In the past, restaurant customer loyalty programs have offered printed coupons produced by third-party partners. Today, modern restaurants and retail businesses are creating online customer loyalty accounts – enabling them to collect and analyze customer information through their point of sale (POS) software, and leverage that database to send personalized emails.

Customer loyalty accounts allow modern businesses to create marketing campaigns based on location, demographic, customizable reward plans and personalized coupons – customers can receive offers that are specifically tailored to them.

The need for personalization

The rise of online and smartphone transactions among consumers presents new challenges for retailers and restaurant owners – namely to create a personalized experience that cannot be achieved on the other side of the screen. And whether retailers have risen to these challenges or not, research shows that consumers want and expect them to. In fact, in a recent Infosys survey, 78 percent of consumers said they are more likely to be a repeat customer if a retailer provides them with targeted, personalized offers.

Many brick-and-mortar retailers are not ready to accept this yet – they’re wondering what will happen if they don’t adapt to the changing retail climate. However, the adverse effects might be greater than they anticipate. The CMO Council reported that more than 50 percent of US and Canadian consumers have considered ending their loyalties to retailers who do not provide relevant offers. These offers are valuable to them; 86 percent of consumers will pay up to 25 percent more for a better customer experience, according to a RightNow Customer Impact Report.

The benefits of personalized customer loyalty

1.       Encourage more sales

Because they are constantly using their computers, laptops and smartphones to stay in the loop and communicate with brands, most consumers check their emails every day – or at least a few times per week. When you send them a timely email notifying them of a weeklong promotion, chances are they will see it.

In other words, you can encourage consumers to think about your business even when they are nowhere near it. They are likely to be more inclined to spend money if they are able to use a coupon or redeem their accumulated points.

2.       Maintain your customer base

It’s more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones. Besides, there’s no guarantee that new customers will stick around. That’s why it’s important to make sure your existing customers know that you appreciate them. By giving customers more easy and convenient ways to be rewarded, businesses can therefore give them more reasons to be loyal. It’s imperative for businesses to maintain a strong relationship with their loyal customers – they are the ones who will provide you with repeat business and refer their friends or family.

3.       Collect customer information

Rather than surveying their customers, any modern brands rely on customer data – collected though POS software, email marketing and opt-in programs – to learn about consumer preferences. And because this method of measurement is becoming so widespread, consumers know that businesses possess that capability – and because of that, they expect them to already know what they want. With more customer information such as age, location, interests, buying history, etc., businesses can add more value to the offers they make.

4.       Eliminate paper waste

Why use more resources than needed? Rather than presenting coupons and punch cards at the POS system, customers can simply present a reusable, reloadable card or their email address to receive loyalty redemptions. In addition to sending email coupons and promotions, businesses can send email receipts so that all of the customer’s transaction information is conveniently kept in one place.

Loyal customers are the foundation of any restaurant or retail store – without them, your business could crumble. How will you leverage personalized loyalty accounts?