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How technology (and the Starbucks app) has changed the game of customer loyalty

Yesterday’s enlightening conversation with ReUp Co-Founder Asim Shahjahan, left me questioning everything I ever learned about customer service from my teenage years of working at the mall.

Asim and Co-Founder/ CTO Kelsey Regan started ReUp three and a half years ago. The idea spun out of an identified market need coupled with a joint passion for emerging tech. Big companies like Starbucks and Freshii had already rolled out their mobile apps, and the shocking numbers indicating high customer opt-in and increased revenue were beginning to surface. But, what about the little guys? Back in 2014, the little coffee shop at the end of your road was still encouraging customers to stuff a “buy 9, get the 10th free” loyalty card into their wallets. “We started thinking to ourselves how we could get a digital customer loyalty and engagement platform into the hands of small and medium-sized business owners…”

ReUp facilitates business owners to further understand and engage with their clients. Long gone are the days of marketing gurus sitting at a round table asking the question “Alright, who is our customer?” Digital platforms now make it possible to aggregate and analyze data, further developing accurate customer profiles. Where previously it may have only been possible to have solid customer relationships between the shop owner and the regulars, the ReUp platforms offers an ability to give the much desired VIP treatment to all customers.

Asim has seen some drastic changes in customer and business relationships in the three years since launching ReUp. “The Starbucks mobile app has paved the way, revolutionizing the game of customer loyalty.” As he dives into specifics about customer interfacing and ingestion points, the revolution becomes clear…

We’ve always been bombarded by marketing, ads, and companies trying to sway and entice us. Now, these companies transcend their spots on billboards and monitors, and enter the palms of our hands. Technology has allowed consumerism to go mobile and to get personal. From the moment a customer walks into your store, you as a business owner have the opportunity to gain their loyalty and acquire their long-standing business.

ReUp first hones in on what Asim calls ingestion points. This involves removing barriers by providing several different opportunities for customers to opt-in to your loyalty platform. Maybe they are prompted to receive free WiFi via an SMS code. Maybe they have the opportunity to subscribe to rewards and promotions by inputting their email into an iPad at the front counter. Or maybe, they are encouraged to download the shop’s mobile app. Multiple ingestion points are a key step in allowing customers to become acquainted with your loyalty platform, see how it can directly benefit them, and make the key decision to opt-in.

Beyond the ingestion point is data collection and analytics. Here, ReUp is working to use data such as age, demographic, and spending habits to build information models. This all feeds back into the business owner’s clarity of who their customers are, what their customers want, what their customers don’t want, and how to better serve, grow, and engage with their clientele. In this case, it’s not just the squeaky wheels that get the grease. “The regular that always requests more bacon in their sandwich, or that asks for a hazelnut shot in their espresso.. those are the customers that business owners know well, and tend to serve directly to. Now, every customer has a profile. Even the quiet regular that comes in with their head down for their daily latte. Everyone is important and served as a VIP.” ReUp equips even the smallest mom & pop shop to make important business decisions with evidence, clarity, and mitigated risks.

The ReUp platform provides various solutions towards digital loyalty. Asim and his team have their fingers on the pulse of customer loyalty and the rapidly shifting and continuingly colliding worlds of technology and consumerism. While multi-million dollar Starbucks may have paved the way so far, ReUp is putting these same digital tools and creative strategies in the hands of business owners everywhere!        

Tip: Increasing your reach with mobile order ahead

Phones are a big part of our day-to-day life. When you think about all the things they do for you, you likely wonder what they could do for your business. One of the strongest trends in the mobile world is app ordering for quick service restaurants. Here’s why.

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This new service allows businesses to maximize the number of transaction they process, especially during their peak hours. Mobile order ahead also increases foot traffic and customer loyalty by adding a ‘sticky factor’ and competitive edge. Customers love to order remotely and skip the line on a busy day.

