Loyalty and Local Branding

Customer loyalty programs are indisputably a staple in common society. Most retailers have them and consumers have come to expect them. The problem is that most retailers view rewards programs as an expense, rather than a revenue generator. Sure, there are discounts and other things that come along with rewards programs – and those are the “expenses” some retailers focus on – but there’s one big thing missing.


Have you ever seen someone with a keychain full of loyalty cards? Every one of those is attached because that individual either regularly shops at those places or plans to. Nobody attaches loyalty cards to their keychain or sticks them in their wallets for businesses they have no intention of ever visiting again. Well many of the successful loyalty programs have gone 100% digital and have done away with the key tags and cards there is still an element of dealer branding that happens each time your customer receives a piece of program correspondence, redeems a benefit or looks up their points online.

Let’s look at it from a retail automotive perspective. How much does it cost to attach those personalized paper plates, license plate frames or metallic logos to the vehicles you sell? It’s not cheap, right? But you do it because every vehicle rolling down the road with your logo on it is advertising! Whether it’s conscious or subliminal, or whether those buyers driving down the street with your logo love you or hate you, the potential customer viewing it simply sees the logo and the fact that the car buyer CHOSE your dealership. And that’s what matters.

Rewards programs offer the same type of promotion. Keeping your brand in front of your customer though an ongoing membership and its related components ensures that your local brand stays top-of-mind with that customer.

Assuming your loyalty program is in fact attractive to your customers, they will continue to come back. Set up properly, they will not only come back, but come back more often. Consumers love to rack up points towards rewards that matter to them. All you need do is ensure that your rewards matter… and that your rewards program is locally branded. Just like those license plate frames.

Rewards programs aren’t designed to lose revenue but to increase it while building customer loyalty and retention. It’s a well-known fact that at businesses make more money from retention than acquisition, yet many dealers are willing to spend $650+ to acquire a new customer, while cringing at giving an oil change away to a loyal one.

Take care of those that take care of you. These loyal customers can bring in more business than any efforts to acquire new customers while fighting the independents. If you keep them happy enough, they won’t even consider going anyplace else.