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3 Musts for Retailers This Back to School Season

Back to school season is upon us and retailers are getting ready for what is expected to be a stronger consumer spending year. As you prepare for the season, carefully think about how to best use your loyalty program to keep your customers choosing your brand while shopping. Consider these three ways to reach your goals this season:

1. Use customer data for personalization

Give your loyalty members a reason to feel special and offer them unique advantages for being a part of your program, instead of having the same offers across the board for all existing and new customers. They are already seeing offers from various retailers, so your program should make them feel like they are valued members who are receiving additional exclusive offers that are special to them. Leverage your repository of customer data—from what products your customers have looked at and saved/added to a wish list, to products they’ve purchased recently, and products purchased during last year’s back to school season—and analyze this data to segment your marketing. Know which products they may be interested in, when they are likely to repurchase, and which incentives are more likely to influence them. Equipped with this, you can create personalized member incentives and offers to convince them to continue shopping with your brand and not be tempted by your competitors.

2. Incentivize during the consumer research period

In store is back to school season’s top choice for purchase channel, but consumers are spending more time researching and comparing back to school products & promotions online than spending time in physical stores, meaning that more of them have an idea of what they are going to purchase by the time they enter the store. Shoppers are also shopping earlier and researching even earlier, about two weeks before they make their purchases, so it is important to reach your consumer while they are in this product research period—before they have made up their minds about where to shop and what to buy. This emphasizes the importance of having enhanced communications across channels going into the season. Make sure to have your presence and messaging ready to influence their research experience. From looking at your customers and market trends, strategize how to use your promotions and rewards to incentivize the specific behaviors you want. Want to drive more traffic to a specific channel? Reward members with extra points, elevated service, or discounts for shopping through that channel. Want to drive purchase towards a specific product or category? Offer first access and exclusive sampling to encourage product trial amongst customers.

3. Stand apart from the overflow of back to school deals

Back to school is one of the busiest shopping times of the year with numerous retailers competing for consumers’ attention. Most importantly, with all of the promotions going on during this time, yours need to stand out from the crowd and have heightened messaging while not being interpreted as spam. You want consumers to stay with your brand and not be tempted by the plethora of back to school deals. You already have a leg up from many other retailers by having these members as part of your loyalty program, now you need to use this to your advantage. Show your members that you know them and express the value they receive from being a part of the program. Through the use of your loyalty program, you can create campaigns that are more personal and engaging, and make them stand out by not having to only rely on offering dollars off. What is your company’s/program’s unique value prop? Your members are interested in your brand and are more likely to be persuaded by non-monetary rewards and benefits. Through additional knowledge of their preferred communication channel, you should direct your marketing to accommodate their preferences.

Always remember to measure the results of what is working and not working to make tweaks and plan for future high-volume shopping seasons. Reach out to us with any questions or if you are interested in learning more about how loyalty can benefit your business!