Written by Talana Morris on Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
Just about every brick-and-mortar shop or restaurant has a customer reward program these days. Loyal customers receive points during each visit, ultimately earning a reward or discount of some sort. I recall card-based loyalty programs dating back to the early 90s when I worked for a retail bookstore at the mall with a punch card reward system. After 10 punches, you received a discount on your next visit. Many grocery stores launched their loyalty programs around that time as well as did airlines and credit cards of course.
Reward programs are still just as popular today as they were then, however the emergence of e-commerce and social media has introduced consumers and store owners to a whole new world. More and more we’re seeing a switch from the punch card to a digital program in stores, making life much easier for everyone involved.
We helped our client, The Maddox Shop (a fabulous lingerie store in Dallas’ Casa Linda neighborhood), launch a reward card program in 2014. While digital programs were becoming popular, at that time there wasn’t a viable solution for a small mom-and-pop shop. Most digital programs seemed to be geared more toward the big box stores or larger chains. At the time, we settled on a punch card system. This allowed us to collect information on customers, such as email address, date of birth, and phone number, which made it possible for us to market to them better. The program was very popular and successful, but we still wanted a more modern solution that didn’t require our customers to keep up with a physical punch card.
In 2016 I stumbled upon FiveStars (an online reward platform) while visiting a small, family-owned restaurant near where I live. This was my first visit to the restaurant and I was impressed with the food and their marketing skills when they asked if I wanted to join their reward program to earn points.
All I had to do was enter my phone number on a small tablet beside the register. That’s it??!! I don’t have to fill out my name, email, phone, etc.? I was amazed at the ease of signing up.
And, even more amazed when I earned a reward during my first visit. (I think I had 4-5 extra people in tow that evening, resulting in a heftier than normal dinner bill). Well, I couldn’t let that discount burn a hole in my pocket, so I returned the next week. A few weeks later I received a message from the restaurant saying they missed me, including a BOGO (buy one, get one) entrée offer. So guess what? I went back before my reward expired to take advantage of the savings.
Granted, if I wasn’t impressed with the food itself or pricing overall, a reward wouldn’t matter. Customer service and food quality/value trump a discount any day but still, a discount has been known to woo me as well as countless others.
My immediate thought upon signing up for their program was that if they could offer this service, surely our client, The Maddox Shop, could use the same service. I couldn’t imagine this small restaurant could afford an expensive reward program solution.
So, I submitted an inquiry on the FiveStars website and before long, I was sitting down with The Maddox Shop owner, manager and FiveStars sales rep, Jamie Webb. My client was so impressed with what Jamie showed us that they signed up on the spot. Before Jamie left that initial meeting, she installed the software on their point-of-sale system and set up the tablet kiosks. She also stuck around to train the staff on signing up the first few customers. That was on December 15, 2016. The program has been in place 2 ½ months, and they have already signed up more than 1,100 customers*.
I highly recommend this program for small shop or restaurant owners. Here’s why:
If you’re interested in implementing FiveStars reward program, give us a shout. We can make an introduction and help you navigate implementation.
And for those of you with customers who may not be as tech-savvy, do not want push messages, or maybe don’t have a cell phone, FiveStars can still capture the details using a landline phone number. It will simply track the earnings so that all your customers can receive a benefit.
*Results will vary depending upon the type of products offered and price point. For instance, a coffee shop’s reward members may visit every day earning 5-7 points each visit for a coffee purchase. The Maddox Shop is a lingerie store that sees less frequent visits, but more points are earned per purchase due to the higher price point. FiveStars helps you navigate the system and counsels on discounts. We’ve tweaked our format here and there as we go.