You need to win with personalisation in loyalty programs


Traditional loyalty programs based solely on points have hit a plateau. This has been the subject of a webinar I attended, and I have read several articles about it. The problem is that almost every business now in Australia is doing it, so the problem is that a business program is now competing with so many companies that it is struggling to make its program noticed. 

For some businesses, points work brilliantly, and we have no reason to believe that a traditional program of buying eleven cards/coffee and the 12th is free would not work well in the future. 

However, many businesses need differentiation, which is why many loyalty programs are moving into personalisation! Its called CRM.

"Mass marketing is dead. Personalization is the new frontier for loyalty programs." 

Now, I am worried about this in my client base:

The Challenges of Personalization for Smaller Retailers

Many of my clients are not huge and will face the following problems.

  • Limited Data: Unlike large corporations, they might not have vast troves of customer behaviour data.
  • Experts: Access to sophisticated consultants is lacking; they are often too busy to attend the many conferences that discuss this to get ideas.
  • Scale: It's tough to match the "wow" factor of rewards programs offered by big brands with extensive resources.
  • Time: Large brands are willing to run at a loss for ages to establish their program.

Overcoming the Obstacles: Practical Solutions

We have what we have; we can only play the hand we have, so we need actionable strategies for small retailers to personalise their loyalty programs:

  • Focus on Key Data: Your POS System collects the most valuable data points, e.g. purchase frequency and spending habits.
  • Simple Personalization: Often simple ideas work well, e.g. birthday discounts and email alerts for new products based on previous purchases; if a parent buys back-to-school products from you, what is wrong next year sending the parent an email that you have back-to-school products?
  • Local: Emphasize the genuine connection you have with the local community.
  • Local SEO: Make sure you appear in the local Google search high up.
  • The Human Touch: Enhance personalisation with handwritten thank you notes on your packing.

adding a thank you note

Affordable Tech to Boost Your Program

  • Your POS as a CRM: Your Point-of-Sale systems include built-in customer relationship management tools that allow you to track data, send targeted promotions, and build customer profiles.
  • Social Media Power: Please interact directly with your customers on social platforms such as Facebook (consider it free advertising).
  • Email Marketing: Use email newsletters to tell people you exist. Let me know if you do not know how to do this, and I will point you through it.

Additional Tips:

  • Be Adaptable: Don't be afraid to experiment and refine your rewards program based on what works for you.
  • Are you an expert in something you sell?: If so why not run a short course? 


"Personalization is the heart of every successful business. Treat every customer as a unique individual, not a number."

Personalisation doesn't require breaking the bank or having massive amounts of data. You can start with meaningful steps and gradually build on them. Remember, genuine connection is the ultimate competitive edge! Take the first step, experiment with personalisation, and watch your loyal customer base grow.


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