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Thread: Loyalty rewards programs?

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    Default Loyalty rewards programs?

    No idea if this is the right place to ask about loyalty rewards programs but here it goes. Do they work for small businesses? I own a convenience store in Toronto and I've been visited by sales people from vicinity and wavetoget.
    Any help will be appreciated

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    I've never used one for my business, so I'll share my experiences as a customer. When a store I regularly go has a loyalty program, I think it's nice, however it doesn't make me go more often or buy anything extra. The loyalty program doesn't change my behavior at all. For stores I don't visit regularly, I wouldn't sign up or keep any card they gave me.

    What kind of loyalty program is it? How would it work? There are different kinds and people might respond better to some than others.
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    I tend to dislike loyalty programs. Most require you to carry a card and unless I shop frequently that is a pain. I have zero loyalty cards in my wallet and my wallet is thick enough already. I particularly dislike card and stores where they penalize you for not having the card. What I mean by that is they run a hot sale but if you don't have the card you don't get the sale price. When I was doing a lot of remodeling I did use one for the lumber store but they didn't require you to have the card to get sale prices or I would have shopped elsewhere. It really did little for me but I did use that one. Currently I have one loyalty card I use and that does get me a discount off prices that are competitive without the card. I have stopped shopping at some stores that put a loyalty program in effect. They were always ones that required you to have the card to get sale prices.
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    I find "loyalty" cards intrusive and annoying. I use the grocery loyalty card but begrudge it everytime. I should pay higher prices because I don't have their stupid card with me!?

    But they are getting away from the cards and now some just let you put in your phone number. Still annoying but simpler.

    In spite of my objections it apparently is a good marketing tool as everybody seems to have a loyalty program. I'm sure many consumers enjoy using them.

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    I don't know if you'll get much response as a convenience store but if you do set anything up make sure it only requires a phone# like Paul mentioned. No one wants to add another card to their wallet or key chain. Like others here, I have a few and carry only 2 of them, and use the phone# for others I don't carry the card for. Like vg, it doesn't modify my shopping behavior other than using it to get discounted prices on at a grocery store I was already shopping at for years before the card.

    There are ways you could leverage the card that may stimulate people using it. After a certain dollar value has been reached, maybe a free item or special discount could be redeemed. Another possibility if you have long term regular customers is to simply apply a small percentage of every purchase to a fund that accumulates and can be donated to a charity of their choice. If you print the total on each receipt they can wait until they feel it's significant enough and "redeem" the donation. By combining this with special card holder "deals" you might generate some interest. Since buying patterns are part of the "profile" that gets created, say someone is particularly fond of certain items you carry. You could notify them by email when you're running a special on those items.

    Those ideas may be more suitable to other business models so I put them out there for the benefit of all SBF readers. Speaking personally, all the convenience stores I frequent, which isn't many and not really frequent, I neither expect a rewards program nor would I likely want to sign up. After all, the idea is in and out fast. Being asked to sign up for something defeats the purpose of my goal to make it a quick experience.
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    The convenience store I go to has a "coffee card". I think one free after 10. Funny enough I always get a cup of coffee but have never used the card. I'm sure I have missed out on many free cups. BUT, I think many do use it.

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    Personally not a big fan. They don't entice me to spend more or come back more often. I also live in a town where every bar and casino is pushing a loyalty program or players card 24/7 . So on the one hand it's expected that everyone offer one, but on the other none stand out as better than the other. They are also for players,and I am not one.

    I tend to just like the best service and price and that's where I go.

    As for products, I'm going to buy what I want and suits my needs whether there's any kind of loyalty program or not.

    I do however pay for Amazon Prime. Not a loyalty program in the traditional sense since you pay for it, but you also get something in return...2 day delivery and access to a ton of entertainment programming even when I'm not buying something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    The convenience store I go to has a "coffee card". I think one free after 10. Funny enough I always get a cup of coffee but have never used the card. I'm sure I have missed out on many free cups. BUT, I think many do use it.
    When the OP said convenience store, my first thought was a coffee card. Some will, some won't, but offering one should work. As you can see from posts here, it won't modify many people's behavior, but also remember we're business owners and value our time over loose change. For many types of customers, a free cup of coffee once in a while could make them more loyal to your store as their preferred coffee stop. If customers have other items such as fresh baked goods they buy with their coffee, my example above about offering more diverse choices than just a free coffee could yield better response.
    Steve Chittenden

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    "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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