Loyalty = belonging

While the acquisition of new customers is important, it is vital for long-term success that those customers are retained through the creation of loyal, returning customers. The Starbucks loyalty program is perhaps the most successful ever initiated. Its success is not really built on coffee, but rather on the sense of belonging generated by the loyalty program; customers not only receive rewards, but they also feel they are part of the Starbucks family, and this keeps them coming back.

How to instil this sense of “family”?

At a store opening, or rebranding, all customers are issued with a “mystery card”. The card contains redeemable credit, but until it is redeemed the actual value is not known. The card could be one of many low value cards, or the “jackpot” card worth much more. Customers are enthused by the sense of excitement and hope for a large value card, and once they redeem their card it becomes a loyalty card. Rewards are accrued straight away, and continue to be earned with every subsequent use.

Through online registration, a database of customer information allows personalised, targeted vouchers and offers to be sent to customers. For example, they might receive bonus credit to use on their birthday, or on the anniversary of their registration to the loyalty scheme. A record of their most frequent purchases means SKU-based cashback offers can be sent, encouraging return visits to your store, and an increased number of purchases. Additional rewards can then be offered when basket size (total spend on a particular visit) is over a certain value. The customer experience becomes personal and rewarding, creating a feeling that the customer is a valued individual.

You can learn more about Mystery Cards here.