Mary Hope Kramer
Customers agree that a free smoothie earned from that last stamp on a loyalty punch card tastes much sweeter than paying full price, even if that smoothie may have technically racked up a bill of $100 over eight weeks. Whether it’s restaurants, hotels, airlines, grocery stores, or other retailers, the loyalty system phenomena has made a tremendous impact on businesses — and the pet industry has taken notice. Dog groomers, boarding facilities, and veterinary clinics are among the pet service providers implementing loyalty rewards programs to their clients.
Loyalty programs have been proven to boost customer retention and spending. A 2019 study by Wirecard found that 75% of customers indicated that they were likely to return to make another purchase after receiving an incentive. Rewarding your clients for their business encourages them to continue making purchases, establishing a pattern with the promise of a future reward. The small expense of offering a future discount or free service can generate extra business over time as clients work towards that payoff. Nobody likes to leave money on the table, which makes clients more inclined to keep coming back to cash in on their points and punches. Following the reward, the cycle begins again. This method also changes the customer’s mindset, turning an often negative feeling associated with spending money into a positive, goal-oriented experience that has a clear payoff. Clients may even add a few additional items to their carts for the satisfaction of reaching the next level. For example, have you ever added items to your order to achieve free shipping?
Loyalty systems clearly work, but it’s important to consider the specifics of your business to determine what would work best for you and your clients.
Types of reward programs
This is one of the easiest systems to implement and is great for businesses such as groomers or pet retailers. With a card system, clients can be rewarded for visits or a certain amount spent with a reward for each filled card.
Example: Buy five grooms, and the sixth is 50% off or get a punch for every $10 spent and receive a free service such as daycare or a minor service such as nail grind or product discount.
This one is fairly straightforward—when the client spends a certain amount of money, they receive a specified amount back through coupons or store credit.
Example: Spend $100 and get 30% off your next purchase
Similar to Cashback, the points system attributes points to visits or purchased that can be cashed in for products or services.
Using a specialized management platform such as DaySmart Pet with loyalty options and direct client communication built in can make adding, customizing and tracking your client's loyalty points less overwhelming. You can even test run the system to see if it works for your with a free trial.
Get with the program
Loyalty programs will also become increasingly important as Gen Z begins to make up a larger percentage of the pet services market. The 2019 Bond Loyalty report, billed as the largest study on loyalty programs, pointed out that “unlike their parents, Gen Z and young millennials are loyalty natives: they’ve been members of programs ever since they’ve been consumers. They’re highly influenced by loyalty programs—62% of Gen Z and 67% of young millennials.” Gen Z and young millennials expect to be rewarded for their business, and that expectation extends to their pet care service providers.
Loyalty is king
Ultimately, loyalty programs increase customer engagement and help strengthen the relationship between the client and provider. Loyalty benefits make clients feel appreciated and valued, as the rewards represent a tangible “thank you” from your business. Your loyalty program may also spark interest from new potential clients and referrals who hear about it and want to take advantage of the benefits. A loyalty program can be as simple as a physical punch card or as complex as an app, but it is definitely a valuable resource with the potential to strengthen your business.
If you play your punch cards right, your customers will be as loyal as the pets you serve.