In today’s challenging economy, savvy business owners and managers are always looking for ways to grow their own enterprises. Drawing in new customers and clients is an imperative, but the loyalty of long-time patrons is also critical.
The two obvious ways to ensure your customers keep coming back are providing excellent products and service, and making a commitment to keep prices as low as possible without slipping into mediocrity. But another relatively inexpensive way to generate interest is to offer a rewards program. Not only does it provide incentives to your own customers, it brings in revenue for other businesses who jump on your bandwagon. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship because everybody benefits.
Credit cards have long offered rewards programs for charges incurred. Chain restaurants and big box stores have also taken up the mantle. But more and more, local businesses are getting in on the action. What better way to promote shopping at home than by offering programs that daisy-chain businesses in a community?
One of the best programs we’ve seen in recent years was started by Reasor’s. As originally conceived, the Reasor’s card allowed customers to rack up 5 cents for every $50 spent, pre-tax. Pharmacy shoppers got 5 cents off every prescription, regardless of cost. Every nickel would translate into 5 cents off every gallon of gasoline purchased at a QuickTrip or Little Reasor’s, up to 20 gallons. The “points” rolled off after one use, or 60 days, whichever came first.
Reasor’s has now improved that program. One of the disadvantages was if you spent, say, $99 on a given shopping spree, you’d only get 5 cents for the first $50. To score another nickel, you’d have to spend another dollar. That might encourage the customer to grab a candy bar to make up the difference, but it could also make some frugal shoppers put stuff back, to be picked up during a later visit when another $50 would be spent. Under the new rules, this extra $49 accrues, with 3 cents awarded for accrued amounts. So if the shopper spends $51 next time, she gets 5 cents for the first $50 spent that day, and 3 cents for the accrued $50 – the $49 plus the $1.
Of course, Tahlequah residents hope we’ll eventually get a QuickTrip, or that Reasor’s will make a deal with a local gas station – or in lieu of that, give locals a bit more leeway before our points roll off. But nevertheless, since many folks go to Tulsa every couple of months, it’s a great benefit.
In case you haven’t heard, the Daily Press has also started a Reader Rewards program, which offers more than 20 “BOGO” (Buy One Get One) deals from local restaurants. Some are for free food, others for soft drinks, but if you’ve priced soft drinks lately, you know that will amount to substantial savings in the long run.
The card is available to anyone with a current or new annual subscription to the paper. It’s a way of saying “thank you” to our loyal readers – and it gets those readers into the doors of our local restaurants as well. One look at the lineup will show you that the money you’ll save in local dining will more than make up for the small cost of extending your shorter-term subscription to a year – which is cheaper than buying off the rack or for just a few months, anyway.
If you want more information on our rewards program, call our circulation manager, Jerry Harrington.