3 ways your credit card payment processor can help you build customer relationships and sell more
Whether running a specialty grocery market, retail store, or fine dining restaurant, business owners have traditionally built their success based upon personal interactions with their customers. But today’s business owners face different challenges. They don’t always have the opportunity to cultivate customer relationships face-to-face. They are competing in a much more aggressive market driven by changing consumer preferences. And, they have to grapple with complexity in payment solutions.
So what are today’s successful businesses doing differently? They are turning to their credit card payment processor for more than just payments, and rather as a connecting point to the solutions and tools that drive commerce across multiple sales channels. Working with a payments company that serves as a business advisor and collaborator offers many benefits. Let’s explore three ways your payment processor can help you build profitable relationship with your customers.
#1. Personalization: let your customers know you care
Consumers want to know that the businesses they frequent are paying attention to them, and personalization is one way to do just that. Crafting offers and promotions based on individual customer preferences can be an effective way to cultivate loyalty—as long as the customer feels the efforts are helpful and don’t cross the line in privacy concerns.
In general, many consumers are receptive to personalization—and it benefits the businesses that employ the tactic. Vantiv research into personalization efforts reveals that 42 percent of consumers are most open to receiving purchase history recommendations from grocery stores, and that these recommendations have a positive impact on purchase frequency.
Overall, women are more open to receiving recommendations and offers based on their purchase history than men. And Millennials in particular show a higher interest in receiving personalized recommendations and are also more likely to increase their shopping based on personalized recommendations.
If you don’t yet have a good idea about your customers’ preferences, now is a good time to find out. Turning to your payments provider to help establish a customer loyalty program is a great way to begin learning more about your customers so you can design more personalized offers.
#2. Loyalty programs: a key to personalization efforts
Loyalty programs are perhaps the best vehicle to deliver personalized offers because consumers know (and have an expectation) that when they sign up for such a program, they will receive specialty offers. In fact, 46 percent of consumers note the top reason to join a loyalty rewards program is for the automatic discounts at time of purchase. And, loyalty programs are popular— 92 percent of consumers belong to at least one loyalty rewards program.
Payment providers play a significant role in today’s loyalty programs. The advent of eCommerce and integrated payment infrastructure, as well as mobile wallets, give merchants even greater opportunity to cultivate customer loyalty using paperless, turnkey programs focused on customer acquisition and retention.
Innovative credit card processing providers like Vantiv offer merchants many loyalty tools that work seamlessly with a POS or tablet device. These tools target customers and drive brand attachment using customized digital rewards programs, promotional messages delivered via text message and email, geolocation features, and more.
The best loyalty offerings make it easy for customers to sign up and check in with their phone number, and allow merchants to collect additional information, like name, birthday, and email address, over time. Merchants can use this information for targeted marketing campaigns tied to customer behavior such as enrollment anniversaries and birthdays, and even to address customer attrition with offers that entice previous customers to return. This type of promotional messaging has been known to spike customer visits by 70 percent.
If you don’t have a loyalty program, it’s time to get one going. And if you already have a loyalty program in place, it’s worth evaluating its effectiveness. Is it delivering the results you want? Are your loyalty members coming back more frequently and spending more? Are they bringing in friends and referring your business to other people? Your payments provider can help you find the answers to these questions, by organizing and interpreting the wealth of customer data available.
#3. Customer insights: helping build your business
It’s one thing to launch a loyalty program to your customers, and something else altogether to leverage the insights from the program to inform your day-to-day operations. As a business owner, it’s imperative to know what is working and what is not, so you can make tweaks where you need to for smart growth.
In addition to tracking customer purchases, knowing what your customers are telling other people about your business is important. Online reviews, for example, can have a major impact on future business. Over half (58 percent) of consumers read online reviews always or most of the time before purchasing a new product, and just under half (49 percent) of consumers read online reviews before selecting a new service provider.
But for a busy business owner, keeping an eye on customer reviews, whether on online review sites or on social media, is a daunting undertaking. The good news is that technology solutions are available that not only track customer reviews, but also make it easy to address issues. These solutions are especially effective when offered in tandem with other payments-related functionality and reporting on customer response to promotional offers, providing an overarching view of transactions and customer activity.
What can you do next to build your business further?
Personalization, loyalty and rewards, and data are the building blocks for today’s businesses to cultivate customer loyalty—and all can be facilitated through your credit card payment processor. Follow these four steps to begin leveraging these types of offerings for your business:
- Evaluate current loyalty programs.
- Look for integration opportunities to make tracking easier for you and for customers.
- Talk to your payments advisor.
- Set up regular evaluation check-ins to determine what’s working and what’s not.
To learn how Vantiv can help you in this endeavor, contact us.