Why All Businesses Should Offer Reward Programs


Many business see an influx of customer activity during peak operating seasons, sale events or other specialized times during the year. What if there was a way to maintain active consumer interest and year-round participation? Reward programs can be used by businesses looking to retain long-term relationships with their customers. While many companies have the misconception that these types of programs can be costly or difficult operations to run, there are established incentive management companies designed to handle all aspects of reward programs. If looking to increase sales, promote customer longevity and gain new qualified leads, consider exploring the use of rewards as a key business tool.

In many industries, once a customer makes a purchase, they sometimes do not return. If exceptional customer service and a quality product were offered, the lack of repeat business can sometimes be attributed to insufficient, extended customer contact. Having a way to keep your brand name or business on the minds of existing patrons can be as simple as offering customer loyalty rewards. These can be points or gift incentives awarded for return purchases, new referred business or as thank you gifts. By awarding points, consumers will most likely return; especially since after the first purchase they are already on their way to earning a desired item.

A reward program is only as good as the offered incentives. If a business offered an incentive program but the rewards were not relevant to the customer, how long do you think that program would last? That is the issue with many reward programs; the incentives either take too long to accumulate or are not relevant to a customer’s needs. By using externally managed reward programs, incentives can be targeted to your industry, desired customer demographic or key shopping audience. Choice in reward programs is also an important matter. Giving each consumer the freedom to choose the type of reward offered – such as a gift card, gift certificate or travel voucher – provides the customer with a sense of control and helps maintain active program participation.

When using an outside incentive management provider, fulfillment can be handled in a number of ways. Rewards redeemable at online merchants can be delivered electronically, which leads to immediate customer satisfaction. Undeliverable online, small gifts and gift cards can shipped by a third party and include both order tracking and customer support. Managed incentive fulfillment can save businesses from having to manage extra inventories, eliminate excess stock, handle additional shipping items, track orders and be responsible for order support. To make this process easy, rewards can be purchased upfront using corporate credit cards. Companies can also be notified when rewards have been redeemed so that they can send a personalized message to each recipient.

Notifying potential shoppers or an established customer base of your participation in a reward program is as easy as implementing a link to a rewards catalog on your website. Searchable online catalogs are perfect for businesses looking to attract program participation from customers and employees. As a sign-up bonus, points can be awarded to encourage new user participation if you offer a points accumulation program. Another type of program, on demand service, can have items featured in a catalog that participants may be eligible for, pending successful task completion. On demand service is perfect for web respondents who complete surveys, marketing research or other time-consuming tasks where instant rewards would be appropriate.

By implementing reward programs, businesses should expect renewed customer excitement and interest in their company. As long as quality rewards and reliable order fulfillment services are offered, participation in the program should be high. With a small investment in reward programs, your business will see long-term gains and dedicated customer loyalty.