Companies and organizations need customer loyalty programs in order to understand the way customers do their shopping. This is a strategy that has been found to be effective in marketing. In order to build a marketing plan that is effective, it has been found out that customer behavior should be understood. The frequent shopper program will be designed in such a way that the clients will be awarded points depending on the shopping worth. In the end, the points will be redeemed and will enable these clients to get precious gifts. The more the number of points, the higher will be the value of the reward. One of the requirements that have been stated in the design of the program is that it should be easy to be used. The program should also be designed in such a way that the reward system is reasonable to the company and be motivating enough for the client. The rewards that are to be awarded to the client should be considered precious. It is the responsibility of the company to evaluate the program in its early implementation stages in order to understand the kind of reception that is getting into the market(Schultz & Irion, 1991).
The first method that can be used by the company to implement the frequent shopper program is to develop their own program from scratch. This can be developed and implemented by making use of Microsoft.NET program. The company will be tasked with the development and operation of the program from the beginning. The loyalty program will be developed in such a way that the clients will be attracted and maintained from the beginning. This program will help in captivating potential clients to make purchases at the company and continue to come to the company for more purchases. The program will also be responsible for getting enough client information so that it can adapt to the needs of the customer(Cybul, Szabo, & Toohey, 2002).
In this option, the development of the program will be using the hardware that the company already has in place. This will reduce the expenses of getting new hardware for the program. There will be the need to design a customer database that will be used to gather customer information so that it will be easier when retrieving this information. It will require for clients to sign up for the system before using the program. There will be the creation of loyalty cards for loyalty which will be used by the clients. The details of the card will be the customer number and a bar code which will be used to access the information of the client. There are scanners which are already in place in the company. They will be used in the card scanning process. The only thing that will be done is to integrate the customer information into the system. The members should be made available to the members so that they are able to access and update them from time to time. This will give them the information about the progress they have within the program. There will also be the option of web-based part of the program which will enable the clients to access the program online and thus ill reduced paper-based procedures. There is a decision that will have to be made by the company. This is whether e points will be awarded based on individual products or basing on the total purchases(Lal & Bell, 2003).
There are advantages that are associated with this method. One advantage with this method is that the company will be able to follow and manage the entire development of the program. They will be able to get what they want with the program. If there are customizations that need to be done, then the company will be able to implement these customizations. Another advantage is that there will be reduction of marketing costs. This is because the program will be designed to meet the clients’ needs. The customer data will be accurate. The company will get increased profits as there will be increased sales from the implementation of the program(Cybul et al., 2002).
There are disadvantages that are associated with this project. One disadvantage is that the initial cost of the project is high. There is programming for the frequent shopper. There will be also being hardware that will have to be purchased. This will be expensive for the company. The initial cost of implementing the program will be so high that it will be difficult to convince the finance department to release the funds. Although this is the case, the program will be able to pay for itself after it has been implemented. Another disadvantage is that there will be the need to have outside programmers who are good in programming. This will require that they take time to understand the business model before they start implementing the system(Schultz & Irion, 1991).
The testing process can be undertaken in the entire development process. This method of testing is good because bugs will be corrected before the program is implemented. By undertaking testing in the entire development phase, the company is assured of getting a functional program. If there are problems that will be experienced while using the program, Smith will be able to correct as they are the developers of the program.
The second method for implementing the frequent shopper program is for the company to look for an already developed system. The system should have a database that will be used to capture the client data. It should also have the capability to create cards and customer reward points. There should be some form of customization of the program.
The advantages of using this method are that the initial cost of implementing the program will be drastically reduced. This is because there are no design and programming costs. They will also be able to implement the loyalty system quicker than developing it from scratch. This is because most of the things have been done and what is remaining is for the company to implement and do some customization.
One major drawback of using this method is that the program was d designed for general use. It will be hard for the company to have exactly what they wanted. They might find a program that works but which they did not like some of its features(Lal & Bell, 2003).
The testing for this option will be undertaken only after the company has implemented the program. There might be problems when correcting the bugs because it is not the company which developed the program. The people who developed the program might need to be contacted in order to fix the bugs (Cybul et al., 2002).
There are many benefits to the company will achieve by implementing the frequent shopper program. The problem that they face right now is the method with which they will implement the program. If they are able to meet the cost, then developing the program from scratch is the ideal option. If there are cost issues, then the most ideal method would be to go for an already developed system.
Cybul, R., Szabo, R., & Toohey, J. (2002). Method for managing a frequent shopper program at an e-commerce site and an in-store site. US Patent 6,415,261.
Lal, R., & Bell, D. (2003). The impact of frequent shopper programs in grocery retailing. Quantitative Marketing and Economics.
Schultz, J., & Irion, D. (1991). Automated purchase reward accounting system and method. US Patent 5,056,019.