Monthly Archives: February 2011

Using Cash Cards pt. 1

Last week I took a look at different ways businesses can implement Reward Cards into their business and get not just the direct benefits that the card itself can bring but also make better use of the data and controls the system bring. This week I want to take two quick looks at  Cash Cards and how the new introduction to our platform can bring you benefits far beyond those available from paper based systems.

I want to take a quick look at 2 examples today and a further 2 later in the week.

Book Shop Gift Cards
A book shop had been offering Gift Vouchers to its customers for some time. However it did not have any accurate picture of who was getting these, how long it was taking for them to be used or if they prompted the recipient to come back on a regular basis.

Solution
The shop made the decision to replace all its Gift Vouchers with Gift Cards. The decision was made to maximise the flexibility for the customer and allow the purchase and redemption of value in any amount.

Comment
This implementation provided the store with a range of information that was never previously available to it. Now the store could see who received vouchers, what for and what books they purchased. They could also identify average times from issuance to redemption and plan their stock accordingly.
They were able to use their information to maximise their relationship with customers and send them personalised offers, encouraging them to come back after the initial visit.

Takeaway trying to remove cash handling on deliveries
This shop wanted to reduce the amount of cash their delivery people had to handle. They investigated a system of taking credit cards at the time of booking but this was unpopular and very time-consuming and led to lost orders when the lines were tied up.

Solution
The restaurant encouraged regular callers to avail of the Cash Card and to top it up with value. Cards could be topped up in the restaurant or with the delivery people.
They system was run alongside an existing Reward Card and this sped up the order-taking process since the system already knew the customers name, address and the directions to their house.
When the caller rang them the restaurant took the order, confirmed the identity and informed the caller of their remaining balance. The delivery person did not have to deal with change as the cost of the order was deducted from the customers card at the time of order. If they customer wanted to top-up their account they did so by handing the cash to the delivery person.
The two systems were integrated further by awarding extra Reward Points to Cash Card holders.

Comment
This system was easily integrated with the restaurants existing Reward Program since both used the same myrewardcard.ie platform. The customer gained by not having to worry about cash when ordering and they got extra Reward Points by holding both cards.
The restaurant gained happier customers and could take more orders by reducing the time each order held up the phone line. Deliveries were also more efficient as they did not have to deal with issues around change.

Cash Cards are new on our platform and can be used in many ways, such as Gift Cards, Christmas Clubs, Virtual Wallets etc. If you want to see how they can benefit your business don’t hesitate to give me a call on 021-2349920.

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RewardCard Usage pt.2

Shoe Shop With No Internet Connection
A shoe shop wanted to provide a Reward Card to its customers but did not have any internet access to allow real-time entry of transactions.

Solution
The shop arranged their program around vouchers posted to customers. When a customer complete a valid transaction their card number was written down along with the points due. These were then entered into myrewardcard.ie at the end of a day.
Every 3 months a report was run showing all customers with more than 500 points. These points were deducted and a voucher for €50 was posted to the customer. 

Comment
While adding some extra work the system they devised allowed the shop to offer a Reward Program. The posting of vouchers also reminded customers of the shop and gave them a reason to return as well as sparking discussion amongst the customer and their friends.

Clothes Shop With Internet-enabled Till
This shop wanted to implement the system using their existing till as a terminal.

Solution
myrewardcard.ie does not integrate into the till operation itself. However it operates through a browser on any internet-enabled till. The shop logged into the system and whenever a qualifying transaction took place the staff member simply switched screens on the terminal and entered the details.

Comment
While adding an extra transaction to the sales process this solution allowed the store to use its existing equipment and did not require extra space at the counter. The extra transaction easily took place while the customer entered their credit card details.

Restaurant Requiring a CRM System
The restaurant wanted to be able to streamline their take-away business by reducing the information to be collected during each call. In particular they wanted to introduce a delivery service and avoid confusion about addresses.

Solution
The business changed their default screen to Search. When  customer rang in they used the Caller ID (if it existed) to immediately pull up the customer details and greet the customer by name. If this did not show up they asked if the person had a Reward Card and used this. They then recorded the order and points awarded and were able to confirm the Reward at the time of the order. 
The restaurant also configured their Reward Program to focus on giving people rewards when they had a meal inside the restaurant. And they offered constantly changing “double-points” which focused on slow-moving high margin dishes. These changed depending on stock levels each day.

Comment
myrewardcard.ie fulfilled the two functions of Reward Program and Customer Relationship Management System for this restaurant. 
  • It made bookings more efficient as most of the information (name, address, directions) was already present in the system at the time of booking. This allowed more orders to be taken as the line was not tied up for so long.
  • It allowed the restaurant to encourage purchase of slow-moving items by flexibly awarding extra points on different dishes each evening.
  • It encouraged eat-in meals by offering larger points to in-house dining and also by making the rewards redeemable in the restaurant itself.
  • As a bonus the the restaurant was also able to provide proof of rewards to the Revenue Commissioners when an audit was conducted – an important consideration for a cash business.

