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Loyalty Programs

A Comprehensive Guide to Pet Food Loyalty Programs

Written by 
June 18, 2020

Pet food loyalty programs are nothing new. Along with milk, gas and toilet paper, it’s safe to say that pet food is a repeat purchase. If your pet food is displayed on shelves nation-wide or globally, then you probably already have an existing customer base.Whether you want to expand this customer base, secure it, or directly engage it, you’ve come to the right place.Let’s get started! First things first…

The Ultimate Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs

 Learn how to create a successful loyalty program that retains customers and boosts sales.

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Why is Customer Loyalty Important for Brands in the Pet Food Industry?

dog in shopping trolley in pet food aisle

There are four key reasons why customer loyalty is so crucial for pet food suppliers (and other businesses as well).

1. Repeat Business

You might have a healthy pool of repeat customers, but these are not necessarily loyal customers. What if a competitor undercuts your products by a few dollars? What if local retailers start selling other brands?Many repeat customers can be instantly lost this way, whereas loyal customers will continue to shop with your business regardless. Why? Because they’ve developed an emotional connection to the brand, through a personalized customer experience. We’ll explain how to do this shortly.A 2019 Deloitte study revealed that of the 62% of consumers who claimed to feel a relationship with a brand, more than three-quarters of them stated they’d used that brand for 4+ years because they trusted it.Stronger loyalty equals longer customer lifetime value.

2. Higher Spending

Loyal customers also spend more per transaction than an ordinary customer… 67% more, to be exact. Perhaps this is why a mere 5% rise in customer retention can increase profits by as much as 125%.Again, this boils down to the trust factor. The pet owner knows your brand, and they’ve had an enjoyable customer journey with your brand. As such, they’re more likely to buy bigger quantities of your products because they trust the business.

3. More Referrals

customer referrals

While brand loyalty is all about customer retention, it also helps with customer acquisition.Loyal customers are far more likely to be brand ambassadors, and promote your product to their peers. After all, what better marketing can you ask for than a solid base of satisfied repeat customers?"As younger generations grow increasingly immune to traditional advertising, referrals are becoming an essential cog in every brand’s marketing machine."Consumers are four times more likely to make a purchase when they are referred by a trusted peer. Referred customers are also much more likely to become loyal customers.By using existing customers to attain new ones, businesses can rapidly grow their customer retention rates and drive sales.

4. Higher Tolerance

Generally speaking, loyal customers tend to be far more forgiving of errors or mistakes. While this is perhaps more relevant for service-based industries, there’s potential for hiccups in any brand-consumer relationship."Let’s say a local retailer is sold out of your product, and the customer is forced to purchase another brand. This is a potential tipping point, where you could permanently lose that customer to one of your competitors."With good loyalty marketing, this customer will return to your brand the next time they shop.Similarly, a business’s most loyal customers tend to be more willing to trial new products. They’re more willing to be the guinea pigs for new marketing strategies, and provide honest feedback. This allows brands to identify and resolve any flaws in their business plan.

How to Retain Customers and Foster Brand Loyalty with a Digital Rewards Program

customer loyalty

A sure-fire way to achieve the above, is to implement a digital loyalty program for your pet food business.

The modern day loyalty program constantly works behind the scenes to achieve the following goals for your business:

  • boost FOV (frequency of visit)
  • upgrade ATV (average transaction value)
  • increase engagement (to strengthen the emotional connection between brand and customer)

There’s no limit to what techniques a loyalty program can employ to achieve these three goals, once you go digital.A well-designed digital loyalty program allows businesses to directly engage customers via SMS, email, push notifications and social media. These communications can be tailored based on each customer’s specific preferences.

importance of customer loyalty

"In a nutshell, digital loyalty programs create a much more convenient, cohesive and personal experience between the business and customer. This level of engagement simply can’t be achieved on a non-digital level."This is true for cafes, restaurants, hair salons, hotels, pharmaceutical companies… and pet food suppliers!How do we know this? Because Stamp Me has already created numerous custom-branded digital rewards programs for pet food suppliers, including Ridley AgriProducts.

Case Study: Ridley’s R3 Rewards Program

Ridley AgriProducts is Australia’s leading provider of high performance animal nutrition solutions. You’ll find Ridley’s products in more than 3000 outlets nationwide, under brand names like Barastoc, Cobber, Rumevite and Primo.Ridley produces nutritious food for farmers with dairy cows, poultry, pigs, horses, sheep, fish and dogs.

ridley agriproducts
Image Source: Ridley

"Despite the fact that its products are sold through intermediaries, Ridley needed a way to directly engage its customers."

