Small business, big rewards – why customer loyalty programs matter

Most consumers are familiar with loyalty programs offered by department stores and big businesses, but many don’t realise some small businesses also offer membership programs and other generous rewards.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and as owners, I believe we understand better than big business the importance of customer loyalty.

Most of our businesses are family-run businesses and we don’t have the enormous marketing budgets of big business, but we can and should continue to find ways to thank our regular customers and clients for their loyalty.

Every year I give away thousands of dollars’ worth of vouchers and freebies to regular and new customers through in-store, email and Facebook and Instagram promotions.

If someone chooses to regularly spend their money buying from me and follows my business on social media, it makes sense to me to give them something back to show my appreciation.

Something as simple as giving a customer a voucher or small gift on their birthday or the chance to win a prize on social media can go a long way to rewarding them for their loyalty.

Five ways to reward customers:

  • Membership program – members can receive sign-up and yearly birthday vouchers, exclusive discounts and offers and rewards each time they spend a certain amount of money.
  • Workshops and demonstrations – free how-to sessions and product and service tutorials from industry experts allow your customers to find out more about your products and services.
  • Events – give members special access to your business. A VIP shopping event allows them to take advantage of special prices, enjoy food and drink while they shop, go into the running to win prizes and take home a goodie bag of samples.
  • Social media competitions – followers are given the chance to win popular products and vouchers at certain times of the year, such as Mothers’ Day and Christmas.
  • One-off bonus – Sales, giveaways and competition can be used to celebrate your business’ birthday or make a major announcement, such as a move to a new location or the introduction of a product range or service.

Every month I sign up about 250 new members to my Adelaide home organisation store.

I believe the key to a good loyalty program is simplicity.

Unlike some big store membership programs, ours is free to join and easy to use and we don’t ask customers to carry yet another plastic card in their wallets or accumulate tens of thousands of points for an appliance they may never use.

We encourage as many people as possible to join our members program and follow us on social media because that allows us to communicate with them about special offers, events and competitions.

Statistics show that members spend more frequently and spend more money.

If a customer is appreciated, they are more likely to support your small business and to tell their friends and family to shop with you too, and that’s a win for everyone.

Dave Strutton, Owner, Howard Storage World Mile End