These and the previous show the flexibility of the platform and its ability to meet your business needs when implementing a Reward Program. Next week I want to discuss ways in which the new Cash Card can be sued either as a direct replacement for existing paper based Gift and Saving programs but also how they can bring additional benefits that paper does not allow.

Loyalty Card Usage pt.1

The most common queries we receive relate around how the myrewardcard.ie system can be implemented for a particular business. While each business is different there are some common elements that are worth highlighting. I thought it would be worthwhile to look at a few of these as they might provide inspiration for you. I’ll look at these over the next few days, starting with 2 today.

Cafe Transferring their Existing Stamped Card Program
A coffee shop already had a program using stamped cardboard cards. Under this program the customer received a stamp for every coffee bought and the 10th cup was free. The shop wanted to start their advanced system by mimicking this program and then gradually introducing more flexibility.

Solution
Because the system was  simple one where every transaction was for a coffee and received 1 point the cafe was able to implement a SingleScan operation. Under this there was no requirement to manually enter points or note. This made each transaction very quick as it consisted of just one scan.
Comment

This process exactly mimicked the existing program. It also allowed for faster transaction time, collected the customer details and allowed a reconciliation process between the free coffees awarded and the till.

Cosmetic Shop With Limited Resources
This shop was very cost conscious and could not afford the capital cost of plastic cards.

Solution
The shop decided not to invest in physical cards but to use the customer name and phone number as the identifier. To implement this in a way that had minimum input from the customer the shop decided to complete registration instore. To complete this they printed all card numbers on a sheet. When a customer signed up they registered that number to the customer and verified the account using the code sent to the customers phone. After this whenever the customer bought a qualifying product they asked for the name or phone number, conducted a search and then manually entered the points.

Comment
This implementation allowed the shop to save money in their implementation while leaving open the possibility of introducing physical cards at a later date.

These are just 2 examples and I’ll include a few more Reward Cards tomorrow. If you have any special features in your business that you think you need some assistance with don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Loyalty Card Usage pt.1

The most common queries we receive relate around how the myrewardcard.ie system can be implemented for a particular business. While each business is different there are some common elements that are worth highlighting. I thought it would be worthwhile to look at a few of these as they might provide inspiration for you. I’ll look at these over the next few days, starting with 2 today.

Cafe Transferring their Existing Stamped Card Program
A coffee shop already had a program using stamped cardboard cards. Under this program the customer received a stamp for every coffee bought and the 10th cup was free. The shop wanted to start their advanced system by mimicking this program and then gradually introducing more flexibility.

Solution
Because the system was  simple one where every transaction was for a coffee and received 1 point the cafe was able to implement a SingleScan operation. Under this there was no requirement to manually enter points or note. This made each process very quick as it consisted of just one scan.

Download now or preview on posterous

pastedGraphic.pdf (25 KB)

Comment
This process exactly mimicked the existing program. It also allowed for faster transaction time, collected the customer details and allowed a reconciliation process between the free coffees awarded and the till.

Cosmetic Shop With Limited Resources
This shop was very cost conscious and could not afford the capital cost of plastic cards.

Solution
The shop decided not to invest in physical cards but to use the customer name and phone number as the identifier. To implement this in a way that had minimum input from the customer the shop decided to complete registration instore. To complete this they printed all card numbers on a sheet. When a customer signed up they registered that number to the customer and verified the account using the code sent to the customers phone. After this whenever the customer bought a qualifying product they asked for the name or phone number, conducted a search and then manually entered the points.

Comment
This implementation allowed the shop to save money in their implementation while leaving open the possibility of introducing physical cards at a later date.

These are just 2 examples and I’ll include a few more Reward Cards tomorrow. If you have any special features in your business that you think you need some assistance with don’t hesitate to get in touch.

myrewardcard.ie introduces Gift Cards and more

Gift Cards Today
Most independent businesses operate Gift Vouchers in paper form and while these are cheap to operate and easy to understand they have a range of problems;
  • Easily forged
  • The customer loses the value if the voucher is lost.
  • No customer information is collected so you don’t know who gets the card or build a customer database.
  • No Business Intelligence is gathered so you remain blind on how often people receive vouchers or how long they take to use it.
  • Any transaction not using the complete voucher value needs to return change, hitting cash flow.

Our customers asked us for a solution that would remove these problems. What we’ve come up with does that and more;
  • Increased advertising opportunities as people carry a card and tell their friends.
  • Automatic expiry of value if required.
  • Business generation as people see their existing and expiring values.
  • Complete visibility over outstanding liabilities.
  • Reloadable format allows for ongoing use once the gift has been spent.

Gift Cards, Christmas Clubs and Virtual Wallets
myrewardcard.ie Cash Cards are reloadable and can be used not only as Gift Cards but also as Christmas Clubs (and other saving schemes) as well as Virtual Wallets. The category is flexible enough to allow cards start out as one type and morph into another other – for instance someone receives a Gift Card for their Birthday and then decides to add to it every week to save for Christmas. 
The myrewardcard.ie platform allows a business to issue their own Gift Card, Christmas Club or Virtual Wallet and manage it using the existing platform with which they are familiar. Those businesses customers will also be able to manage Cash and reward cards under one account – providing them with added convenience.