Companies like Starbucks and Taco Bell are well aware of these benefits and are already using them to significantly boost sales.

Compared to in-store purchases, Taco Bell’s mobile order ahead transaction sizes average about 30% higher. Customers were so eager for this service, that on the first day of Taco Bell’s app launch, 75% of all locations processed mobile orders.

Starbucks’ app has achieved similar success and is typically viewed as the gold standard. Currently, 10% of transactions at their high-volume locations are processed via the app. Their mobile payment volume has also been growing an impressive 10% per quarter. This shows that customers are not just open to mobile app payments, they are hungry for it!

At the core of this phenomenon, we find customers are looking for convenience AND are willing to pay for it! 

Do you want to increase your customer’s convenience by combining loyalty and ordering? Contact your customer service rep for more info!

Tip: Making referral codes work for you

One of the easiest ways to win new customers is through people they trust. 77% of customers are likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends. 42% of customers are loyal to brands their family and friends buy from. Companies like Uber and Groupon owe their success to these concepts, proving that referral codes can be the lifeblood of your business.

Referrals work by providing an incentive that is attractive to the current customer and the one being referred. An incentive will get a current customer more likely to recommend a product or service. It will also reduce the new customer’s uncertainty of the product or service and make them more likely to choose you over a competitor.

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It may seem costly at first, but winning new customers pays for itself above and beyond any referral bonus. Think about how much a customer is worth to you over their lifetime. Now, is it worth giving away a free product or a $10 voucher to capture that value? Chances are the answer is yes!

Now you know how to structure referral rewards, but do you know how to promote them? For ideas, contact your customer success rep to schedule a free one-on-one.

Tip: Creating the ultimate rewards program

Everyone knows variety is the spice of life. The same holds true for loyalty programs. The classic ‘stamp card’ approach tends to lose its appeal over time. Why? Because a single option is boring.

The excitement and perceived value of a reward weakens each time a customer redeems it. Your most loyal customers will feel this the strongest as they visit the most. Redeeming the same reward quickly becomes repetitive and loses its excitement.

How do you solve this issue? Simple, add more rewards! By offering multiple rewards you allow customers to choose the best reward for them at the time, rather than giving them a single option.

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It’s equally important to offer different the types of rewards. Having a diverse reward selection will help to cater to your customers’ many needs. If you only offer one type of reward, consider others like free menu items, swag, buy one get one, or access to special VIP events.

Tiers are another exciting way to add value to your loyalty program. Customers will naturally want to work up towards specialty rewards available at higher tiers.

Contact your customer success rep to book a free reward improvement session with us!

Tip: Getting Personal With Your Brand

Your brand is more to you than just a trendy logo and some flashy visuals. It is a direct reflection of who you and your company are. It’s important that the values that you uphold as a company match what your customers perceive. Beautiful design work will help unify your vision, but having a full strategy is what will really highlight your amazing product and dedicated team.

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Finding purpose

What problem am I solving? What makes my offering special? How does it make my customers feel? How do I speak to my customers?

These are a just a few of the kinds of questions you should ask yourself. They will help determine things like your mission statement, your brand purpose, and brand position (how you are positioned in relation to your customers). Those things are really important because they are what set you apart from your competitors, and determine whether you are filling a unique niche.

Making it personal

Translating your values into a brand that people can connect with comes down to taking it personally. Your brand needs a unique personality.

Ask yourself what personality traits your customers find agreeable or desirable.Is my brand serious or quick-witted? Does my brand keep everything it its place, or does it thrive in an organized mess? Picking 3-5 human traits in this way can help create a believable brand.

Keeping on track

A hugely important factor in having a strong brand is being consistent. Maintaining the same tone of voice, position, and visual language ensures that people will recognize your brand. People always talk about a recognizable logo, but how can you recognize something if you have no substance to tie it to?

Good design will speak for your brand. It will take those mission statements, goals, and personality traits and distil them into a visual experience that people will want to get to know.