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Keep pet parents coming back with these loyalty program ideas

January 17, 2020

Why set up a loyalty program for your pet supply shop? Once established, a loyalty program offers a painless way to make your loyal customers feel special, while keeping your brand in the minds (and hearts) of your customers. Because people are creatures of habit, a good loyalty program gives people an incentive to establish and reinforce the habit of turning to your shop for their pet care needs.

When designing the store loyalty program, it’s also smart to layer in a sense of urgency. Because if customers miss their usual shopping trip, they’ll be missing out on benefits.

If you wonder whether investing in a loyalty program would diminish your profits, the opposite is true. According to studies cited by the Harvard Business Review:

  • Compared to catering to your loyal customers, the costs to attract new customers can be 5 to 25 times more.
  • Loyal customers are more profitable than new customers. Increasing your overall customer retention by 5% will raise profits by 25-95%.

How do you set up a loyalty program that resonates with your base? The following shares some fun ideas to try in your store.

Sweet rewards

The thing about earning rewards is they have that built-in game element. However you choose to serve them up, they put customers on a mission to accumulate purchases so they can get their prize, and enjoy that little rush of dopamine.

There’s the classic punch-card style reward; for example, buy 12 bags of pet food, get one free. That incentive keeps people coming back for pet necessities, so there’s no going wrong with that. But if you’re looking for a different spin, here are a couple of variations.

  • Point rewards: Give customers the power of choice with points that can be cashed in toward a future purchase. Even better, offer bonus points for specific sale items.
  • The early payoff: One way to boost participation in your loyalty program is by offering a kick-off reward, with a shorter path to the first reward. For example, you could award hefty bonus points for the second purchase, or get them to the first freebie with fewer purchases.

Power of perks

When customers are part of your loyalty program, it’s important to make them feel like membership has its benefits. These are some perks you can consider.

  • Coupons and freebies: These can be seasonal deals or tied to the pet’s birthday month.
  • Early-bird sales: For members only, of course.
  • Reciprocal discounts: Partnerships with local businesses and organizations add value and emphasize your community roots. Partner with vet clinics, groomers, pet rescues and even restaurants with pet-friendly patios, so members get exclusive coupons and discounts. They’ll welcome the chance to win new business with a small investment, and pet parents will love stacking the deals.
  • Special events: Help pet parents have more fun and serve up treats and games at members-only “yappy hour.”
  • In-store workshops: Book a local expert to lead an exclusive in-store event that only loyalty card members can attend. It could be a vet, dog trainer, pet behavior expert, podcaster or author.

Connection to a cause

Customers like to know what your brand stands for and how you’re making the world a better place. Linking your loyalty program to a worthy cause lets customers feel like they get the best of both worlds: saving money and doing good.

  • Give customers the option of donating their rewards and freebies to a local organization that helps homeless pets.
  • Set up a donation station for pet food and clean, gently used pet gear that will be donated to a local pet organization. In return, members get bonus points or a voucher.
  • Promote recycling and sustainability and offer members a small gift when they return empty bags, containers or unused portions of pet food to the store.

Seek out and reward referrals

One way your loyal customers can help is by bringing in a few friends. Build in a referral program that doles out rewards for every friend they bring to sign up for your loyalty program. Because people find their friends’ recommendations inherently trustworthy, they’re all the more likely to give your brand a chance.

Stay in touch

Your loyalty program is all about staying connected with customers. When they sign up, be sure and collect the email address. Then, stay in touch with newsletters with helpful content for pet parents, along with in-store updates and those all-important exclusive deals and coupons.

Social media is the perfect marketing tool to keep your brand top-of-mind with pet parents in your community. NutriSource Pet Foods makes this task easier. Visit, set up your free account, and we’ll deliver great, ready-to-publish pet content to your inbox. Then, share it with your customers so you can do even more to help pet families live happy, healthy lives.