Customer Incentive Ideas

Written by john zaremba
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Customer Incentive Ideas
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Customer incentive programs have several advantages for small businesses: They attract new clients and promote brand loyalty and new products. Larger companies with more sophisticated technology can track individual customers' buying habits and target effective direct marketing of certain products. Creative and well-implemented incentives can boost sales and word-of-mouth marketing and bolster sales during slow business seasons.

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Free Samples

Promote new products by offering a free sample with every purchase. For example, a coffee shop might offer everyone who comes in the store a small sampling of the new brew. If your new product doesn't lend itself to samples, offer a time-sensitive discount with every regular purchase. For example, a hair salon trying to expand into spa services might give its regular customers coupons for 25 per cent off a massage or a tanning appointment. This approach might also boost sales of a product that's not moving well.

Introductory Offers

Reward new customers with a price break. Health clubs, for example, might waive the registration fee or the first month's dues. This approach also might work for businesses people need occasionally but regularly, such as housekeeping services; a discounted trial period can be incentive for people to hire a monthly or weekly maid.

Free Gifts

A low-cost gift with each purchase can be tailored to your customers' likely needs. This works best for niche businesses; for example, business advice website recommends that pet shops give out dog collars. Similarly, baby-themed stores might distribute pacifiers.

Rewards Cards

This customer-loyalty program became popular in grocery stores and has spread to all manner of business, from pharmacies to bookstores. Member customers get moderate discounts on everyday items. As another bonus, assign redeemable point values to every dollar spent in the store. Once a customer hits a certain number of points, he receives a discount on his next purchase or a modest free gift or service.

Seasonal Incentives

Certain businesses wax and wane depending on the season. But some creativity and good timing can give you a boost in sales. For example, business-management consultants John R. Tonello & Company cite a major retailer that wanted to boost low winter sales numbers. The chain offered customers £97 in steak and related products with every grill purchase. As promotion, the store held on-site cookouts and smaller giveaways. According to Tonello, sales increased 35 per cent.

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