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There are so many different types of loyalty platforms on the market that it can become confusing as a business owner when implementing the right program. Everyone is so conditioned to seeing what works for big retailers as well, that it is easy to assume that what works for them will work in the SMB world…wrong. Let’s have a look at some of the misconceptions happening in the SMB loyalty space.

Customers love marketing emails

loyalty-program-misconceptionsNo…they really don’t, do you love receiving hundreds of emails every day? It takes a very special kind of email to blow email open rates out of the water. Mailchimp says, on average SMB email campaigns average an open rate of 21.53% and that’s by creating outstanding email campaigns, but that’s just an open rate.  For a customer to actually take action on this email is far less. Think before you implement a loyalty program that focuses purely on email and email marketing campaigns, as you may not see the return on investment you are looking for.

 

loyalty-program-misconceptionsCustomers will do anything you tell them to do

Wrong again, it’s incredibly hard to get a customer to behave in a certain way, so don’t leave it up to them. There are plenty of loyalty programs that require a customer to take action in signing up to a loyalty program. They may have to go to a website and sign up or keep a paper or plastic card in their wallet or it may even be scanning a QR code when they arrive in-store. Think about the customer and how much of an inconvenience this is for them. The best advice is removing the friction from the sign-up process and doing it for them, that way you stay in control & don’t leave it up to them to decide.

Birthday offers will generate a tonne of revenue

loyalty-program-misconceptionsTotally false again! We’re not saying it’s going to be a total flop but think about what you personally do on your Birthday. You either celebrate with your loved ones maybe have a party at home and in most cases, your friends will take you out for dinner to a place that they think is nice or to your favourite restaurant. In any of these cases, your small business will probably lose out. Now think about it again, is it really worth running Birthday offers in-store?

Reminder: Focus your energies on the things you can control & don’t leave the rest up to chance

SMS marketing works!

This is only half true, it certainly works but remember the saying “too much of a good thing is bad.” SMS campaigns work because they are short, snappy and grab a customer’s attention immediately but if you bug a customer with predictable and constant SMS messages, all you are going to do is make them “opt out.” Make it exciting and keep promotional campaigns between 2 – 4 times a month.

loyalty-program-misconceptions

 

Loyalzoo – who the heck is Loyalzoo?…well you would like to know wouldn’t you?

For a start, we’re a London-based business with a global footprint. We support independent retailers and small chains and eateries and all those places which are the basis of your local community. Loyalty is our business. Keeping high streets and communities thriving and buzzing is the brilliant outcome of our digital platform.  

meet-loyalzoo

We’re definitely the most unique digital loyalty solution in the UK and our ambition is to be the number one choice for SMBs. This week we’re throwing open our doors and holding an investor meet & greet where we’ll be serving Loyalzoo cocktails and treats for our guests. Would you like to come along? You can sign up for the event here on Eventbrite.

You’ll be able to get to know the team behind the brand; Massimo Sirolla the Co-founder & CEO of Loyalzoo, who knows  his retail and loyalty business will be on hand along with Mark Ryan – Co-founder & non-executive director, Rhiannon Barnes – Growth & engagement manager, Andrew Campbell – Chief Technology Officer, and Iain Watt – Full stack developer. So if you’re interested in finding out about our typical customer, how we came to be or our plans for the future – someone will definitely be able to fill you in.

We also have major plans for the business which is why we’re raising a big £500,000 investment at the moment. A large part of this is through our third crowdfunding campaign which is now live on Seedrs and has started off with a bang. For more information, head to www.seedrs.com/loyalzoo3

If you’re an existing, new or potential investor, come along and meet the team to hear our story and our plans. We look forward to welcoming you.

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.

It is no secret that Loyalzoo – our loyalty app for local shops – came about as a result of our own interests. We enjoy to shop local in our neighbourhood, and want to help these shops grow and compete against the big brands. The papers are always reporting that local businesses are closing, so shopping in them is vital to keep them, and our neighbourhoods, alive.

So what’s the problem with big brands? Well – nothing, really. Many of them offer a good range of decent quality products, their opening hours are convenient and there is usually parking on the premises. Many offer wifi in store, low prices and central locations.

So far so good. But one thing they lack is excitement and interest in themselves and their products. You will never get an employee in a global chain enthusiastically talking about where their latest product came from and why they decided to stock it. Or talk about how their latest flavour came about – as a result of their best friends’ idea and their uncle’s abundant apple-tree.

Local shops have their limitations, sure. Their opening hours aren’t always as long as we would have liked them to be, the parking may be limited. But the variety of products and the stories behind them makes it a far more interesting place than any chain shop will ever be. You can tell by talking to the staff and the atmosphere inside. If it’s a cafe – is it an in-out feel, or are people sitting down with a friend or two, chatting away and enjoying themselves? If it’s a food shop or bakery, are the people in the queue mostly huffing and puffing in stress, or are they waiting patiently? Maybe we are just very lucky – but our experience in local shops is predominantly a much more relaxed matter than that in the big shops.

We still use the big brands, of course we do. Sometimes the convenience is unbeatable. But every time, whilst we queue up in another seething line full of people cursing and oozing passive aggressiveness because it is rush hour and they are all hangry and angry at the cashier not working fast enough, we think we could have – should have – gone to the  local instead. It would have been more expensive, taken longer and finding parking would have been a pain – but being in the shop would have made us relax and lower our shoulders.

Not every local shop is like this – but many are. And none of the big ones are. So we shop local when we can and we urge you to do the same.

Big data is one of those buzzwords that has gained traction over the last few years. The big brands and chains are all talking about it. So what is it? Read more