Loyalty Programs Reward Sales and Social Contributions

PunchTab lets you reward customers for more than just dollars spent at the checkout page. Plus, it’s free.

Rewarding customers through a loyalty program is a great way for a retailer to acquire, engage and retain customers and also to increase sales.  Rewards and loyalty programs were once seen as something that only the corporate big-box retailers could afford to offer, but today, even the smallest ecommerce business owner can afford to manage a loyalty program.

Rewarding Customer Participation and Interactions

Traditionally loyalty programs were all about the money and getting customers to come and spend more money. The incentive, of course, was to earn rewards based on dollars spent.  This has changed in that online, a loyalty program can move beyond your ecommerce checkout, and you can reward more than just the purchase.

Ecommerce site owners can use loyalty programs to reward customers for content-focused contributions that serve to establish a deeper relationship between the customer and your business. This includes things like submitting a review, sharing a blog post with friends, Liking your Facebook page or Tweeting your URL.

Ranjith Kumaran, PunchTab's founder, said these are important customer actions that should be rewarded. “The check-out funnel starts way at the top,” said Kumaran. “It might be a Twitter mention or recommendation down through mobile where you can take that in-store and finally to the cash register.”

PunchTab, which currently powers more than 2,000 loyalty programs, is an instant-loyalty platform that allows website owners and brands to create a social and mobile-enabled loyalty program for free in minutes.

PunchTab: For Any Business of Any Size

An ecommerce business owner could use a service like PunchTab to reward paying customers with a reward currency and also reward them for participation in a discussion, for writing a review and sharing content on Facebook or Google+. 

“These social actions would typically reward in micro-credits,” said Kumaran. “An online purchase might reward 1,000 credits but sharing a blog post or a review might earn the customer 100 points for participation.”

According to Kumaran the combination of rewarding for online purchase and rewarding for recommending your business or product, nearly covers the full checkout funnel, but there is still another piece to fill -- which is the offline piece for businesses with a brick-and-mortar stores.

The full-service reward covers offline, mobile, social and the ecommerce presence. But if you don’t have all those elements a small business could still uses PunchTab to drive a loyalty program.

“PunchTab is designed to power what you have,” said Kumaran. For a small business that could be just an online blog and the checkout.

For small business ecommerce site owners looking to get started with a customer loyalty program, Kumaran recommends planning and choosing the best type of reward for your customer to create a successful program.

“Typically an ecommerce store or large community would provide their own rewards. We do offer a limited catalog of stuff we make available, but the most successful are the ones who offer their own incentives,” he said.

PunchTab, which currently powers more than 2,000 loyalty programs for business owners, is free for up to 1,000 members. The service is available in two flavors; an ongoing loyalty program that you can use to encourage your users to visit every day or as a one-time promotional giveaway widget that encourages users to spread the word about your site in exchange for entries into a prize raffle.

More Small Business Ecommerce Tips

Looking to get a better handle on managing customer interactions for your small business? Try these tips and guides for small business ecommerce sites:

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other e-commerce topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com E-Commerce Forum. Join the discussion today!


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