For food and beverage retailers, distribution can be a complicated task. However, keeping it too simple can be problematic also. Making sure you have all your bases covered means shipping stock, keeping new orders coming in and, importantly for this article, keeping your customers happy. 😄
A reward program will help to build loyalty with existing customers, retaining their business and encouraging referrals for new buyers. How that reward program works is up to you, but opening up new channels of distribution means opening up new streams of revenue.
Let’s take a look at how multichannel distribution can lead to making your rewards program the best for ROI as well as looking towards improving in the future.
The problem with multichannel distribution
Getting your food into a big brand store like Walmart, Whole Foods, Giant, etc. can be a long process, but once you are there, you are not guaranteed success. You will be competing against any number of similar brands who are all trying to make their product the go-to for customers walking down the aisles.
Shopping online on sites like Amazon or even creating your own eCommerce site can be even more difficult. There you often have the whole internet to compete with.
What sets your brand apart is creating a relationship with the customer to build customer loyalty. To do this, you need to know who you are selling to by finding information on the customer. With all these different points of sale, it can be incredibly difficult to ensure you have the data you need.
The solution to build the best rewards programs
While having multichannel distribution can make it difficult to collect and analyze data, having many points of sale will be more profitable. Not only that, but if you only have the one point of sale, say a food truck or brick and mortar store, when something happens or you have to close suddenly, you lose the opportunity for business.
This can happen similarly online. Even large scale distributors who work through commerce sites like eBay or Amazon are at their mercy. A complaint or bug in the system can cause you to stop trading, lose you business and seriously affect customer loyalty. Just look at how the internet freaks out when Facebook goes down for even a few minutes.
Having multichannel distribution means your customers can still find your product, even if there is a problem with one particular channel. If you have built up your customer loyalty well enough, then they will be willing to go down another channel just to find your product.
The solution is to make sure you have the ability to collect this information properly from the customer. Once you do, you need the right software to analyze this data. That’s where customer loyalty programs come in.
How to engage with the customer
Fostering customer loyalty through a reward program is one of the most effective ways to keep customers on brand. An effective reward program means that customers don’t just get the product you sell. They get to include you as part of their own lifestyle brand.
A reward scheme using your customer loyalty program can take many forms. You might have a simple ‘buy 6 get 1 free’ type of reward scheme which, although once popular, will now struggle to keep customer interest.
Tiered systems where buying a certain amount of your product will unlock for them certain rewards are proving more popular. These rewards could be anything from merchandise, experiential rewards or even providing information via eBooks or seminars. Points based systems are becoming more popular, especially with gamification of customer loyalty programs. Accruing these points and unlocking prizes is a great way to keep customers engaged.
Whatever form your reward program takes, you need to make sure you are catering to the needs of your customer. To do this, you need information.
Getting information for your customer loyalty platforms
Here are some great ways you can let your customers provide you with information:
Promotional Codes – promotional codes allow customers to engage with the product other than simply eating or drinking with it. Create a competition or raffle requiring the customer to email, text or DM the code. You can send them information about the competition, but you can also use their contact information to inform them of new promotions. QR codes can work in similar ways.
Social Media – reward customers when they interact with you on social media. This could be in the form of a photo contest, promoted by the packaging of your product, but taken online by following the instructions. You can even reward customers with something much more simple like a share or including your hashtag on certain posts.
Surveys – one of the best ways to collect information from customers is by asking them questions directly. With everybody and their aunt wanting you to take a survey, you will need to use your reward system to compensate for their time. If your reward scheme is points based, you can provide more points or you can let the survey open up free content.
Referrals – this should be one of the ultimate goals in your reward scheme. Getting new customers is one of the greatest ROI, helping to promote your product and showing you which direction to take the company in the future. This means that your referral reward scheme should be top notch.
Once you have multichannel information
Now that you have used your reward scheme to encourage customer data, you will need to file it back into a mainframe so you can analyze it. Your customer loyalty platform should be able to do this for you.
You should have one which tracks your social media activity, informing you of interactions with your brand and helping you to expand your reach.
It should also provide you information on your demographics by recording where and when they are buying your product. If you are a seasonal seller, then keeping track of where and when your product is being purchased is of the utmost importance.
Giving your customer rewards is not a selfless act. It needs to work for both parties. Having the right customer loyalty program will mean you have the best chance of keeping you both happy.
If you want to learn how your brand can use loyalty program software, set up a free consultation with our loyalty experts today!