Tony O'Connor, Loyalty Expert
Tony O'Connor Loyalty Expert
5 minute Read • 05 May 2021

Open-loop loyalty platforms offer the high-street a brighter future

There’s no hiding from the fact that town centres have been taking a real beating in recent years.

The reasons why are obvious:

  • Big Tech firms using Big Data to cut out traditional retailers
  • Commercial rent continues to increase - and landlords would often leave stores empty than reduce rent
  • The ubiquity of smart-phones means anyone can compare prices and shop online from their sofa
  • The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

And these are just a few general, top-of-mind issues. Every individual small business also has its own battles to fight - but the good news is that they have a new weapon to fight back with - the open-loop loyalty program.

 

What is an open-loop loyalty platform?

In some ways, an open-loop loyalty program is similar to traditional loyalty programs:

  • Each company creates a list of rewards
  • Customers get points with every purchase
  • When they have enough points, customers redeem points for rewards.

However, open-loop loyalty platforms also have a few big advantages for small and medium sized businesses that help them get started:

  • Joining is as simple as paying a monthly subscription
  • No need for costly collateral and ongoing promotion
  • The software works on most tablets, so no need to invest in hardware.

Then there are the ongoing abilities that an open-loop loyalty platform provides:

  • A business dashboard that gives them complete control over their program
  • Automatic data collection that builds a comprehensive customer database
  • Marketing tools to create and deliver professional email campaigns and newsletters.

Finally, there’s one aspect that changes the game forever…

 

Customers can collect points anywhere, with a single card

One of the biggest problems all loyalty programs face is ever-diminishing participation. 

Almost every loyalty program ever created has faced this problem, and it’s the main reason why a lot of them no longer exist. 

Open-loop loyalty platforms solve this problem by letting customers collect points and earn rewards at thousands of different businesses with the same account. All customers need to do is swipe their card, or smartphone app, at the checkout, and the points are collected.

As you can imagine, this can have big implications for the high street…

 

So how does this help city councils and rejuvenation?

By encouraging local businesses to join the same open-loop loyalty program, local shoppers can collect points and earn rewards at all of them.

That gives these businesses the chance to build their own customer databases and marketing programs. Something that usually would be far too expensive to develop from scratch.

Meanwhile, the shoppers are also encouraged to shop locally, because they will be actively rewarded every time they do so. 

Mrs Higgins can stop-off at the local baker, butcher, green grocer, barber and florist on a Saturday morning, and collect points at all of them by using the same swipe card on her key-chain. 

Alternatively, she can swipe the app on her smartphone in the same way - and the app will also show her how points she has collected, available rewards, and even let her search for other participating retailers.

That sounds great from a day-to-day perspective, however open-loop loyalty programs have one more enormous opportunity for city councils…

 

Arrange regional lotteries, festivals and interactive trails with ease

When shops sign-up to an open-loop loyalty platform they are essentially joining a loyalty network.

It’s then possible for a regional organisation like a council or an Economic Association to invite the companies to join them, and participate in organised programs.

Existing customers can be informed easily. This is also a great opportunity to sign-up new customers, helping the companies to grow their databases even further.

In fact, because all of the infrastructure is in place, it’s possible to run numerous regional activities each year, with minimal need for investment (in terms of money or time) from the council itself.

 

Open-loop loyalty platforms offer a brighter future for the high street

While open-loop loyalty platforms offer benefits for all types of businesses, it’s high street retailers who have the most to gain.

With minimal initial outlay, they can start building loyalty through rewards, while also collecting data and enhancing their marketing activities. All made possible by simply paying a small monthly subscription fee.

The platform itself also encourages customers to shop local - and makes it easy for them to participate, by using a single swipe card or smartphone app to earn rewards everywhere.

Finally, councils can arrange extensive regional promotions easily and quickly, using the existing loyalty network.

 

There is no overnight solution for small businesses looking to compete with the global giants, but with the right weapons, they can start fighting back, one day at a time.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Piggy open-loop loyalty platform, please click here to arrange a 30-minute personal demo.



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