digital loyalty program

5 Reasons To Upgrade Your Punch Card To A Digital Loyalty Program

Since time began merchants have been trying to develop deeper relationships with their customers, increase customer frequency and turn regular customers into loyal customers! One of the oldest and simplest ways to try and achieve this is through a punch card program. Customers simply pick up a punch card at their favorite restaurant, coffee shop or retail establishment and obtain a punch on every visit, working their way towards a reward such as a free meal after 10 visits. It is that easy, or is it? In truth, the simple frequency-based loyalty of a punch card is great in theory, but in reality, there are some major challenges that merchants face.

Here are 5 reasons you should upgrade your punch card program to a digital loyalty program.

1. Punch Cards are open to fraud. Traditional paper punch cards can open your business up to potential fraud and misuse.

Subway famously had to shut down their Sub Club punch card program due to fraud issues after fraudsters began manufacturing counterfeit completed punch cards and selling them via online auction sites.

Subway also encountered internal fraud with some unscrupulous staff members stealing and distributing cards or giving friends and family members additional punches they were not entitled to.

Thankfully technology allows us to take the simplicity of a punch card program and eliminate the fraud opportunities with a digital loyalty program. With a loyalty solution like TL Connects, rewards and offers are tied to a customers cell phone number meaning they cannot be shared with others, obtained fraudulently or redeemed at another place of business.

2. Punch Cards don’t offer any data. In the data-driven world we live in punch cards do not offer any information or insight into customer activity or behavior other than a stack of completed cards on a corner of a desk every month. A digital loyalty program lets you keep a finger on the pulse of your business and loyalty program by giving you access in real-time to performance data such as the number of customers in program, the number of customer visits, offers redeemed and daily participation averages.

3. Customers must carry a punch card. In order to obtain a punch, customers must always carry their punch cards with them. If they are participating in multiple programs at multiple locations that means lots of cards to keep up with. Nobody likes to have a wallet like George Constanza so another card to carry may actually cause someone not to participate in your program.

Also, what happens if a customer forgets their card, do you offer additional punches on next visit? With a digital program such as TL Connects all customers have to do is simply enter their mobile number at the iPad kiosk to sign up, check-in and obtain rewards. No cards, no hassle!

4. Punch cards do not identify non loyal customers

With a punch card program there is no way to identify customers who have not visited in 30, 45 or 60 days. There is a leap of faith that the crumpled card which they may or may not keep in their wallet will remind them to come back frequently. The TL Connects automated retention program automatically sends a customer a ‘we miss you’ text if they have not checked in for a predetermined time frame, usually 30 days. A retention offer which is only valid for 7 days creates a sense of urgency and helps drive customers back in and make them a loyal customer once again.

5. Cannot communicate to customer via punch card Want to highlight a new menu item, communicate a special offer, inform people of an event or drive them to your website or social media outlets? Sadly there is no way to communicate any of these to loyal customers via their punch card. With the TL Connects textALERT platform you can communicate and track offers to customers, include miniature URLs for video or web links or encourage customers to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter or Instagram.

Considering a digital loyalty program, then check out our blog posting: How TL Connects Rewards Would Work in my Business.

For more information on how we can help you engage your customers more efficiently, CLICK HERE and schedule a time to join a 15 minute demo, or just pick up the phone and let’s chat now. Our phone number is 844-611-3220.

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