eGift Card Redemption

The 12 reasons a loyalty rewards program is the best solution for locally owned businesses to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever!!

We cannot look at loyalty like we used to. We need to think of loyalty as a big differentiator and a key part of the overall strategy. Retailers need to be more creative as Amazon keeps adding new categories. We have to band together with other complimentary retailers to offer a more attractive loyalty program for your customers.

The saying generally attributed to Albert Einstein states: every crisis brings opportunity

The costs, strategy and relevancy of a loyalty program for a small to medium sized business can be daunting. If you are reading this, I assume you are not Petro Canada and can afford a program like their Pet-ro Points. The other option small business has is a coffee card style loyalty program. Or is it?
The challenge for a small to medium sized business is to convince the consumer that your loyalty card is im-portant enough to include in their wallet.

Studies show that consumers are enrolled in an average of 14 loyalty programs but only articipate in an average of 6.
How do you make this very short-list?
What about the very successful Air Miles loyalty program. The problem with Air Miles is unless you are a cate-gory leading, national brand like Shell or the LCBO, they don’t want you. Well, that sucks!
That means you need to compete against those national chains with dedicated, focused and educated mar-keting departments. These folks have large budgets and bosses that demand results!
Ensuring you invest in the right tools to deliver the desired results is a combination skills, time and money. The challenge as a small business owner, all of those are seemingly in short supply, even in the best of times.
But, we have tried loyalty programs and they just give away stuff to our current customers. You are thinking it, I know you are. Technology has changed and you now have access to solutions that only the Mega Mart Azons used to have access to.
If you could offer a 1% off coupon and see a 5% to 10% in-crease in revenues would you do it?
Of course you would. If you remember nothing else from this article, take this to the bank. Literally! The cost of a good loyalty program is very low. The importance of that statement is of course, “good loyalty program”, not just any loyalty card sitting beside your cash resister.
Also, a good loyalty program will deliver a lot more than a one-time visit from someone looking for a cheap deal, or giving away stuff to your existing customers. It will:
1. Retain your current customers
2. Increase the average spend of your current customers
3. Bring your current customers in more often
4. Bring in new customers
5. Engage on a personal level with both new, current and potential customers
6. Welcome consumers to your store
7. Attract consumers to your business when they are close by
8. Offer exclusive coupons, revenue generating points redemptions
9. Make the short-list of loyalty programs in the consumers wallet

1. Loyalty programs increase revenue by 5% to 10%

If you could offer a 1% off coupon and see a 5% to 10% increase in revenues would you do it?

If you could offer a 1% off coupon and see a 5% to 10% increase in revenues would you do it?

Remember, I said, this point is very important. A good loyalty program costs a lot less than the 25% off cou-pon or the $3000 radio spot, and delivers many more benefits to your business. Remember those 9 points on the previous page, read them again, and again! A 5% to 10% up tick in revenue is just the beginning. I hope you are starting to see how, if done effective, it can change your business.
Simply using a mobile app, can create a big shift in the effectiveness of a loyalty program.

The knowledge of who is responding, how they are responding, what is your cost and actual direct revenues makes this such a powerful way to grow your business. A mobile app adds such a complex level of insight into you look at it as an investment and not just an expense, then it will be the best investment you make in you business.
A mobile app is always with your customer. This is a very important point.
The best part about a loyalty program is the analytics of your program. I am not aware of any other marketing and promotional tool that offers the same level of insight.
I hear from business owners, why would I give something out to customers that are coming here anyway? This is a valid question. Loyalty programs, that your clients perceive to have value, deliver higher purchase frequency and higher average sales.
Your current customers are your greatest asset as a business. If you can look at them through that lense, you are already going in the right direction.
Your top 20% clientele provides 85% of your profit and will spend 5% to 20% more per transaction.

2. Loyalty members spend 5% to 20% per transaction more than non-members on average

Consumers that feel appreciated and rewarded will want to do business with you. They will go out of their way to do so. As a matter of fact, there is a big portion of the current population that wants to support local businesses. They recognize how the pandemic is affecting main street businesses. They want the world to go back to the way it was. They realize this will be impossible if they do not support you and your local busi-ness. A good loyalty program will allow you to survive this pandemic and be stronger once we emerge from this once in a lifetime event. Who doesn’t want to increase the average transaction?
This is a result of feeling connected, engaged and appreciated. These customers will also drive past your competitors to buy from you. Consumers are using loyalty programs and want to.
Do you have a strategy to compete in their wallet for attention?

3. Loyalty customers make up 20% of your audience, they pro-vide up to 80% of your revenue

Paretos principle seems to hold its credibility at every turn. In business we see this every where we look. It is very true when it comes to our customer base. We live and breath on our best customers. We need to take care of these customers like they are the lifeblood of our business. Guess what, they are! A good loyalty program will help your customers feel more appreciated.
Studies indicate that 68% of customers that leave a business, is because the customer believes you don’t care about them.

