Loyalty Programs for Small Businesses
Loyalty programs are designed to build ongoing relationships between customers and merchants or brands by providing incentives for customers to shop with the company running the program. Loyalty programs have been around for a very long time – because they work for all kinds of businesses! In this post we’ll explore the connection between loyalty programs and card-linked offers (CLOs) and why loyalty programs can be especially helpful for establishing and growing small businesses.
How can a small business acquire new users with card-linked offers?
Card-linked offers are rewards (like discounts, earning points, or cashback) users can earn simply by linking a credit or debit card to a specific merchant and then using that card to make purchases there. Card-linked offers are an amazing way to introduce your business to new users because they don’t have high up-front costs, unlike other marketing campaigns targeting new customers. Once a small business initiates a CLO, people will automatically see the offer on their bank or card’s website, app, or on a CLO platform. When customers see they can get a deal from a new-to-them business, they’re more likely to actually check out the company and make a purchase.
As an example, a user of a larger rewards program app may come across a cashback offer from a business they’ve never heard of. But because they know they can earn a certain percentage back on any purchases made from that business, they’re more willing to navigate to that company’s site, browse, and buy something.
(an example of cashback card-linked offers highlighted on a popular rewards website)
How can I build customer loyalty with card-linked offers?
According to the Digital Commerce Alliance’s Annual Industry Study, card-linking was the preferred marketing tactic for a majority of businesses in 2021. Why? Because card-linking has statistically shown to drive consumer engagement and business growth more than anything else in recent years, even more than social media marketing. In the same study, more than ⅓ of respondents indicated that their card-linking programs grew by over 100% in 2021, and over 65% of those respondents reported that their sales from the year were over $1 billion.
These results make it clear that the companies that are investing in CLOs are reaping the benefits. Businesses – no matter what size they are – can gain valuable insight into their customers through the data accrued through card-linked offers. Using that data, businesses can better understand their existing customers, improve customer experiences, and personalize offers moving forward, all of which build loyalty through motivating customers to continue buying.
What are the benefits of card-linked offers for small merchants?
Card-linked offers first and foremost increase sales for merchants. They motivate existing consumers to continue buying, or even increase their spending. Running CLOs is a relatively inexpensive way of marketing to a broader audience in order to gain new customers. Card-linked offers can help businesses re-engage former customers who haven’t made purchases in a while. And through CLOs merchants can target customers based on their location, especially to boost in-person sales. So essentially, running a CLO loyalty program only has benefits for small businesses!
If you’re a small business and are interested in learning more about loyalty programs with card-linked offers, contact us today to talk about how you could start benefiting from this simple yet effective tactic!