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The most effective way to dive shopper loyalty is the Loyalty card. My mother always used Loyalty cards when she went to Pharmacies to buy some medicines before she bought zuo modern queen bed for their master bedroom as well as zuo modern ottomans for the living room.
Came for the Rite Aid article (6.21.12) stayed for the poll. Find the results really interesting - over 1,300 DS News visitors speak to the physical store itself as the main contributor (62%) to loyalty. Refreshing to see this, becasue that IS the ante, if you do not provide what people expect they will not generally stay loyal. Amazingly simple but often forgotten in the fog of marketing and hot myriad trend data and shouting articles be it all about the smartphone or online options or place based tools, or whatever.
At the core is the experience of using the "service" that makes people become and importantly STAY loyal ... well that and habit helps too as we humans still remain creatures of habit. Now if one were to phrase the question in terms of what might get someone INTO a loyalty program I'd wager the results would differ.
Just a thought. Loyalty clearly matters and in the hyper competitive environment a few basis points of added loyalty equals real money! Just look at the numbers in the Rite Aid article that brought me here. Sometimes we (in marketing) do tend to over-complicate some of this. Get the basics right THEN layer on higher value & focus on actually meeting real people's needs and then lo and behold loyalty grows.
While many of the ways listed engender some form of loyalty, there is still nothing that anchors customers to a particular store more than some form of consistent, personalized interaction with a store associate....more than likely the Pharmacist.
Tough to pull off, given time constraints and rising work loads, but by far, the best loyalty maker.
Beyond the bench, my vote would be for consistently meeting customer expectations i.e. friendly and helpful service, in-stock on wanted products at better than expected pricing and fast, in and out check thru.
The basics still drive the business but sadly, headquarter philosophies are too often lost or watered down somewhere between their issuance and implementation at store level. The winners get it....the losers don't.