The Loyalty Network

Posted on May 12, 2011. Filed under: Loyalty |

No, this isn’t a new movie featuring Jessie Eisenberg…although that would be cool.

It’s a brief teaser of what’s coming – with Boutique Loyalty (Trademark Pending).

Many small businesses see the success that large companies have with their loyalty programs – whether it’s an airline, a grocery store, or even a mall in your community.  Consumers earn and redeem points, and the pursuit of points has become an obsession for many loyal subscribers.

However, for small business – there are some major drawbacks.

First, a loyalty program only works for your current customers.  It doesn’t help with the acquisition of new customers, or the necessary marketing to build a customer base in the first place.

Secondly, joining can a barrier for new customers – especially since many large chain loyalty programs have become associated with credit card offers.  New customers see joining one. more. network. as annoying.

In addition, most loyalty programs require a membership card to identify with – but with the high cost of production, a database to manage accounts, and the probability of customers losing their cards – this creates unnecessary cost and overhead for a small business.

So what’s a Loyalty Network?

It’s a better way to leverage your neighbors and relationships in your community – a way to build your customer base and build customer loyalty at the same time.  It’s a system that allows small businesses to work together both within the community and in surrounding areas – even nationally to bring awareness to your business and brand.

Boutique Loyalty is launching a Loyalty Network soon – learn more before the pre-launch by requesting information.  Or, check back to learn more soon.

Stay local!

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Keeping it Simple

Posted on February 26, 2011. Filed under: Best Practices, Loyalty | Tags: , , |

Complexity is totally overrated.

I’ve been in more than my fair share of meetings.  I can’t count the number of times that I watched some poor colleague trying to explain the benefits of some antiquated, incredibly confusing and complex methodology or product.  The general response from the meeting group?  “KISS!”

No, that’s not an inappropriate response for a meeting – it stands for “Keep it Simple, Stupid.”  If you can’t explain it, who can understand it?

A blog post I saw recently made this point beautifully:

“Second, make sure it’s something easy to implement and explain. If it’s too complicated no one will use it because they won’t understand it. Moreover, you don’t want to create a plan that is costly.”

A loyalty program should sell for you, and allow consumers to earn rewards in the form of “an excuse to come back.”

But what if every store on your street had its own loyalty program?  How willing will a customer be to participate in yours?  Over-saturation can tire the consumer and, worst of all, confuse.

Keeping it simple is important for the consumer, but it’s also important for the small business owner.  A loyalty program should be:

*Simple during the checkout process
*Simple to explain
*Simple for the consumer to join
*Simple for the consumer to redeem rewards…making it a simple decision to come back!

If loyalty programs you are considering don’t pass the “KISS” test, keep looking, as we work towards releasing a simpler solution.

Stay local!

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The Glue

Posted on February 22, 2011. Filed under: Loyalty |

Remember how, in elementary school, you were excited to do any project that involved glue?  Most projects involved wooden sticks, or colorful construction paper, or possibly even cereal bits or marshmallows.  No matter what the ingredients were, I was so excited as soon as my mom or the teacher would pull out those white bottles with the orange tips.  Weren’t you?

Glue binds things together, and actually creating that bond is totally exciting for a child.  As we grow up, we create other bonds, too.  Some bonds are personal, some professional.  Some involve just one other person, and sometimes the bonds we make create a network of close friends and colleagues.

In order to thrive, a community needs bonds to form – and not just among the citizens.  Small businesses, boutiques, and restaurants, run by the members of a community are a part of the bonds that we create and the roots that we grow in a place.  However, big business and chains can compete with these locally run gems and distract us.

It’s time to get the glue bottles back out and start bonding our communities more strongly!  I’ll keep you posted as we release our own sort of “glue” in the coming months.  Stay local!

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