4. Relevant offers provide a 72% increase in 2nd purchase among loyalty users

A strong loyalty program is engaged with its customers. Giving away rewards or points is only part of what the customer experiences. There are three main ways you can offer an incentive to instigate repeat business from a customer. The app style program is a key to achieving these positive results. The app is always with the consumer and can communicate with them at the right moment. Firstly, a solid offer for the customer to redeem these loyalty points is an excellent way to create a repeat customer. Within a coalition style loyalty program that allows consumers to collect rewards faster from a wide variety of local businesses. This is ideal for the customer to stay engaged for the long-haul. In this envi-ronment, each business on the platform needs to have a low-cost redemption to capture the consumers attention. This will drive additional revenue to the business but also create a very positive experience for the consumer regarding the coalition loyalty program overall.
Less than 20% of daily deal customers will return and pay full price for an item.

Secondly, the right loyalty platform will allow coupons and promotions within the same online app to drive customer acquisition and repeat engagements with current customers. Coupons alone do not create repeat customers however, combined within a good loyalty program, your chance of success of truly growing your business is substantially improved. Expanding your clientele has to be a strong a reason to have a loyalty program. New customers will alter any loyalty program into a complimen-tary business growth strategy.

Thirdly, personalized communications via SMS will attract consumers back into your business with relevant offers, news and friendly updates. Being able to welcome them into your store sets the stage for a positive customer experience.

Withing the functionality of proximity marketing each business can send personalized messages via SMS to consumers both existing and soon to be. With a 90%+ open rate, if SMS is not currently being used by your business you are missing out. Combining a strong SMS solution with the other two points above creates a triple headed solution that consumers are asking for and respond well to.

5. Some loyalty apps experienced 6.5 X increase in enrollment during Covid compared to same period last year

The pandemic has created an unforeseen challenge for society, disconnection. We are all separated in our own bubbles and disconnected from friends, family, co-workers and our favourite businesses. This has prov-en to be an unprecented opportunity for business to offset that disconnection with the need for connection and to be apart of something bigger than the individual.
This has shown across the board consumers are willing to enroll in loyalty rewards apps at higher rates than ever experienced in the past. The time to act is now! Online everything is thriving and mobile apps are just part of the culture shift during the pandemic. The challenge for local businesses is still the same however. How as an individual small business do we convert on this culture shift for our business. To be honest, if you are not a national top of mind brand, it will still be a difficult challenge. However, as part of a coalition loyalty community, you now have a better chance than ever to see success with a winning loyalty rewards program to launch your business into a successful covid and post- covid recovery.

6. 82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition

Customer retention is by far the most cost effective method to maintain and grow your business.
It is 6 –7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
Existing customers are more profitable because they like and trust you. They are more comfortable to exer-cise an impulse purchase or upsell opportunity. This established trust translates into easier sales as well
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. The same for a new-customer is 5% to 20%
Strong customer retention strategies are the life blood of a successful business. A loyalty re-wards program that your customers see value in, is a big part of thanking these customers and promoting a win/win business relationship for the long-term.

7. 75% of consumers say they favour companies that offer re-wards

Why do you think large corporations invest $millions in loyalty rewards programs. They work really well if done properly. As a local business, if you are not offering a compelling loyalty program, chances are your tar-get market is driving by your business and out of their way to that large corporation that offers them Air Miles or something like it. Consumers like to collect rewards, it makes they feel like we value them as customers. It also motivates them to come back more often, spend more while they are in your store. The business climate has changed, local businesses need to adjust and compete against the Mega Mart Azon’s! The technology and the market has changed in respect to the best loyalty solutions. The time is now!

8. 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program

A typical customer journey starts with awareness, then progresses towards engage and subscribe. Then we get the customer to commit time or money in the convert and excite stage. After this, as they receive our core offering, and upsells, they enter the fulfillment stage. The fulfillment stage includes three distinct areas:
1. Fulfillment: receiving the core offering and upsells
2. Advocate: very happy customers who will speak well of you
3. Promote: very happy customers who feel so positive they will promote you to others
We strive to get all of our prospects to the promote stage but truthfully only a handful get through the entire customer journey to this point.

We all know how valuable word of mouth is in the success of our businesses. Have you ever tried to pay for a positive word of mouth promotion? There is not a google competitor that offers this service because it doesn’t exist. You are not able to force people to promote your business to others. All we can do is position all of our efforts, products, services, principles and ethics so that we cultivate an environment that allows the best chance for our best customers to be promotors of our business.

A good loyalty program positions you to get 70% more of this gold. Do you want it?

