Digital loyalty programs: Creating sustainable value for SMEs in Singapore

- Digital loyalty programs allow customers to accumulate points for rewards through their continued purchases. This encourages customers to patronise the brand more often.

- According to a report, 80% of customers buy more from businesses if they are part of their loyalty programs.

- Through digital loyalty programs, SMEs can grow their revenue, and build lasting relationships with customers by tracking customer behaviour and rewarding loyalty.

Market dynamics are always changing. As such, it is critical to keep track of customers’ changing needs and expectations. The success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore is at the very heart of national economic development, with about 261,000 SMEs contributing to nearly half of the country’s GDP, and employing two-thirds of Singapore’s workforce. With the way digital technology is transforming every sector, our SMEs should make the most of digital technologies to improve operations and revenue generation. Business viability increases with the adoption of technology. Currently, SMEs in Singapore are still apprehensive about digital adoption and have yet to take the necessary steps needed to improve and strengthen their businesses amid a digitised economy. The adoption of technology for SMEs in traditional industries is at a deficient level as compared to native tech companies. In embracing digital technologies, businesses are able to build and develop more robust digital capabilities to seize growth opportunities. In a recent MTI report, SMEs that make use of advanced technological and digital tools showed a 26 percent increase in gross value added to the national economy. The types of business tools employed by any business helps to facilitate their digital transformation.

What are digital loyalty programs and why do businesses need them

Today's information-driven world calls for more data and mobility for enhanced performance and productivity. SMEs can digitise their business by leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate and drive software as a service (SaaS) solutions to boost the company’s productivity. The usage of such technology would enable enterprises to work more efficiently while cutting costs. As highlighted by a 2018 McKinsey report, SMEs that employ digital tools enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in their productivity. Digital loyalty programs are common digital tools that retailers can use to win customer loyalty, which can be hard to attain, especially with the current volatility of the market. According to a Citrus Report, 80 percent of customers buy more from businesses if they are part of their loyalty programmes. A digital loyalty program allows customers to accumulate points for rewards through their continued purchases. Through these programmes, customers are given appreciation when they are rewarded for their patronage. This would encourage customers to patronise the brand more often. As such, leveraging these programmes could help businesses to grow their customer base and retain existing loyal members. In doing so, SMEs can grow their revenue, as well as build lasting relationships with customers through the tracking of customer behaviour and rewarding loyalty.

Digital loyalty programs: What makes a good loyalty programme?

Ease of use This is the most important characteristic necessary for any programme to be successful. Ensure that your customers find your digital loyalty programs easy to use. Any digital loyalty programme should be user-friendly so as to make customers’ lives easier. The value is easily recognised by customers SMEs should always put themselves in their customers’ positions. Businesses should have a compelling offer that will motivate the customer to buy. Your loyalty program should be valuable for it to be attractive to customers. Ability to customise Digital loyalty programs should be customised on two fronts for efficacy. The program should be flexible enough to cater to business needs without being complex to manage. On the other hand, it should also have some level of customisation for customers, even if it is to segment them by their buying habits. Exclusivity The loyalty package ought to be unique to your business in such a manner that your customers cannot get the same thing elsewhere. You should make your best customers your business evangelists by rewarding their patronage with exclusive offers that can only be obtained from you. Conclusion There are those who believe that digital loyalty programs do not lead to brand loyalty; rather, it generates price loyalty. The truth is that people love to go where they are appreciated and customers are human beings. Be it price loyalty or brand loyalty, the truth is that digital loyalty programs motivate customers to buy your products more often than not.

Resources: This article originally appeared in the Entrepreneur's Digest print edition #91 and has been edited for clarity, brevity and for the relevance of this website.

About the Author

Peter Seow | Chief Executive Officer | iPlusLiving

As the CEO of iPlusLiving, Peter Seow defines and develops iPlus’s long-term and short-term business strategies. Apart from that, he also sets the business product vision and manages the technical aspect of the business. Peter has over 20 years of experience in customer acquisition, loyalty engagement and digital marketing services, specialising in enterprise-level, proximity-based mobile engagement technologies. He is currently the Vice Chairman of Quantum Interactive, part of the ARA Group, where he leads the development of the Suntec City Rewards Programme.