After endless research, it is now well-known that by 2016 loyalty programmes have become fundamental to your marketing strategy. The mutually beneficial programme can help to retain customers, attract new ones, and prove to all customers that they are truly valued.

So, what really is a loyalty programme? Loyalty programmes are a type of marketing strategy and all businesses have their own unique take on them. They generally comprise of loyalty cards, discounts, prizes or any other similar benefits that provide a unique service to your special customers.

The benefits of implementing a loyalty programme are endless. Existing customers will share the joy and appreciation they receive from the programme and recommend it to their own friends and family. The more a customer feels valued by this loyalty scheme, the more they will continue to recommend the company, evolving into a continual upward spiral of success for your business.

By offering extra incentives to customers, this encourages them to make a purchase with you rather than with your competitor. A study by Bond Loyalty found that 68% of 20-34 year olds are willing to change where they shop for more rewards points. Furthermore, if (for example) customers can win their basket for free, this encourages them to make a greater purchase in order to get a greater win. Thus, they are more likely to spend more than if they did not have an incentive programme enticing them in.

Not only do loyalty programmes encourage customers to make a purchase and purchase more in the process, but it also enables companies to get hold of customer data. This allows a business to know which type of customers buy certain products, how often they buy and how much. They can therefore more easily target future promotions at certain types of customers, improving the efficiency of their marketing strategies.

Millennials have become the most brand loyal generation. According to Elite Daily, nearly 90% of Millennials actively use 2 to 3 devices per day and around half of them use Social Media to influence their purchasing decisions.

Millennials nearly always use Social Media to review brands and products that they have used. Thanks to the Internet and the colossal use of Social Media, word-of-mouth marketing has become the most influential factor in encouraging Millennials to make a purchase. Therefore, it is increasingly important that loyalty programmes encourage sharing through social channels as a rewarded action after customers have taken part in the first part of the scheme.

With the help of external services, loyalty programmes can be easy to implement and can be a huge success to your business. With Millennials being the most brand loyal generation ever and with the ever increasing use of the Internet and Social Media, you cannot afford to not have a loyalty programme implemented into your marketing strategy today.