Want to attract more customers to your retail business? Interested in cultivating long-term brand loyalty? Have you dipped your toe into different forms of brand marketing, only to be left underwhelmed by the achieved ROI? If this sounds familiar, customer loyalty programs could be the ideal solution.

Simply put, any retailer intent on providing an attractive and optimal level of service to their customers’ needs to utilize the opportunities presented by customer loyalty programs. One of the most effective means of increasing revenue, customer loyalty programs – especially those promoted on a technology platform – like receipt OCR – will inspire customers to consistently shop with a brand.

Need statistical evidence? As many as 84% of consumers say that they’re more likely to stick with a brand that rewards them for their loyalty. Moreover, 66% of customers say that their ability to earn rewards influences their spending behaviour.

Believe it or not, the genesis of what would become customer loyalty programs begun in the late 18th century. American retailers offered customers copper tokens with their purchases. These could be redeemed for products on future purchases. One of the more renowned customer loyalty programs – the Tesco Clubcard was launched in 1994, after successful trials.

As with all successful commercial operations, innovation is key to success. Some brands do this better than others – whether they integrate receipt scanning API technology within the customers’ loyalty program or not.
Here’s a selection of the most innovative retail customer loyalty programs – and what you can learn from each.

Starbucks Rewards

Today, it seems like there’s an app for everything. From social media platform, like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to receipt OCR and even Google Drive Suite, we all unlock our phone and hit our favourite apps.

It’s worth remembering though that it wasn’t too far in the distant past when this wasn’t the case. Retailers didn’t invest any of their time developing apps to manage customer loyalty programs. This changed when Starbucks launched its new all and My Starbucks Rewards.

An innovative idea at the time, My Starbucks Rewards radically changed the way that customers earn loyalty rewards. Gone were punch cards, in came an app that allowed customers to pay for their coffee with their phone, collecting points with every purchase.

This allowed Starbucks to gather a treasure trove of information about customer behaviour and preferences. Go-to-drink orders, customer lifetime value, frequently-visited locations, and seasonal favourites are all easily identifiable. Starbucks could – and still can – gather information on customer habits, allowing them to tailor rewards to what customers want.

Amazon Prime

It’s impossible to not associate Amazon with their Prime membership program. Prime members get access to unlimited two-day shipping on items, Prime Day sales, and enjoy Amazon Prime streaming services.

With marketplace competition from other retailers like Walmart, Prime is just one of the ways that Amazon sets itself apart from its competition. Like receipt OCR, Amazon Prime’s loyalty program provides something intrinsic to successful commercial operations – customer value. If you need any evidence of Amazon Prime’s value, consider this: Prime members spend four times more than other Amazon customers.

This demonstrates that an effective, customer-centric loyalty program can be a commercial differentiator and give businesses a competitive edge.

Sephora Beauty Insider

Now, here’s one retail customer loyalty program that’s wildly popular. So popular, in fact, that it boats more than 17 million loyal members and is responsible for 80% of Sephora’s annual sales.

A traditional point system, customers earn rewards for each purchase they make. But, here’s the difference: members can choose how to use their reward points. This is especially attractive as many of Sephora’s products are a mite pricey, which means that, as far as customers are concerned, every saving counts.

Allowing members to have the flexibility to choose those products that they want to save on, without cheapening the perceived value of the products is a sound tactic that, like using an efficient receipt scanning API, add tremendous value to the customer experience.

TOMS One for One

One business that has used its retail customer loyalty program to make a difference on a global scale is TOMS – an innovative and unusual one. There isn’t even a monetary incentive in exchange for customer purchases and loyalty, nor is there a loyalty card or accumulated points total calculated on an app.

What TOMS does differently is to appeal to their customer’s sense of worth and value. With every purchase, customers earn a sense of personal pride knowing that their purchase has promoted change through the various initiative, including the One For One shoe donation or profit sharing with causes like the Wildlife Conservation Society.

This innovative customer loyalty program emphasizes that there are more important things in the world than money. It has defied expectations with its deftness and shown a deep understanding of customers and how to appeal to them in a saturated market – an ethos that’s not entirely different from that of receipt OCR companies. By appealing to customer’s ability to do some good in the world, TOMS set itself apart from other businesses in the saturated footwear industry.

These are just four of the retail customer loyalty programs praised for their innovation and understanding of what their customers want and need. When all’s said and done, customer loyalty programs are a great way to inflate your customer base, whilst growing brand opinion.