Loyalty 101: Are You Tracking The Right Data?

Loyalty 101: Are You Tracking The Right Data?

Loyalty programs are a critical aspect of most business operations, from old-fashioned punch cards and discounts given to “regulars” to today’s data-driven systems. But if you’re going to run a loyalty program in today’s saturated market, you need to collect the right information. It’s got to be personal, substantive, and compelling enough to really drive sales.

Where to begin, then, within a dense information stream? Here are 3 data types to target for a successful loyalty program.

Purchase Stats

Loyalty programs are typically available to all of your customers, but it’s worth remembering that most profit comes from a small subset of clients. Companies should structure their programs, then, to reward the right customers. After all, running a loyalty program only benefits you if it hinges on purchase volume and not just birthdays and mailing list subscriptions.

This is precisely how beauty brand Ulta has built a successful loyalty program. Ulta uses a tier system with higher-ranking customers yielding greater rewards. Customers in the upper echelons of the program are more likely to access exclusive products and early access to special items in return for their loyalty.

The Halal Guys, a small but flourishing restaurant chain, has also taken purchasing data to the next level. For example, their stores are clustered in the Washington, D.C. area so they used that fact to their advantage. Customers who were registered at two locations were invited to participate in the launch of the third restaurant as special guests. Moves like this show customers you’re really paying attention to their engagement with your business and you want to thank them for that support.

Birthday Basics

Birthdays and other basic demographic data are the foundation for any CRM system, so make sure you’re using this data. Loyalty program members should receive birthday cards, emails, or other special deals to mark the day, especially if you’re in food service. If your services are more industrial, you might consider marking each year someone is a member of your program as an alternative to this.

Birthday recognition is one key aspect of Starbucks’ successful loyalty program, but it’s also worth looking for alternatives that fit your business model better. Tracking the number or types of purchases clients make with your CRM system can help you offer innovative alternatives that tie to their preferences. Everyone likes that kind of personal service.

Look For Networks

Your most loyal and most valuable customers aren’t always the ones who spend the most money with your company. Instead, the most important customers could be the ones with the greatest power within their own networks.

Make a point of recording referrals and identifying high influence customers – the ones who are discussing your brand, sending you new customers, and demonstrating loyalty beyond individual sales. These customers are often underestimated, but they’re generating a lot of business, even if they aren’t personally initiating it.

Loyalty programs are expanding across business sectors as data becomes more easily managed, even for small, brick-and-mortar companies. This makes it all the more important to find ways to innovate on that model and find new ways to drive sales. It’s no longer enough just to have a loyalty program when everyone has one. Now it’s time to have the most compelling program; just like your products, your loyalty program needs to compete with others in your industry and that remains a new thought.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.