9. 87% of consumers are willing to have various details tracked in exchange for a more personalized and relevant relationship

Getting personal is what consumers are looking for. A good loyalty program does a lot more than just give away points. This isn’t the old sitcom Cheers where everyone yells “Norm!!” when Norm walks in the door however, that is kind of the concept we are talking about. SMS marketing is the best way to reach customers in a meaningful, personalized manner. It has a greater than 90% open rate and people want to communicate with their favourite businesses via SMS.
SMS messaging as part of a strong loyalty rewards solution, coupon campaign and eGift Card solution wrapped up in a shop-local mobile app is a winning strategy that will pay huge dividends to all of the lucky businesses that participate. The problem is, this level of technology has not been available to small and medi-um sized businesses. The large Mega Mart Azon’s have kept these techniques to themselves for a reason.
Imagine how your customer would feel walking down the street, it is lunchtime and they receive a message from the restaurant down the street…..
“Hey Cindy! Our lunch special today is Philly Cheesesteak. Hand carved, lo-cally sourced grain-fed sirloin on a hoagie bun fresh baked this morning in our kitchen topped with mozzarella and our in-house dijon mustard, lettuce, grilled peppers, onions and fresh tomatoes. See you soon?”

Or, when your customer enters your clothing store and receives a message……

“Hi Steve! Welcome to Mens Clothes, our latest shipment from the spring collection is on the rack to the left of the changeroom. Also, don’t forget to check out our clearance rack just beside it. Christine is availa-ble if you have any questions.”
See what I mean? This kind of personalized communication drives business results. The messaging is unlim-ited. Keep your customers up to date about what is going on. Why are you special. We all know you are but how does your customers know?
Do you think this kind of communication would enhance your brand?

10. 77% of new consumers are more likely to continue doing business with that company if they have a good loyalty program

Customer acquisition is not easy and it costs money. You spend money on ads, social media, service the heck out of your customers, you see them once and then…….
It is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.

Are you doing everything you can to keep your existing customers?

You offer a 25% discount after you invest in marketing, are you keeping those new customers that you have invested in?

Instead of a 25% discount, you offer a 1% discount. Imagine if you had a 77% increase in second purchases with that same 1% discount over the 25% discount?

Better yet, what if you had the chance to re-earn that 1% discount back? Sound like a no-cost opportunity to substantially increase your base of repeat customers.

11. 31% increase in consumer loyalty engagement in the last 4 years

Some food retailers find that as much as 65% to 95% of their sales go to loyalty members

Even though there has been a large uptick during the pandemic, this trend is not new. It has been happening for awhile. We are seeing some long-term shifts in what our customers expect from us. They want to feel important. They want to be rewarded like they are important.

This is not a passing fad. Local businesses need to do the right things to position themselves so they can thrive in this new business climate.

Have you seen a 31% increase in engagement with our current loyalty program? Your competitor has. Do you want to?

12. 66% of respondents will adjust where and how much they spend based if loyalty rewards are offered

A good loyalty program is not just giving away points. The cost is pretty low for a world-class coalition style program.

The benefits of a world-class coalition loyalty rewards program for a local business are many. The real benefit is being able to compete against the Mega Mart Azon’s down the street and online.

Give your business a chance to compete for valuable customers. Give them another reason to come to you instead of your competitor.

These statistics make a very compelling case. It cannot be just any loyalty program however. The new Starbucks Loyalty program added an additional $2.65 Billion in revenue to their rewards program and reward memberships grew over 25% in the last two years and now have 16.8 million members.
Redemption rates are higher than their previous loyalty program because customers can redeem smaller amounts of rewards for smaller items. They don’t have to wait 5 years to earn a TV like we see with the very

The 5 goals of a loyalty program for a main street business is to:

  • Drive Repeat Business-Customer Retention
  • Increase Revenue-Increase Visits and Average Sale
  • Create Brand Ambassadors-Create Promoters
  • Defend against the competition-Better tools and technology
  • Gain valuable feedback- Analytics
  • Cross promote with other local businesses- Coalition Style Loyalty Program vs coffee card
  • Increase your customer base- Customer Acquisition

82% of shoppers willing to pay more to support small businesses

Are you doing everything you can to engage with these shoppers?

The real challenge for a main street business is to:
1. Cut through the clutter of the hundreds of loyalty programs out there to make the short-list in consumers wallets
2. Keep consumers engaged for the long-haul
A coalition style loyalty program like Air Miles but supports small and medium sized businesses with the shop local theme is the best option for locally owned businesses.
The right program will offer:
1. Enough of a local presence to garner mind-share with consumers
2. The right marketing tools to allow the main street business to compete in this new world
3. The strategy to keep consumers engaged for the long-haul.

Tim Seaton is the founder of Yokalize and an entrepreneur at heart. After owning many businesses, he was able to finally cre-ate a solution that would help some of the pain he experienced in his businesses over the years.
Feel free to reach out to Tim directly at

Yokalize is a shop local app that offers a world-class coalition style loyalty program specifically for small to medium sized, locally owned businesses. In addition to the Yo Points loyalty program the app also offers businesses to market themselves using Fortune 500 technology like proximity marketing, sms marketing, electronic coupons and eGift Cards all within a no-touch process to keep everyone safe.