Move beyond paper and digital loyalty stamp cards and convert customers to automatic customers with subscription programs
Once upon a time, the world relied on paper. Faxing, typing, printing, writing…so much paper. In retail, customers paid with paper money, receipts were printed and customer loyalty stamp cards were stored in wallets.
And, remember those ‘every-6th-cup-of-coffee-free’ loyalty cards you spent hundreds of dollars printing? They, too, were paper and required a stamp or a hole puncher to remind customers where they were in their coffee journey. Inevitably, your customer lost, forgot or destroyed the card and had to pick up a new one, and then another new one, and another.
Customers had – and still have – dozens of loyalty stamp cards from dozens of retailers, all offering a free item at the end of what probably seems like an endless redemption journey. If the customer actually remembers the paper card and then remembers to get it stamped, even the most loyal customer probably waits months or longer to earn the coveted free reward.
In the end, the customer likely stops at the coffee shop closest to them when the caffeine urge strikes, feeling no sense of urgency to add another stamp to the list, endlessly reminding them how much they spend on coffee and feeling no sense of loyalty to one store over another.
Everything Has Gone Digital – Even Loyalty Stamp Cards
The old days are gone and paper has moved to digital – documents, receipts, loyalty apps and even stamp cards.
Nobody leaves home without their phone and an astounding 83% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, according to research by Ericsson & The Radicati Group.
Google estimates that users have 35 apps on their smartphones, on average. Its probable that if they have one store’s app, they have several so once again, its hard to stand out in a crowd, though a little easier to remind them to purchase and earn.
Even if an app is extraordinary, it’s really hard to create a brand promoter who feels a special association with your store if all they’re doing is earning points. Just like the paper card scheme, customers will shop wherever is convenient and so again, your most loyal customer buys your competitor’s coffee at least fifty percent of the time.
But, what if there was a way to make sure they shop YOUR store and buy YOUR coffee and not your competition?
Locking In Loyalty
With a fixed monthly price for unlimited daily coffee, a customer is locked in to that brand. Enter, subscription coffee programs. Your super-loyal customers pay on their phone app, contemplates that purchase just once when signing up and walks into your store(s) and redeems their already-paid-for coffee day after day!
Winning All the Trips
This smart customer purchased a month of coffee. She is YOUR customer and as long as you keep her happy, she’ll stay that way. Where else is she getting coffee? No where else. Just your coffee, only your customer.
You capture 100% of the coffee purchases and along with that, all the cross-sale that comes with that subscribing coffee customer. Now that your customer is only in your stores, she is there much more often, and the number of purchases is even higher than before, as well.
And, what if that customer wants to meet with a friend for coffee? She’s not going to suggest meeting somewhere she has to pay for coffee, she’s going to want to meet at your location to redeem her coffee allotment. She will probably convince her friend to join the subscription coffee program, too, so they can meet up more often. You have created a brand advocate, maybe two!
Can Your Competition Still Win the Coffee Game?
What if your competition launches a coffee subscription program before you do? Is your 50/50 as-is business gone? Yes, most likely you are left with 0% of that coffee customer’s spend on coffee and worse, all the other foods and items that go along with it.
Win the Trip and the Automatic Customer
Subscription programs for drinks and snacks are a win for both retailers and customers. Retailers can count on recurring revenue through automatic customers and increased basket sizes. Customers can feel that they are saving money with a subscription and it also takes the thinking out of where to stop. Don’t let competitors beat you to offering a subscription program and avoid losing valuable customers by investing in your own easy subscription program in order to create automatic customers.
About Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialising in the convenience and foodservice industries. The proprietary, cloud-based technology platform allows retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a process called the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers’ activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
Liquid Barcodes loyalty platform is powering loyalty programs for industry leaders across several global markets, by offering unique subscription, mobile payment programs, machine learning, personalization, gamification, loyalty, and other capabilities.
Learn more about Liquid Barcodes at LiquidBarcodes.com.
About the Author
Carolyn Schnare, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes
Carolyn Schnare has been involved with the convenience retailing industry for two decades with extensive knowledge of customer engagement and marketing, sustainability, and community outreach. Prior to Liquid Barcodes, Schnare worked at NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) in a variety of roles from event production to membership and most recently as Director of Strategic Initiatives and host and producer of the popular industry podcast, Convenience Matters.