There has been a lot of bad press about deal sites that have driven businesses into the ground forcing them to close their doors. You have heard the stories of more vouchers sold than the business can accommodate, too short a time frame before expiration, too steep a discount, waiting too long for sales funds, no up-sells for product or service offered, under staffed to handle the influx of customers, under educated staff, fraudulent purchases and the list goes on.
Well this is going to be a series of articles that will address all of these issues and possibly more. We want to educate merchants on the best practices for a successful deal campaign. As a well thought out and executed campaign can benefit a business with growth of new loyal customers. And loyal repeat customers is what keeps most businesses going.
So how do you create loyal repeat customers from deal shoppers?
You need to have a loyalty program in place before you start your deal campaign.
Remember the punch cards where you would punch a hole in the card or your staff would write their initials on a card until the card was filled with holes or initials. The sad part about these old style of cards was that people would cheat with their own hole punch or staff would hand out extra initials on a card for people with sad stories about how they didn't have their card with them at the time of their last purchase. Then other people would loose their card and have to start over again or you would keep a box or two on the counter filled with your customers cards and you or they would thumb through them to find their card and then put it back into that box taking up real estate on your counter and cluttering it up.
All of this usually adding up to five or ten visits to your store , with purchase, to get a free coffee or a percentage of their next purchase.
A lot of work and frustration, don't you think?
Plus their was the time you would wait for the cards to be printed and the cost of printing them.
Well today you can set up a loyalty rewards program of your own with out any physical cards or any wait time at all. In fact, you could effectively set up your loyalty rewards program within minutes, a half hour max. This is once you know what rewards you want to offer and how often you will deliver these rewards per customer.
How do you track your customer points?
Now a days people give out their name, phone number, email and home address at til counters join rewards programs. All you will effectively need is their cell phone number. Enter their number into the system right at the point of sale and they will be instantly awarded one point and on their way to "punching" their way to their reward.
People lose cards as we mentioned earlier. People may even lose their phone. But they do not lose their phone number. Even if they buy a new phone their number goes with them.
With this digital style of punch card you have eliminated paper, lose of cards, clutter on your counter and fraudulent free "punches".
But just like the old punch cards your customers can still check their points status with their phone.
So, now that you have a loyalty program in place you can go to work on your deal campaign. And once you have your deal campaign live and online with people buying your offer and coming through your door, you will be able to keep them coming back by encouraging them to join your VIP Club, or Loyalty Program while they are in redeeming their offer voucher that they purchased.
Executed well you will not only create repeat customers but you will have an opportunity to build great relationships with your customers. This is how customer loyalty is built. And that will do nothing but build your business.
As Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds said "
This is a huge tool and yet a general blanketing function of a successful deal campaign. There are many other factors to a successful deal campaign that most if not all businesses that failed with a deal campaign failed to pay attention to. Thus resulting in disappointment for their customers and quite often the permanent closure of the businesses doors.
We will continue with part two of this series soon and continue our look at preventing failure of a deal campaign and creating success for your business.