Software house Pursuit has reported that a growing number of multi-shop groups and independents are introducing gift cards and loyalty to boost sales.
According to Pursuit, total annual UK consumer expenditure on gift cards is currently estimated to exceed £5 billion.
Although loyalty reward schemes to increase repeat purchasing by existing customers are also gaining popularity with jewellers, like vouchers, they present administrative challenges if they are not efficiently integrated into routine PoS procedures.
Mike Burns, managing director, Pursuit Software, comments: “In a sector like jewellery, consumer acceptance of reward schemes is helped by savvy shoppers using card schemes operated on a cross-marketing basis by groups of retailers and service providers not in direct competition with each other.
“Prepaid cards have become common currency for holidays abroad in preference to travellers’ cheques. Consumers are comfortable with them. Gift cards are a logical extension of the concept and are attractive in a high value sector like jewellery.”
Burns continues: “Jewellers using Pursuit sales, stock-monitoring and business reporting systems variously offer prepaid gift cards and one or other of two types of loyalty scheme. The software options that operate them are seamlessly integrated with other system functions. The two types of scheme are reward points and accumulating discounts linked to a customer’s level of spend over time. Both schemes are normally linked to privilege or ‘club’ cards.”
Asked how a retailer might choose between a point-based or a cumulative discount card, Burns responds: “Points based cards work for all types of customer but might be seen as the best choice for customers who collect a particular brand of bracelets and charms – the younger fashion market, if you like. A sliding scale discount scheme, perhaps with Platinum, Silver and Gold discount levels, can be seen a more appropriate for regular customers who buy high-end jewellery and watches.
“Although loyalty schemes have been popularised by department store and supermarket chains, as a customer retention mechanism, by enlarge they under-utilised in jewellery retailing. This could be due to an impression than they are onerous from the admin and record keeping point of view.
“With Pursuit, loyalty points and discount reward scheme mechanisms are completely automated and fully integrated into the point of sale process. The software takes care of everything, from quick look-up of a customer’s purchase history onwards – and can be accessed from the PoS terminal or our iPad mobile tills option. And of course the card can be used at any branch of a multiple. A customer’s personal records are instantly triggered by the swipe strip. From the security and customer verification points of view, a card-linked scheme is clearly preferable to a paper voucher system.”
Pursuit’s customer loyalty reward schemes and gift card software packages are being demonstrated at Jewellery & Watch.