Looking for ideas for gift store loyalty campaigns? Here are eight ways to bring customers back more frequently.

• 1) Extended Return Timing

If your stated return policy is 30 days, extend it to 60 days for loyalty members to encourage them to make purchases without worrying.

• 2) Birthday Offers

Most loyalty programs include a birthday offer (once customers enter their month or date of birth). Just make sure that the offer duration lasts long enough for customers. An offer that is only good on the customer’s actual birthdate leads to disappointment for customers and stores who invest in the campaign.

The August/September issue features an extended article “Pulling Off a Winning Loyalty Program.” Log in and go to Page 36 to read the full article here.

• 3) Continuity Programs

Loyalty programs for gift stores that allow customers to build a set or collection over time are ideal for creating reasons to return to the store. Continuity programs can be open to the public or exclusively for loyalty members.

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• 4) Recency Programs

Recency is one of the key indicators for purchases. For example, include an offer on the bottom of each receipt that says, “Bring receipt back in 10 days for 10% off on your next purchase.” Shoppers will often visit a store several times in a short period of time when they are in a project (decorating a new home) or when they find many items they like but can’t afford in one shopping trip. Give them an extra reason to return!

The August/September issue features an extended article “Pulling Off a Winning Loyalty Program.” Log in and go to Page 36 to read the full article here.

• 5) Family & Friends Offers

Create a coupon that says, “15% off for family and friends.” It looks like a coupon that’s permissible to be used by anyone. That’s the idea. This helps spread “word of mouth” marketing amongst highly engaged customers.

• 6) Rebates

A rebate gift certificate once per year that is equal to 2–5% of annual purchases will usually bring customers back to the store. Most retailers who use this campaign do not combine it with other campaigns until they understand the “breakage rate” on the gift certificate. “Breakage rate” is the percent of rebate dollars that are never redeemed by customers. Some states require unredeemed gift certificates to be carried on the business books as outstanding liabilities for 3–5 years. Consult your accountant to learn more.

• 7) Free Samples

Vendors want to get their samples into your best customers’ hands. Free samples that are exclusively for loyalty members is a win-win.

• 8) Track Purchases and Receipts Online

Many loyalty programs have a customer-facing front end that allows them to see and track their past purchases online. While this ability may not directly create an incentive to purchase, it indirectly  motivates continued and/or increased sales. This service is ideal for loyal members who need to have tax receipts or want to remember the exact color or name of an item for future reference. Also, a big help if customers have returns without receipts.