My kids and I love ice cream. We don’t get it as often as we’d like, but when we do, we have our go-to ice cream shop. I love the fact that the employees know who we are and there are plenty of choices. But one of my favorite aspects of this place is the rewards program. When you first come in, you get a small card. Each time you buy ice cream, you get a stamp on the card. After ten stamps, you get a free cone! It’s a great incentive to keep people coming back for more.
Plenty of places use reward programs like this. Airlines do this every day with frequent flyer miles. Dominos Pizza has their points system (with which I have gotten many free pizzas). Hot Topic used to do this as well – although I haven’t been to a Hot Topic in ages, so I’m not sure if they still do this. The point, though, is that reward programs really do work. They assure that your customers will not only come back, but they will get excited about returning and spending money.
It’s interesting how getting a small stamp or hole punch or an email that you have received points can make a person feel so happy. Think of it this way: you walk into a coffee shop, preparing to get your first cup of java for the day. When you get in line, you already start to feel more awake and confident in tackling your day. But you haven’t gotten your coffee yet…what gives? Our brains are programmed to recognize what is coming and get a jump start on the feelings of elation, alertness, etc. The same effect happens with rewards programs – the customer is getting that pre-freebie excitement. They know what’s coming. And the more they feel that excitement, the more often they will return. They are subconsciously training their brain to equate YOUR business with those feelings. It’s a win-win for everyone!