By Doug Bantivoglio
Many garden centers today are looking to new marketing programs and technology to increase sales, improve loyalty and learn more about their customers. Surprisingly, they are finding answers in new, innovative uses of two old ideas: rebates and loyalty programs.
Loyalty programs and rebates are extremely popular marketing methods that reward the buyer for purchasing products from a particular store or manufacturer. Most often, the loyalty card looks similar to a credit card or key-ring card with a barcode that is scanned at the point of sale. When the card is presented, the consumer is either eligible for a discount on certain items or gain rewards points that can be applied towards a future purchase.
With the advent of new technology, loyalty programs are getting more complex and more rewarding – for both the consumer and the retailer. Consumers want choice in their loyalty programs rewards, something that hasn’t always been available. However, by utilizing software that collects and analyzes POS data, retailers and manufacturers are able to effectively target market additional products and services to their customers. This allows the consumer to be rewarded with items that are more in line with their desires or needs.
For instance, a customer purchases several shrub roses. Utilizing this POS data, garden retailers can now offer discounts on fertilizers or pruners. This form of targeted marketing benefits the consumer in that he/she most likely needs the additional items and is now saving on the purchase of them, and the retailer in that they are boosting revenue through incremental sales.
Rebates reign. With more than $15 billion in rebates being issued in an average year, it’s apparent that rebates are a significant part of the loyalty and marketing strategy of both retailers and manufacturers. Just as the consumer wants choice in rewards they receive, they also want to choose how to redeem their rebates and in what manner they are paid out.
With the implementation of new technology and processes, consumers can now choose to redeem their rebates via prepaid cards, gift cards, warranties, services or merchandise. Furthermore, instead of the antiquated method of mailing in rebates and waiting months for a check to arrive in the mail, rewards and rebates can now be processed online.
After polling consumers, the speed and ease of online rebate redemption is regarded as the most appealing rebate submission method.
Rebates and rewards can now be aggregated. In the past, when a customer purchased a variety of items with differing rebates, he/she had to manually submit the paperwork for each rebated product. However, new technology allows consumers to submit all of their rebates in one application and receive one payment for the total dollar amount of the rebates. The speed and ease of this method of rebate aggregation is appealing to consumers and retailers alike.
Currently, retailers are having trouble sifting through all of their gathered data to find relevant rebate promotion effectiveness. New technology has made analyzing POS data from the use of rebates and loyalty cards easier and the retailer is able to track the effectiveness of rebates across channels. This allows a rebate’s success to be quantified. If the rebate is not performing well in the eyes of the retailer, it can be scrapped. Seeing as how rebates are utilized by companies to drive incremental sales, with the additional data new technology provides, they can increase sales volume and drive revenue much more efficiently and successfully.
Follow through. A final benefit the collection of POS data provides to retailers and manufacturers is that of post-purchase sales and follow-up marketing. Through the collection of consumer spending habits through reward redemption and spending of rebate dollars, companies have more understanding of what their customers are buying. In turn, the retailer can market more effectively and efficiently after that first purchase. The information gathered in the rebate and loyalty process has given companies the ability to track lifetime customer value and drive incremental revenue through highly targeted promotions.
Garden centers are utilizing loyalty programs and rebates as part of their marketing mix in order to enhance customer acquisition and market expansion. There are four key areas in which rebates drive decisions: Target new untapped product segments, ideas for new products and services, potential partnerships with other companies, and geographical expansion. New technology in loyalty programs and rebates allows these decisions to be made more easily with the results having a higher likelihood of success. As technology advances, so do the varying methods of loyalty program implementation, rebate redemption, and post-purchase marketing. It’s safe to say that by harnessing the power of new software and processes, companies will become more profitable and consumers will see an increase in rebates and loyalty program options.
Doug Bantivoglio is the Business Development Manager at The Ohana Companies, an innovative leader in rebate & payment processing. To contact Doug, call 302-225-5505, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.everybodywins.com.