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A recent survey* done by AXA Business Insurance have found that more than 60% of Britain’s shoppers have lasting relationships with their local stores and that they are much less loyal when it comes to their supermarket shopping.

But what makes local shops stand out? One in four answered that they like knowing the shop owners and the staff by name. They also responded that they like being able to order ‘the ususal’ in their local shops. Not all business sectors are treated equally though – the sectors we report the highest level of loyalty to are hairdressers, newsagents and butchers. It comes as no surprise that we are loyal to our hairdressers and butchers – the products and the service they provide are largely based on trust. As a bonus, shoppers appreciate the benefits independent shops bring to an area; over 70% say they think local shops adds to the character of a place, and almost 1 in 5 say the are prettier on the high street than the chains.

Another factor in our seeming preference for local shops is the nostalgia tied to high streets as they used to be – with a varied selection of specialist shops. These days high streets have a higher level of sameness; the same shops are found on every high street across the country.

An unsurprising 88% say they are not loyal to the supermarkets; price and convenience is the driving factor when they decide where to shop. 1 in 4 say they would change if a different store opened nearer to where they live or work – indicating location is an important factor for customers when choosing where to shop.

The survey also lists the top 10 businesses we are most loyal to;
1. Hairdresser
2. Newsagent
3. Butcher
4. Baker
5. Greengrocer
6. Florist
7. Shoe shop/Cobbler
8. Clothes store
9. Fishmonger
10. Book shop.

Interestingly the list consists only of specialist shops – big supermarkets combining clothes, furniture and groceries are nowhere to be seen despite their ‘all-in-one solution’ and, often, car friendly locations. It is an interesting contrast to the picture often presented in media, where we tend to see a focus on consumers being disloyal and focused only on price, largely influenced by online shopping.

Online shopping may be convenient and easy – but British consumers still seem to put their loyalty with their local shops, appreciating familiarity and what these shops bring to the community.

*See the original survey here.

Almost any business in any sector can run a loyalty program and elaborate on repeat business. The benefits and rewards from focusing on your existing customers as opposed to only focusing on gaining new business are many – and it’s an area you should not ignore. Did you know, on average, customers who have bought from you before, are more than twice as likely to buy a second time than someone who has never bought from you? This means – your existing customers are low hanging fruit and relatively easy to sell to. So what type of loyalty program can your business run?

There are as many types as there are customers. Choose how you want to reward customers first. An instore-voucher is always a good idea. This can be a percentage discount or a cash discount. These are great because they make it highly likely the person returns to you. If you make them transferable they can also be a great way of getting new business – the recipient can give it to a friend recommending you. What’s more, an in-store voucher is very rarely used at its value. A person with a £10 voucher is unlikely to limit his or her purchase to the value of the voucher, rather they are likely to use the voucher as part of a purchase bigger than they would normally make. Or, forget to use it completely.

Another popular approach is to give away a freebie. We all know the free coffee/hot drink tactic. For low-cost, high frequency items this can work a treat. And as with the in-store voucher, is the user likely to include the value of the voucher in a bigger purchase. Psychologically, we are prone to treating ourselves to something extra when we are getting something for free. That muffin seems very cheap when your coffee is free, doesn’t it?

A cumulative approach is another option. Let your customers earn points based on their spend, and set up rewards at varying levels. The psychological effect her is tremendous – the rewards do not have to be high value; what’s more is people are usually tempted to up their overall spend if there’s a freebie included.

If you already run a loyalty program, but it feels stale and old – sit down and have a think. How can you make it more exciting for customers? What rewards can you offer that will make customers eager to earn their points? Each approach has its strong points – choose the one that suits your business and your customers.

The number of pubs is decreasing at worrying rate in the UK – we wrote an article about it last summer (read it here) – and pub owners around these fair isles are doing their best to keep them going and growing attracting business. Most pubs live on their regulars; the after-works, the sports fans and their neighbours, who come in week after week.

But the stats don’t lie – even the regulars are decreasing in number. A simple measure to keep your regulars is providing value. It is likely that one reason for the decline in pub-visitors is the economic climate – buying alcohol to drink it at home is cheaper. You must show them that the value they get from visiting your pub exceeds the tangible penny-saving; you must make it clear that their visit matters to you. Isn’t that part of the reason we go to pubs, to meet people, to feel part of a group?

Loyalty cards have been around for a while – but the standard paper or plastic ones are often more hassle than they are worth for the staff. Customers love the idea of getting rewarded – it makes them feel appreciated and that they are saving money. Our app is designed to give merchants an easy solution to this conundrum. You can read more about it here. So how might a loyalty program work for a pub, selling both drinks and food? Traditional loyalty cards often give a stamp per drink – and that’s it. Many newer solutions are fare more flexible – Loyalzoo included – and allows you to rewards for spend instead, giving you more options and freedom with how you want to reward them. You could give 1 point per £1 spent, and set up the rewards as follows: 10 points – complimentary bar snack, 20 points free pint of Becks/small glass house wine, 50 points – half price house bottle of wine. If you don’t want to give alcohol as rewards you could offer discounts on food as the reward, or even gift cards with third parties e.g. Amazon – 50 points – £5 amazon voucher, or 150 points – £25 Amazon voucher.

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch – find our contact information here. We love a chat!

 

There are two main things you can expect if you run a well-functioning loyalty program; customers come more often and they spend more each time they come. Overall, this can mean an interesting increase in sales. Figures vary depending on your sector – but a sales increase between 8-33% is highly probable Read more

Goals are always easier to reach if they are clearly defined. And so also with customer loyalty. Before simply setting out on a quest to achieve it, ask yourself why you want it. By defining a goal it will also be easier to define the road there.

It may seem a superfluous question with an obvious answer – you want customers loyalty to keep business going and money coming in. That will be at the crux for most – but what does customer loyalty mean, as opposed to a stream of new, one-time, customers?

Customer loyalty to create your brand

If you are a relatively new business, you might be looking to define your brand. To show it as a trustworthy and superior alternative. Focus on winning over each and every customer you get; for each person you convince the next one will be that much easier to sell to. No one is reassured by an empty shop.

Customer loyalty to spread awareness

It is easy to think that the best way of growing a business is to invest in new customers. We have said it before – chasing new customers may be counterproductive and make your existing customers feel overlooked. Focus on the customer experience for your existing customers. Once you have them, look after them so they never have to go anywhere else – and to ensure they speak well of you and your business.

Customer loyalty for feedback

Customers who have been with you for some time are good indicators of what works and doesn’t in your business. If you are yet to do some simple analysis of stock and sales, do put in some effort. Maybe you can drop some products or increase your focus on others? Just be wary of asking the customer what they want – you might find yourself overwhelmed – look instead for buying patterns.

Customer loyalty to strengthen your brand

Business going ok? Trodding along? Perhaps it is time to step it up a notch. If your brand is established, it may be time to market it. But don’t waste your time on old fashioned ad campaigns; unless your budget is big it is hard to make an impact. Focus instead on your ideal customers. Who are they? Then ask where are they. On twitter? Interact with them. On Instagram? Look at what they post and mimic the style for your brand’s page. On Facebook? Look at what they interact with and create posts similar in style. By successfuly defining and communicating with a few of your ideal customers, you are rapidly increasing your chances that people similar to them – ie more of your ideal customers – see it and engage it too.

Getting loyal customers does take time and a bit of effort – but once you know why you need them and who your ideal customers are, not only will it be easier – it will heighten the return you get, too.