One of the most critical challenges for both big retailers and small neighborhood stores is to turn customers into returning customers. While there is no way of contractually forcing customers to keep coming back, membership programs are the next best thing. By selling customers membership cards, retailers can incentivise customers by offering them special deals and discount. It’s exactly what Amazon is doing with its Prime membership program. Apart from the big brands, small retail outlets are now investing in membership cards printing to retain their local customer base.
It really is a win-win scenario as customers get to avail great discounts and exclusive deals, while the stores issuing these cards get a promise of regular business. However, more often than not, customers get sweet-talked into buying a membership card that they just don’t need. Remember, it doesn’t really work if you are not a frequent buyer. As a smart consumer, you need to sidestep the marketing traps and decide if a membership program is worth the bucks. Here’re 4 tips to pick a membership program that’s right for you.
Do the Math: If you are paying for a membership card then make sure you will actually save money in the long run. How many times do you really need to go to the store to make a purchase? If you visit the store once every three months to make small purchases, you may have a hard time recovering the cost of the membership plan. The best way to evaluate this is by checking your monthly expense history. Find out how much money you spend buying stuff from that store on a monthly basis. If you are a regular buyer, a 10% flat discount on all products can save you big bucks. On the other hand, if you rarely visit the store, even a 50% discount is utterly useless.
Pay for Savings and Services, Not for Exclusivity: Exclusive access to events and deals can be enticing but they never really save you any money. The best thing a membership card can offer is discounts and services. Ensure the card you are about to buy offers you discounts on products and services you really need.
Evaluate the Competition: If you are in two minds about buying a membership card, it’s often helpful to compare the programs offered by other competitor stores. For example, if you are thinking of buying a membership card to get discounts on grocery, it makes sense to hunt for other membership program offers to score the maximum discounts, deals, and benefits.
Read the Terms and Conditions: Almost all membership cards come with a list of terms and conditions. It’s usually different for different businesses. For example, a restaurant may choose not to accept your membership on special dates. This is why it’s important that you don’t take the flowery sales pitches at face value. Insist on reading the terms and conditions before committing to a particular membership program.