure it is clear how you can look up the savings balance and the rewards.
- Go for impact by personalizing promotions. You can think of e-mail messages or web pages with content tailored to, for example, purchasing behavior. Surprise the customer by unexpectedly giving a gift. That only makes an impression.
- Identify your customer. Know which products he or she is interested in by using the obtained data. If the offer is relevant, the chance of conversion is higher.