How Do You Offer Incentives to Customers?

by: Nichole Gunn March 9, 2020

How do you offer incentives to customers? Before we get into the how let’s get into the why. Offering incentives to customers is an effective way to increase sales and build customer loyalty. You can use incentives to build your brand and market your products. You can even integrate customer incentives with your e-commerce platform!

According to fundera.com, customer incentive program members spend 12-18% more a year. And according to sloanreview.mit.edu, members of top-performing customer incentive programs are 77% likely to choose your brand over the competition and 117% more likely to recommend your brand to others. It pays to be the best, right?

How to Offer Incentive to Customers in 10 Steps

Customer Incentive Gamification

So now that we know the why, let’s dive into the how! Below are 10 steps you should follow in order to offer incentives to your customers.

Step 1: Pick a goal for your program.

An effective customer incentive program helps businesses achieve their goals. It’s important to make your goals specific and measurable. So don’t be vague! Customer incentives aren’t just about making your customers happy. They are also about growing your business.

Examples of Customer Incentive Goals:

  • Increase average order size.
  • Increase order frequency.
  • Increase sales for a specific product.
  • Generate new customers.
  • Improve customer data.
  • Accelerate adoption of new products.
  • Boost customer satisfaction.
  • Build customer loyalty and retention.

Companies can even structure their customer incentive promotions to target specific regions or customer profiles!

Step 2: Establish a budget.

Once you’ve decided on a goal, you need to set a budget. Remember, customer incentives are a business strategy, and your budget should be structured to generate a return on investment. It might be helpful to check out our ROI Calculator to get an idea of what sort of ROI your program can achieve, depending on how much you invest.

Step 3: Get to know your customers.

Offering incentives to your customers won’t do any good if you don’t give the customers what they want. Conducting market research and sending out surveys is a good way to get a better sense of your customers’ lifestyle and interests. You can also take this opportunity to find gaps in the buyers’ journey that you can use your incentive program to fill in.

Step 4: Select the right customer rewards.

Personalizing your reward selection to match your customers’ lifestyle and interests will boost the value proposition of your incentive program and amplify its positive effects. You want to be the company that ‘gets it,’ and incentives can be a powerful way to connect with your customers. But don’t forget your budget! It’s important to match the value of your rewards to the value of each customer in the context of your overall budget.

Types of Customer Rewards:

examples of customer rewards

  • Online Rewards – Points-based online rewards are a popular option for customer rewards. Online rewards are versatile, scalable, and easily automated. With millions of exciting reward items, you’ll be able to provide incentives to customers of all backgrounds and shopping habits!
  • Gift Card Rewards – Giving your customers a chance to earn gift cards to popular brands and stores is another effective way to motivate the buyer behaviors that grow your business. Gift cards aren’t quite as personal as merchandise rewards, but they’re very convenient – especially with e-delivery!
  • Debit Card Rewards – What if customers got a little bit of cash back in their pockets every time they shopped with you? Debit card rewards are fast, flexible, and appeal to every customer – perfect for rebates!
  • Incentive Travel – Incentive travel gives you a chance to earn loyalty for life! Incentive travel is typically reserved for top-shelf, high value customers. It is more common in business-to-business, but retailers can create a raffle or set high qualification thresholds to reward a select group of customers, as well.

Step 5: Choose customer behaviors to incentivize.

You can use customer incentives to reward behaviors that grow your business and help you achieve your program goals. These include:

  • Providing referrals.
  • Leaving a positive review.
  • Making a first-time purchase.
  • Buying a specific product or product bundle.
  • Sharing information or feedback.
  • Reaching customer anniversaries.
  • Learning more about your products.

All of these incentives make it more likely that your business grows sales and keeps your customers away from the competition.

Step 6: Pick software to drive your program.

Customer Incentive Software

It’s 2020. Your customer incentive program should be online, on mobile, and mostly automated. Look for loyalty software that checks those boxes, while supplying you with data collection tools and reporting. Using software-based gamification platforms can make your rewards program even more irresistible to customers! For a full incentive company evaluation tool, check out this checklist!

Step 7: Market your program.

A customer incentive program gives you new tools, platforms, and – most importantly – a compelling reason to communicate with your customers. These include emails, SMS, direct mail, and content on your rewards site. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste! Communicate with your customers early and often to let them know more about your latest incentive promotions and the value of the rewards they have the chance to earn.

Step 8: Help your customers along the buyer journey.

Your customer incentive program is a chance to provide enablement to your buyers. In addition to improved communication, you can align incentives with desired calls to action. This sets clear expectations for your customers. You can further enhance the enablement you provide to customers with goal-tracking software and incentives for quiz-based learning.

Step 9: Keep an eye on your program reports.

Even though point assignment and reward fulfillment can be automated, it’s still important to be hands-on with monitoring program results (or to team up with a trusted incentive company!). A customer incentive program can generate rich data and insights that you can use to improve your program and drive your sales and marketing strategy. Luckily, easy-to-use dashboards and reports make this data accessible and easier to interpret.

Step 10: Seek feedback to improve your customer incentive program.

Offering incentives to your customers is a chance to bring you closer to a one-to-one relationship with your customers. You can maximize this impact by taking the time to truly understand your buyers. Ask for their feedback! Incorporating this feedback into your customer incentive program will empower you to continuously improve your program throughout its entire lifecycle.

Ready to Offer Incentives to Your Customers?

If you’re tired of losing customers to the competition and are ready to increase sales, it’s time to offer your customers the best incentives possible! We’d love to help. Incentive Solutions is an award-winning incentive company, with the case studies to back it up!

Complete Incentive Solutions

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About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.