These have become more abundant in all forms of retail after the success of the Tesco Clubcard. Every coffee shop, large and small, will give you a free coffee after you buy 6 or 8 or 10 with them. But for me, a loyalty scheme should be about more than just trying to twist someone's arm to come back. Loyalty is one thing, but were looking at brand advocacy as the target here. The next step is to offer your loyal customers something that other customers can get. This can be one-off products that the rest of your customers can't buy, invites to exclusive events, the first chance to see new products or another exclusive that only your very best customers can get hold of. These customers will talk positively about you and some will become advocates.
As I've mentioned above, having an event that gives exclusive content to your best customers creates brand advocacy. A new product launch, products that you just can't get anywhere else or additional benefits to chosen customers promotes advocacy. If you have a guest list of certain customers that gain access to these feature then you're creating the next level of customer. If your best customers get a free cup of tea, a personal shopper, somewhere to store their shopping whilst they browse or extended guarantees as a set of examples then they are more likely to return and to tell their friends,
As unintelligent retailers compete more on price and race to the bottom, the intelligent ones are looking onwards and upwards. Exclusives is a huge area to build your advantage over the competition. If you can sell something that no one else sells then the customers of that product will come to you. Of course this means that your sourcing of the product needs to become a focus. Either it's products you make yourself or you need to have an exclusivity conversation with your supplier. Having an exclusive could mean
- a short-term exclusive (for the first month)
- a different design or packaging of an existing product
- a different size to what is available elsewhere
If you then add a high level of customer service, an event or a loyalty scheme to add to your exclusive then you're heading down the road towards brand advocacy.