Brick and mortar merchants face an uphill battle. It’s challenging enough driving customers into stores and actually selling products to them, but having to worry about which payment types to accept and how to accept them is a separate, yet crucial issue. Likewise, keeping customers happy and coming back for more is possibly the single-most important aspect of conducting business.
Good merchants employ ways to keep existing customers happy and loyal and they also know how to attract new customers as well. How do they do it? Outside of providing great products and services, loyalty and rewards programs and state-of-the-art payment terminals and POS systems are excellent ways to ensure the future success of any business.
Establishing Loyalty & Rewards Programs
Retail establishments, including specialty and department stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and bars are prime real estate for rewards programs. Creating these types of programs provides a great way to increase a brand’s visibility and increase sales and are worthwhile for a number of reasons.
It’s been proven that users join them not simply because of discounts or great deals. For starters, they believe they receive better service. Secondly, they ultimately gain a closer relationship with a specific store or brand. Loyal customers also write reviews based on their experience, providing free advertising through grassroots word of mouth marketing.
Obviously, brick and mortar stores can benefit greatly from a loyalty strategy, and according to National Merchants Association’s Director of Member Support, Tim Reynolds, “Rewards programs drive loyalty and spending. It has been shown the 80% of profit is driven by 20% of your customer base. Most retail shops profit because of loyal shoppers. Reward programs help businesses increase sales, while increasing their reach.”
Additionally, technology has allowed for deeper personalization and customer mapping as loyalty programs are becoming even more valuable and intelligent, according to Eagle Eye Solutions, a SaaS technology company that validates and redeems promotions. In a related NMA article entitled, “Loyalty and Rewards Programs,” it was explained how utilizing advanced methods like these allows merchants to analyze the effectiveness of their rewards campaigns while understanding customer behavior. Furthermore, business owners who are involved in the overall marketing strategy of their business as well as those that are keenly aware of advanced shopper analytics are already ahead of the curve when it comes to really knowing their customers and understanding their shopping habits.
The Value of a Payment System
While payment terminals are simple, effective solutions that have a main purpose of accepting (or declining) credit and/or debit cards as well as processing mobile payments like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc., point of sale (POS) systems offer more advanced features and are typically all-in-one solutions. A simple payment terminal is, at the very least, essential to any business as fewer consumers are paying with cash than ever before. As a matter of fact, a July 2016 Gallup Poll indicated that only 24% of Americans make most of their purchases with cash. Furthermore, only 21% of “young” Americans (aged 23–34) say they make most of their purchases with cash, proving that cash is no longer king when it comes to in-store purchases, as reported in the NMA article, “Terminals vs. POS: Which Do You Need?”
A good POS system can do much more than process transactions. According to NMA Director of Marketing, Holly Grieco, it can “help a merchant track inventory, control costs, and promote customer loyalty.” And that’s just the beginning. Ultimately, POS platforms are truly valuable and help streamline a variety of processes, benefitting merchants by saving time, worry, and money.
Consumers are definitely careful about how and where they spend their money. They are also concerned with the safety and security of their personal information, especially when it comes to sensitive personal data like credit card information. Swiping a card on a payment terminal may be a convenient way to pay for goods and an easy transaction for any business. However, it may not be the most secure. How can merchants reassure customers that their credit card information is secure, while effectively marketing their store’s payment system?
Marketing a Payment System
The NMA article, “How to Market Your Payment System,” describes how accepting multiple forms of payment builds a level of trust with customers. If they know different payment types are accepted, they’re more likely to spend money there and even better, come back later to patronize that business. Increasing trust builds loyalty as well. Accepting multiple payment options also reassures customers that a store as a whole, is a legit business that offers safe and secure transactions.
In this case, multiple payment options simply mean EMV (chip) cards as well as growing mobile payment methods (in addition to standard credit and/or debit cards). Mobile payments aren’t just an emerging trend, they are poised to become a preferred method of shopping, especially with younger shoppers. Switching over to a system that allows for this type of payment to be made is a wise decision for merchants of all types.
The global shift to mobile payments represents both increased and improved security measures. For the most part, fraudsters have a harder time mining sensitive data when there’s at least one (extremely secure) extra step between a customer and their credit card number or bank account number. Paying with a digital wallet in this way also represents an unprecedented factor of ease that will soon be the norm when it comes to making in-store payments: “The added convenience for customers to be able to simply tap their phones to a payment terminal firmly places mobile payments as an emerging technology that’s set to become a standard procedure in the very near future,” says the “How to Market Your Payment system” article.
The Result: Promoting Business
By accepting multiple forms of payment with an upgraded, all-in-one POS system, merchants can promote future sales, drive customer loyalty, and best of all: keep their customers happy. Likewise, creating a customer loyalty or rewards program is a great way to ensure the success of any business. Merchants employing both of these strategies can enjoy the benefits of an understated but powerful marketing strategy.
If you’re interested in learning how National Merchants Association can improve your store’s customer loyalty and market your payment system, feel free to contact us today. We look forward to partnering with you to ensure the future success of your business!