Specifically, Ridley wanted to:

  • build stronger relationships with supply partners, as well as the end consumer
  • capture customer data in order to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior
  • communicate directly with the end consumer, for the promotion of new products, events, news and other information

Ridley wanted a digital platform to engage customers with, and which was capable of:

  • enabling partner promotions and facilitating opportunities for increased revenue
  • being quickly and easily activated and implemented across a nationwide network of outlets

"Stamp Me worked closely with Ridley to create a customized loyalty program that would suit Ridley’s specific needs. This ultimately became the R3 Rewards Program."

How does it work?

the ridley r3 rewards app

The R3 Rewards Program is ingeniously simple. The customer downloads the Ridley app, and earns a stamp whenever they purchase a Ridley product in participating supply stores.Upon collecting five stamps, the customer receives a digital $10 voucher, which they can use on their next Ridley purchase. It’s as simple as that.The remarkably straightforward points-and-rewards structure works towards retaining customers. Meanwhile, targeted communications create a personalized experience and increase engagement.As such, Ridley was able to directly target customers for a fraction of the price of costly mass advertising techniques.

The Ridley R3 Rewards Program achieves the following goals:

  • encourages repeat purchases from a growing database of brand advocates
  • supports Ridley’s partner distributors
  • raises awareness of its brands with ad-hoc promotional campaigns
  • builds intelligence around its customers (this includes what and where the products are bought, by whom and when)
  • attains additional granular information (e.g. which devices customers use, date/time transactions occur, willingness to receive push notifications, etc.)
  • establishes a direct communication channel with the end consumer, whereby each customer receives tailored offers

Learn more about the Ridley R3 Rewards Program in our in-depth case study.

What are the Benefits of a Digital Loyalty Program for Pet Food Suppliers?

a dog sitting by an empty food bowl

1. Low Cost

Mobile-app based loyalty programs are relatively cheap to create and maintain, making it an ideal option for pet food suppliers.As an example, the Stamp Me Loyalty Card App typically costs businesses between $19 and $49 per month. We offer a 30-day free trial to let you gauge if it works for your specific business.There are other ways to operate a digital rewards platform, but generally they aren’t ideal for pet food suppliers. For example, a POS-integration model would only work for a business that has its own shops scattered around the country, staffed by its own employees and so on.For brands that sell products through third-party retailers, wholesalers, pet shops and other intermediaries, a digital loyalty app works best.

2. Customer Data & Analytics

digital loyalty card aoo and rewards database software

Digital loyalty programs provide pet food suppliers with all kinds of customer data that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. This data offers valuable insights into consumer behaviour, which helps with marketing, and uncovering any potential flaws in the business.Every time an existing customer makes a purchase through the digital loyalty program, the pet food supplier gains more data towards that customer’s spending habits. This includes:

  • what they buy
  • how often they buy it
  • where they buy it from
  • what other items they buy along with it, and so on.

The more data a rewards platform attains on customers’ preferences, the more it can personalize each customer’s shopping experience.These algorithms are built into our award-winning platforms. They constantly work to engage customers and foster a deeper emotional connection with your brand.

3. Versatility & Convenience

Again, this point is particularly true for digital loyalty apps. Digital loyalty apps can be rolled out across numerous subsidiaries and multiple locations much easier than other loyalty solutions. Any changes or updates to the program can be made in real-time.With receipt scanning technology, customers can take a photo of their receipt and upload it into the digital loyalty app. The image gets converted into data, the purchase is logged and the points are automatically added to the customer’s account. Simple as that.

smartphone taking a picture of receipt

Regardless of when and where the transaction took place, the details are sent directly to the pet food supplier. From there, the brand can directly engage the customer via their mobile device.

Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most out of your Data-Driven Digital Loyalty Program

1. Receipt Scan

Using a receipt scan validation method makes things easy for your customers, and the resulting data provides invaluable customer insights. Ridley AgriProducts used receipt scanning technology to its full potential with a special “Hardworking Sole” promotion.Customers who purchased Cobber dog food products were instructed to take a picture of their receipt. Then, they would upload it through the Ridley R3 Rewards app, along with a picture of their foot on a “hardworking sole” panel (placed on the floor of participating stores).In doing so, customers were automatically entered into the draw for some pretty enticing prizes. The campaign was hugely successful in building awareness and gaining insights into consumer behaviour.

