How to Build a Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry

September 6, 2016 Alex McEachern

No matter where you are in the world, chances are good that people love food.  With restaurants, grocery stores, and hole-in-the wall cafes on nearly every corner competition can be fierce, making a loyalty program in the food and beverage industry every consumables retailer’s secret weapon.

With most customers choosing to purchase food & beverage products nearly every week, the potential for high customer lifetime values and increased repeat purchase rates is huge.  So whether you’re selling from a brick-and-mortar location or online, a loyalty strategy is the perfect solution to providing an excellent customer experience that keeps your customers coming back.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry title

The success of a loyalty program in the food and beverage industry is largely dependent on repeat purchase rate.  Selling at a lower price point per item, food & beverage products need to be sold more regularly in order to be profitable.  You’re also heavily relying on your regular customers to promote your products to others, since you’re unable to let your customers try your product before they buy.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry overview

(Find out how to increase your repeat purchase rate with a loyalty program HERE!)

Luckily, almost 55% of Americans are willing to buy consumables online.  This growing comfort makes it feasible to sell food and beverages online, and building an open community around consumable products creates an opportunity for customers to review and share their experiences with your products.  These actions help destroy potential customers’ apprehensions, and paves the way for developing a thriving loyalty program in the food and beverage industry.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry competition

Unlike many other industries, food & beverage does not have overwhelmingly high competition.  That doesn’t mean you can be passive, though!  As people continue to become more comfortable buying food online, the level of competition will jump skyward.  Having a well-designed loyalty program in place will help keep your customers purchasing your products instead of jumping ship.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry strategy

(Increase profit, build community and more with a loyalty program designed with our FREE guide!)

Food and apparel are two of the most visual industries.  People choose which food to order based on pictures in the menu, and are more likely to choose a shiny red apple than a bruised, brown one.  Running a loyalty program that rewards customers for using social media to share their experiences opens up the possibility of influencing new customers to purchase your products.  Through this community, you’re able to attract new customers and retain old ones, adding a level of social value to your brand that competitors will be lacking.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry UGC

(Discover how to acquire, retain, and nurture your best customers in the full guide!)

Along with social shares, reviews are an impeccable way to demonstrate value to your customers.  Potential buyers are 63% more likely to make a purchase from a store that offers customer reviews, making your customers’ opinion about your products paramount to acquiring new customers.  Reviews also help develop the community built around social sharing, making your customer experience more than simply a loyalty program in the food and beverage industry.

Welcome points are another useful tool for increasing your number of repeat customers.  By offering additional value upfront, shoppers will be excited to be a part of your program.  Additionally, the information they provide upon enrolling will give you the information you need to successfully market to them in the future, creating greater opportunities for them to come back to your store.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry discounts

(Learn about the power of user-generate content and how a loyalty program can capitalize on it)

In addition, it’s always good to have a trick up your sleeve.  Offering your customers the chance to redeem their loyalty points for percentage-off discounts creates value for both you and your shoppers.  Your shoppers will be enchanted with the idea of saving more on their purchases, and you’ll be able to increase the amount they spend per order by encouraging them to buy more to save more.  It’s a win-win scenario powered by customer loyalty.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry engagement

(Find out more about the impact of smart discounts in the Loyalty Programs for Food and Beverage Guide)

With clearly defined value, it isn’t difficult to convince customers to participate in a loyalty program.  By rewarding them for making purchases, reviewing products, and sharing experiences on social media, your customers are given a diverse number of ways to earn rewards that can be integrated into their lifestyle.  For many, grocery shopping is not an enjoyable errand so shoppers will appreciate being given the chance to participate in a program that refreshes their shopping experience by giving it a bit more life.

These methods of earning, combined with discounts and free product rewards, is a surefire method to ensure potential and returning shoppers can see and experience the immediate value of your program at every stage of the customer journey.  With a loyalty experience like yours, customers will be flocking to your store for all of their food & beverage needs.

Loyalty Program in the Food and Beverage Industry summary

So what does it take to build the best loyalty program in the food and beverage industry?

1. Develop a program strategy which places excellent value and customer service at the core of your program.

 

2. Reward your customers for sharing your products on social media and writing reviews to help highlight the benefits of your products to potential customers.

 

3. Provide multiple ways to earn rewards, focusing not only on dollars spent but on the complete experience.

 

4. Offer rewards that create a desire to spend more with each transaction, giving your customers the opportunity to experience your products and save money at the same time.

 

With these recommendations in hand, you’re equipped to build a loyalty program that makes picking up groceries fun again.  So whether you’re selling tea, specialty foods, or something else equally delicious, you can use loyalty to keep your customers hungry and coming back for more.

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