Ecommerce and Retail

COVID-19: A Fresh Look at Loyalty Program Strategies for Businesses

The Coronavirus has upended the business world and is forcing every business to take a fresh look at the word loyalty.

Employee Loyalty

Consider loyalty from the employee’s perspective. Businesses are laying off employees left and right. The unemployment rate may exceed 32% due to the Coronavirus Factor and working from home doesn’t accommodate every industry or position. Laying off employees is a practical solution to the economic crisis… but it doesn’t endear loyalty. 

COVID-19 will impact over 25 million jobs and the global economy will suffer anywhere between $1 trillion and $2 trillion losses

International Labour Organization 

Businesses that are running at a loss due to virtual standstill face the tough decision of whether to lay off employees or retain them on reduced pay or work out other loyalty strategies. It may be easy to let employees go… but don’t expect great employees to return if and when your business returns to health. 

CNBC assesses that 5 million businesses worldwide are affected by the ongoing pandemic. Businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, do not have much cash reserves and need to implement a carefully designed loyalty program strategy to ensure minimal disruption. It is a fine balancing act that your loyalty expert can help to put together and implement.

Customer Loyalty

Whatever the external situation, customers expect exceptional service. This pandemic could be the golden opportunity for your business to implement novel loyalty strategies focused more on service and empathy rather than just sales. If you’re not selling essential goods, you may as well keep customers engaged through other strategies – including offering games, latest updates, providing tips and so on. Your brand should stay relevant, of value, and continue to participate. If you’re able to, start accepting orders on phone and making home deliveries. 

When business is slow, you might not want to increase reward points. But in these cash-strapped times, lowering the amounts for redemption of earned points may best assist your customers – and ultimately your business when they subsequently increase their loyalty to your brand.

Your loyalty expert will show you how to implement these and a variety of loyalty programs for customers. Customers appreciate thoughtfulness.  

Retailers and Wholesaler Loyalty

COVID-19 is a temporary setback but has still left retailers and wholesalers stuck with excess inventory, no turnover, and little revenue to sustain their operations. 

As a caring company you could plan a new set of loyalty strategy to earn their goodwill during these tough times. One way is to defer payments or offer an installment method. You may also try to find a way to help them to move their inventory to end users – possibly through home delivery.

When the lockdown subsides, how can you adjust operations to reward loyalty? It’s time to show empathy and put the human factor to the forefront of any strategy. It’s also a time to both introspect and communicate with your retailers and wholesalers. This is the time to strengthen bonds, develop new ideas for the future, and prepare to work together.

Vendor Loyalty

Just as you’re assisting retailers and wholesalers, you will want the same consideration from your vendors. Their support will be invaluable to help you achieve momentum after the lockdown finishes and sales are sluggish. Build loyalty and you may get credit from your vendors, assisting your cashflow and helping your business return to health faster.

Reputation Building In A Pandemic

Build your reputation through social services that aren’t even aligned with your sales. Businesses can and should come forward to serve those with no jobs, with no money, no place to stay, and no food.

Humanitarian activities will likely earn you thanks from those affected and nothing else. However, it can have a big impact on your overall reputation. Your vendors, your customers, as well as employees, will perceive you in a different light. And their loyalty will grow. 

The Post Coronavirus World

The pandemic may subside but the echoes will linger and businesses must think of reinventing multi-pronged loyalty program strategies. It’s unlikely that consumers and businesses will splurge when the lockdown ends since there’s still uncertainty about the world’s economic future. 

Let a customer loyalty expert develop new strategies that will put people back on track to spend with easy payment options, more immediate rewards and a slew of services. Encouraging customers to spend means you need to offer encouragement and incentives to sales people – with an expectation that they’ll provide more value. With accumulated losses and a sluggish economy it will be difficult to get the business up to speed. In these times, vendors, customers, and employees are your best assets. Revitalized loyalty programs may cost more today… but will pay dividends in the future. 

They say that everything happens for a reason. If the pandemic changes how we live, how we get along, and how businesses operate – then we may live in a better world. Your business must take advantage of this situation and implement loyalty programs best suited for our future. Think and act fast with the help of expert – and you can get a head start.

Rakshit Hirapara

Rakshit is a content marketer at LoyaltyXpert, a loyalty program company in India. He holds spectacular skills in loyalty programs, marketing, and customer retention.

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