2. Gamification

girl excitedly plays on her mobile device

A recent COLLOQUY study revealed that more than a quarter of millennials remain engaged in a loyalty program purely as a result of gamification in the form of badges, leader boards and other competitive elements.Perhaps that’s why more than 90% of North American retailers plan to engage customers through gamification within five years.To use another Ridley example, all R3 Rewards app users received a text, email or push notification last summer. The offer was for a digital Scratch & Win card upon purchasing any two bags of Barastoc Poultry Feed.Prizes varied from $2 off your next purchase to a whopping $10,000 VISA Gift Card, and increased digital engagement exponentially. Scratch & Win is a standard Stamp Me feature, allowing brands to directly engage customers with spontaneous instant prizes.

3. Innovative Rewards

As a pet food supplier, you might be limited in what kinds of rewards you can offer customers. However, what about other businesses that share a large portion of your customer base?Airlines, hotel chains and rental car companies partner up all the time to offer a more comprehensive customer loyalty experience. Who’s to say pet food suppliers can’t partner up with local pet shops, veterinarians and pet training academies?

4. Strategic Promotion

megaphone blasting out all sorts of marketing icons

Without good promotion, a digital loyalty program will go unnoticed by customers. There are a whole host of ways to promote your loyalty program without spending a cent on advertising. It boils down to using your existing resources to their full potential.In-store signage is difficult for pet food suppliers, as it requires cooperation from the intermediaries that sell the product. The same goes for incentivizing staff to promote the loyalty program.Regular social media posts are a good alternative, and consider creating a pop-up at checkout for online shoppers:“Hi there, did you know you can save 25% on today’s purchase by joining our loyalty program right now?”This tactic also entices the customer to join immediately, as there’s an upfront incentive.

5. Tailored Communications to Upsell/Cross-sell

An effective digital rewards platform segments customers into specific groups based on their previous transactions and interactions.From there, you can send tailored offers to each segment. These “targeted communications” are far more likely to be appealing than your standard one-size-fits-all offers.The marketers at Starbucks are seasoned professionals at this.

staircase leading to a star

6. Referral & Feedback Incentives

Good loyalty programs don’t just reward customers for their spending – they reward customers for all kinds of mutually beneficial behaviour.By offering rewards or discounts in exchange for referring friends, you can rapidly grow your customer base. Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate, and offer 16+% more in profits than other customers.Also, these referred customers are five times more likely to refer other people to a brand. Once you’ve got the ball rolling, it’s a self-powering machine!TransferWise has enjoyed immense success with its “Invite a Friend Program”, with rewards of up to £50 for existing cardholders.Rewarding customers for feedback, product reviews and sharing articles (on pet nutrition, for example) are also effective promotion methods.

7. Corporate Social Responsibility

plant growing inside lightbulb in the soil

Brand loyalty is all about emotional connection. Customers who feel an emotional connection with a brand hold a 306% higher lifetime value.Aside from rewards, incentives and personalization, an alternative approach to building this emotional connection is to exercise good corporate citizenship.Eighty per cent of millennials expect the brands they shop with to display good corporate citizenship. In fact, two-thirds of them are prepared to switch to a more expensive brand that does so.“As a pet food supplier, you could offer customers extra discounts for recycling product packaging or choosing organic products. Many businesses allow customers to donate the monetary equivalent of their rewards to charitable organizations. RSPCA might be appropriate for pet food suppliers, for example.”Show consumers that you are actively giving back to the community, and they’ll reward you for it with their loyalty.

Ready to get started?

At Stamp Me, we provide pet food suppliers with highly intuitive, data-driven digital rewards solutions. Our award-winning platform allows brands to directly engage their customers with targeted communications to their mobile device.To discuss how Stamp Me can help your pet food business retain customers and boost brand loyalty, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a friendly member of our team today.Stamp Me provides loyalty solutions to businesses large and small, from our own Customer Loyalty App to fully customised loyalty and rewards programs for enterprises and brands. Contact us if you would like to discuss a loyalty or rewards solution for your business or brand.

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Stamp Me provides loyalty solutions to businesses large and small, from our own Loyalty App to fully customised loyalty and rewards programs for enterprises and brands.

Contact us if you would like to discuss a loyalty or rewards solution for your business or brand.

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