The myrewardcard.ie Implementation
The decision to implement Cash Cards as a separate category from Reward Cards rather than incorporating both functions on one card is for 2 reasons;

Despite the separate function both cards use the same interface making them easy to implement with minimal extra training. All the user sees is an extra link to switch between the cards on each functional page.

Cash Cards can be managed separately from Reward Cards so default values such as SingleScan settings, value expiry times, etc can be set separately for both categories. 

Price
Cash Cards are priced at €45/month. For this price a business can issue 3 different type of cards in that category, allowing them to manage Gift Vouchers, Savings Club and a Virtual Wallet for that low price. In return myrewardcard.ie will take care of the backend IT functions such as updating software and making database backups. 

Why Switch?
Paper Vouchers have worked fine for most businesses so why switch from a paper system to one that costs €45/month? Earlier in this post I outlined some of the reasons; the flaws with paper and the extra features that the myrewardcard.ie option brings. But what do these mean in practice?
We are in a more competitive market than ever before and knowing your customers is critical to all businesses now. That is why the large stores such as Brown Thomas implemented this type of Gift Card a long time ago. Now small businesses have the opportunity to manage their customer base just as effectively.  For the first time they have a cost-effective way to identify;
  • Who gets Gift Cards?
  • How long does it take a person receiving a Gift Card to spend it?
  • Do people get cards for their birthdays or other reasons?
  • What do people buy with the cards and what is their average spend?
  • Do recipients of cards become regular customers or are they one-time visitors?

At the same time they also build a database of new first-time customers to whom they can market directly.

All of this can be done now with paper vouchers  but it is time consuming and not easy to manage. When you consider that Tom Traynor, the Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute says that gaining a new customer is “five to eight times more expensive than retaining an existing one” it becomes obvious why the Small Firms Association says that it’s crucial for smaller firms to take a more sophisticated approach to customer relations.
myrewardcard.ie Cash Cards ensure all the important information is automatically captured and presented in ways you can use and this saves you money by ensuring that you can turn that one-time customer into a regular visitor, saving time and money in advertising.

Cash Cards will bring real benefits to any business that uses them whether as Gift Cards, Saving Clubs or Virtual Wallets. The business that uses the information available to them is the one that can save money, grow their business and come out of the recession stronger.

Cash Cards are available today. If you would like to learn more about the new card categories and how they can benefit your business contact us today on info@myrewardcard.ie or 021-2349920
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The Importance of CRM

An article in last Sundays (January 30) Business Post caught my eye. It highlights a recent report by Microsoft that shows the increasing importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and the way Irish companies are finally beginning to take this aspect of their business seriously. The company surveyed over 400 businesses and found an increased awareness of CRM systems compared to its last survey five years ago.

The reason for such increased attention is explained in the article by Tom Trainor, the Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute who noted that winning a new customer was “five to eight times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”

The article also quoted Avine McNally of the Small Firms Association who said that it is crucial for smaller firms to take a more sophisticated approach to customer relations and stop keeping notes on scraps of paper: ‘‘If you’re serious about your customers, you have to be serious about CRM too.”

As the article makes clear it is the companies that work on retaining customers that will survive. The introduction of a Reward Card is of course a major step in this process on its own terms, giving customers a reason to return. But it is the CRM features of myrewardcard.ie that brings the real benefits.

The CRM Functions of myrewardcard.ie
myrewardcard.ie is not a dedicated CRM system but it does provide the majority of the data an independent retailer needs to actively retain existing customers. It even helps you get the maximum value out of the euro you need to spend on obtaining new customers. Built in you have reports that allow you to;
  • See which customers have not purchased form you in the last 6 months.
  • See the parts of town where you have a lower reach.
  • See trends over time in terms of what customers return, when they do so and what they buy. 
  • See which customers provide most of your business.
  • Identify upcoming birthdays and send greetings.
  • Identify customers for special promotions on specific goods.
  • Save money by targeting leaflet drops to where they are needed.
  • Keeping Data Current
    An important line in the article noted that 40 per cent of businesses who had implemented a CRM system said their biggest challenge was getting employees to update customer details. Of course this is a problem – managing data is time consuming. For retailers whose customer is a member of the public and not another business managing the data can be particularly awkward. But you still need accurate contact information that you can use quickly and efficiently. 

    That’s why myrewardcard.ie automatically captures the patterns of customer transactions for its reports. It’s also why we have the customer create the account themselves and why they can register multiple cards with just one account. These are all steps that take the onus away from your staff while also making it easy for the customer to keep the data up to date.

    myrewardcard.ie is not a dedicated CRM system, nor does it try to be. But I believe that the functions it provides are more useful to an independent retailer than any CRM system that focuses on Business to Business transactions – and will become more so as we add new features over the coming weeks and months.

    If you want to see how the inbuilt reports from myrewardcard.ie can benefit your business or you feel you might not be making maximum use of them drop an email to info@myrewardcard.ie
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