It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays. In retail, that typically means an upsurge in business. In the automotive industry, the sales department typically finds consumers buying vehicles for their loved ones. And the service department sees an upsurge in repair orders in preparation for a road trips to visit family over the holidays. In addition, Black Friday is looming and those bottom funnel consumers are waiting to see where they can get the best deal and where they should spend their money. If you have a loyalty program, this can be your most productive time of the year… if done right.
What do I mean? According to 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census, there are 3.8 BILLION memberships in retail loyalty programs. While that may sound like a lot (and it is), there has been a slowdown in memberships – 2017 saw a 15% growth rate down from a 26% growth rate in 2015. Why? Well, consumers don’t want to work hard for rewards and want to feel the rewards offered are worthwhile. According to the census, 53% of consumers enjoy loyalty programs that are easy to use, while 39% like great discounts, and 37% like the fact that the program is “easy to understand.” On the other side of the coin, the reason for abandoning a program is that it takes too long to earn points [that led to rewards], according to 57%.
That being the case, how do you leverage your loyalty program to motivate and entice both new and existing users? During the holiday season, many dealerships like to leverage things such as price and discounted services. Consider leveraging your loyalty program instead. Promotions with points-based offers incentivize customers to use their loyalty membership and then continue to do so. Think of all the other retailers out their leveraging this. There’s nothing like getting a free $10 Kohl’s certificate to motivate you to go into Kohl’s (where you’ll probably spend more money than the $10). Consumers love it. Another thing that works is to offer incentives such as double points, or sell dealership gift cards at a discount as an idea for a gift for friends and family. (for example, sell a $50 gift card for $45).
The holidays present dealerships with a condensed volume of opportunities – whether that’s from existing customers who are traveling for the holidays or buying vehicles as gifts; or even friends and family members seeking gift ideas. Find ways to utilize your loyalty programs in the manner for which they are intended – to build relationships!
Of course, any consumer that doesn’t feel they are being rewarded and/or feels like the rewards are simply out of reach, probably won’t be around long (in the loyalty program). So, make sure your reward program is easy to use and understand, that rewards aren’t too hard to reach, and that you utilize offers to cultivate that relationship. Get your customers into the habit of using it. Once the customer knows that the loyalty program is beneficial to them, they will use it and choose you over a competitor. And that’s the exact goal of a loyalty program – a customer relationship.
Author: Michael Gorun
Michael Gorun is founder of Performance Loyalty Group, a technology-based owner retention and loyalty company. He has more than 25 years in operational service management positions for Ford, Nissan and General Motors. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.