Artificial Advancement Through Customer Loyalty Programs

artificial advancement
Courtesy: Brian J. Matis

Customers are known to get into loyalty programs expecting immediate rewards. The best way to get the maximum amount of customer loyalty is by using artificial advancement in your customer loyalty program.

Artificial advancement is defined as giving customers early access to limited-time offers, discounts, and other special incentives not available to other shoppers.

The idea behind this technique is that once your loyal customers realize they can get better deals than their non-loyal counterparts, they will be more likely to keep shopping with you rather than going across the street or walking up a flight of stairs to your competitor’s store.

Customer loyalty programs have been around for centuries in some form or another through many different types of businesses, but it’s only recently that retailers have started implementing them as a standard practice.

While this may be because of increased competition, another reason is that industry experts have confirmed that loyalty programs work to increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

But, if you’re thinking about joining the bandwagon and starting your very own loyalty program, it’s essential to understand how they work. Before implementing one, there are so many aspects to consider, including knowing what your customers need and want from such a program.

But for now, we will focus on one technique: artificial advancement in customer loyalty programs. Let’s see why and when you should use them.

What is Artificial Advancement in Customer Loyalty Programs?

Artificial Advancement is defined as giving customers early access to limited-time offers, discounts, and other special incentives not available to other shoppers.

The idea behind this technique is that once your loyal customers realize they can get better deals than their non-loyal counterparts, they will be more likely to keep shopping with you rather than going across the street or walking up a flight of stairs to your competitor’s store.

For example, if you are running a loyalty program for your grocery store and one day you announce that purchases made that week by members will receive double the amount in points based on their total bill at checkout, then you have successfully used artificial advancement in your loyalty program.

Why should you use this? The answer is simple: to increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases! Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. We will break down the reasons below:

Why Use this Technique in Customer Loyalty Programs?

One of the main reasons you should use artificial advancement in customer loyalty programs is because it works. You can deduce that from the quotes above regarding how it encourages customers to keep shopping with you rather than going across the street or walking up a flight of stairs to your competitor’s store.

But for those who need more convincing, here are some other good reasons:

1. It makes sense to use this technique if you know that there is a small amount of time before your offer will expire. This means that you can give customers early access, and, as mentioned above, they will be more likely to shop with you than your competitors because of the savings they will receive.

2. It makes sense to use this technique if it has always been done in your industry. For example, the cellphone industry provides loyalty programs for its customers.

One of their most popular techniques is giving out free ringtones and wallpapers via text messages and email blasts, which increases customer loyalty and repeat purchases. And so the saying goes: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!”

3. It makes sense to use this technique if you are trying to bring in new customers. Once you have brought them into the store via your loyalty program, they will be more likely to stay with you for future shopping trips because of the savings they received during their first visit (provided that the offer was good).

4. You can also use this technique when introducing a new product or service. This way, loyal customers who are already familiar with your business will try out your latest offering. Therefore, it is an excellent method for increasing customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

5. You can also use this technique to increase traffic at specific times of day or days of the week. If you want to increase traffic early in the morning, one way to do it is to give your early-bird shoppers a special offer/discount before you open, and they will surely come back for more.

Or how about trying to increase traffic on the weekends – if that is when your business usually suffers from low turnout, why not try offering a special deal or two during those times? Once again, increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases are sure to follow.

So as you can see, there are plenty of good reasons as to why you should use this technique in your company’s next customer loyalty program. There’s only one bad reason not to use it: if your goal is merely to have a heightened number of members in your program without any substantial benefit being offered to those who sign up.

The bottom line is that if you offer a real incentive, then you will see an actual increase in customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Steps to Improve Customer Loyalty Program with Artificial Advancement

Step 1 – You Need to Have a Well-Established Goal

Artificial advancement can be used in different ways when it comes to increasing customer loyalty programs, but the most important thing is to have a well-established goal in mind before implementing these initiatives into your program.

Why? The answer is simple: every action has an equal and opposite reaction, meaning that if you try to achieve something without knowing what it is, you might not achieve anything at all! That was a lengthy response to this short question, but we hope that it made sense.

Step 2- Understand What Your Customers Need

Now that you have a well-established goal, it’s time to understand what your customers need so that you can create a loyalty program that will help them get what they want.

Let’s take two real-time scenarios into account:

Scenario 1: You own an online clothing business. One of your goals is to increase customer loyalty among your current clientele. We’ll call them Anna and Sarah for this article’s sake.

In this case, the needs of both customers would be different because Anna wants free shipping on her next purchase while Sarah wants a coupon code for 15% off on her next purchase.

Scenario 2: You own an online clothing business. One of your goals is to increase customer loyalty among your current clientele. For this article’s sake, we’ll call them Anna and Sarah again (we like these customers of ours).

In this case, their needs would be similar since both women want free shipping on their next purchase. So let’s say that you decide to comply with the first wish by giving Anna free shipping on her next purchase.

Since there is no more room for improvement in this scenario, the only thing left is to analyze what you could do better if you had another goal in mind to improve upon it!

Step 3 – A Head Start

So you have a well-established goal and understand what your customers need – but how do you implement artificial advancement into your customer loyalty programs to achieve these goals?

It’s really simple: just give them a head start. In other words, help your customers get where they want to go as fast as possible by giving the impression that they are already there! One way to accomplish this is by making it seem like someone has already reached their specific goal.

For example, if Sarah wants a coupon code for 15% off on her next purchase, why not make it appear as though she has already gotten that discount? You could generate a coupon code with a number or give them a code with a future expiration date.

Step 4 – FAQ is MUST

Since we’ve covered how to implement artificial advancement into your customer loyalty programs and why you should, it is only appropriate to discuss the next step: creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

How? It’s simple: list every possible question that might be asked on this subject and then explain your answer, if applicable. If you don’t want to use a specific piece of artificial advancement or have an excuse ready for not doing so, then write down the reasoning behind your decision so that customers don’t have any questions about it later on.

Step 5 – Expert Support Team at Place

While most businesses rely on their customer support teams to answer queries about the loyalty program, this might not always be enough. This is why it is essential to use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where customers spend considerable time during weekdays.

On these channels, marketers need to engage directly with their audience and provide timely updates and information about what’s new at their business.

Step 6 – Multiple Channel Availability

One of the biggest pitfalls for any loyalty program is having your participants stuck with just one channel of communication, including email or SMS.

Whether it be a website, app, or social media platform, you need to ensure that all participants know that they can get access to information regarding the latest offers and updates through multiple channels available apart from their preferred medium of communication.

Not offering them this choice will result in lower participation rates, which might adversely impact your business later.

Conclusion

Customers are looking for ease of use regarding loyalty programs as busy schedules make it difficult for them to participate in multiple campaigns. This is where artificial advancements come down to understanding your customers and what they value most during their transactions with you to ensure that the loyalty program remains lucrative for both parties.

Norman Anthony Balberan

Anything out of the ordinary (?) Utopian dream, crashed and merged with unstable consequences causing mayhem...

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