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Customer Retention and Loyalty Marketing
By: Cindy Wendland
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When it’s time to celebrate a birthday, there are many reasons to get excited. Any age is a good age to celebrate and loyalty marketers make good use of this occasion to connect with customers. In addition to birthday cards and gifts from family, the mail brings other goodies from retailers.

Kohl's Department Stores sends a $10 birthday gift card with no strings attached. Boston Store sends a $10 off a $10 or greater purchase. These gift cards get used, and we feel more goodwill toward these retailers. Victoria’s Secret is great at customer retention. They offer a card for a free pair of underwear several times during the year, again with no strings attached. Just to test it, we purchased only the free pair of underwear, and they were just as happy to check us out as the next person who had more merchandise. The latest free underwear card arrived for a birthday, so back to the store we will go.

Boston Store is another retailer that has gotten customer retention right with their rewards program. Once you reach certain levels of shopping on your store charge card, they send you a coupon for $20 off a purchase of $50. Other offerings they mail occasionally are $50 off a $100 purchase. Our circle of friends looks forward to these mailings, and they definitely get used.

Loyalty programs are meant to accomplish three things: to thank the customer for their patronage, encourage additional shopping, and to retain customers long-term. Boston Store’s newest mailer does an exceptional job. The envelope highlights “elite extras with exclusive savings just for you.” People like being part of special groups. The packaging was well done, and the savings are for different store categories for three consecutive months. This special package will be tucked in a purse and pulled out over and over.

There is so much competition for customers online and in-store. Retailers need to be doing something to attract, retain, and thank customers. There are great examples out there to follow.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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