Punch cards are a tried and true method of encouraging customer loyalty. They drive customers back to your store with the promise of free or discounted product. This is a simple way, for small businesses especially, to reward customer loyalty. Here’s a post that goes into more detail about how to build customer loyalty.
Should Your Business be Using Punch Cards?
Punch cards are a great way to promote customer loyalty. When trying to decide if punch cards are right for your business, you need to ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I have one product that people love enough to justify coming back to buy it ten more times?
- Is the profit greater than the loss of money from offering a free product?
- Will my target customer use this?
If you answered yes to these questions, punch cards may be the right choice for your business.
What Kind of Punch Card is Best for Your Business?
There are two main types of punch cards you can use: physical and digital. They’re both good options but they have different strengths.
Physical punch cards are easy to produce and train your employees to use. They lend themselves easily to smaller businesses without a big budget for loyalty programs. They’re also walking advertisements, your customers will see them every time they open their wallets. Physical punch cards are best for your business if your customers are mainly in the older generation. Older adults tend to prefer physical cards.
However, the younger generation is less apt to use physical punch cards because they're less likely to carry traditional wallets. Physical punch cards are also easy to lose or tamper with. People can fake stamps or holes pretty easily. An easy way to stop this is by using a custom hole-punch or stamp. There’s also no good way to track usage unless you keep an inventory of the cards you give out and the cards used. If those are big enough deterrents, digital punch cards may be the option for you.
Digital punch cards are a little more complicated to set up but they may be worth that extra effort if they’ll be more suited for your business. Younger adults are much more susceptible to digital punch cards because they will always have their phones but they may not always have their wallets. Not only that, but younger adults are more apt to strongly utilize rewards programs. Recent studies have shown that Millenials are 22% more likely to stay with a business because of its loyalty program than the older generations (according to Forbes). Digital punch cards also provide the opportunity to track their success. If you already use a Point of Sale system like Square or Bindo, your rewards system will directly fit into it. It will be a little bit more difficult if you use other POS systems, but still possible.
However, digital punch cards take more effort to set up: the customer has to volunteer their email or phone number, putting them at risk for spam. This downside will be outweighed if they’re already loyal to your business.
Customer loyalty is an incredibly valuable part of your business. There are many ways to build that loyalty. Whatever your business, whether you use digital or physical, try using punch cards to promote customer loyalty.