Repeat customers are the key to success for all businesses. Too often the businesses get stuck in offering a simple (and boring) "buy 10 and get 1 free" deals as a reward for customer loyalty. At AirLoop we think this is not enough in keeping your customers exciting and happy.  You spend so much effort and money in getting the customer to come in to your store for the first time, but a bigger challenge is to turn these visits into repeat visits. What is the most effective means to try and acquire them? We believe that the most effective way is to create a loyalty rewards program. This is not news to many businesses. In fact, most Fortune 500 companies as well as small-businesses have create loyalty programs that create repeat customers. 

Our merchant partners are always asking us for for tips on how to improve their existing loyalty program to make them more effective. So we have put together 5 top ways to improve your customer loyalty program. Here goes:

1. Offer incentives to join your program

Too many businesses focus on getting customer information that they forget to sell their loyalty program. Remember, your customers will give you the data you need if you create a proper incentive. Create a relationship with your customer around the benefits they can have by enrolling in your loyalty program. If you are a sandwich shop, consider giving a welcome reward for drink upgrade. This way the customer feels rewarded and appreciated from the get-go.

2. Well designed campaigns can drive more traffic

We encourage our merchants to run time-sensitive campaigns. Promotions that have an expiry date with them convert better than those which are open-ended. This can be achieved by simply putting a defined timeline to the promotion. Think of this as "Act Now" campaign. When tied with in-store check-ins, this will increase the customer visit rate to your store and they will be closer to their next reward. Which will keep them coming back.

3. Create superior customer service relationships

Remember it's your customer. They came to your store to buy the products you are selling. You need to create a personal relationship with your customer that is more than a digital handshake. Treat your customers kindly, equitably and efficiently when they are in your business. You have little time to make an impression, and the frequency with which they will return to your store depends directly on this.

4.  Collect smart data overtime

With tools like Birthday Club and advance campaigns, you can collect very targeted customer data over time. The key here is patience. If you ask too much information early on, you might get the customer turned-off from your loyalty program. A proper loyalty program, like ours, can help prompt your customer for this data at the right time. Create engagement with your customer and over time they will start to trust your brand.

5. Be personal

While we do provide a lot of templates to our merchant partners to get them started, we always highly recommend them to create more personalized messages that reflect their brand tone. Your communication with your customers doesn't need to be around "incentive" all the time. You can thank them for the recent visit. Send them messages or communication that is tangentially related to their experience with your business.

The tips above are just some of the ways a loyalty program can help your business grow.