Every construction manufacturer with a supply chain has to deal with “part-time” customers. You know the ones.
- They aren’t loyal.
- They always compare your prices to the competition's.
- They rarely submit product warranty registrations.
- They don't follow purchases up with aftermarket or maintenance sales.
- The product mix they buy from you is limited.
Just because a dealer or contractor customer finds it convenient to buy your building products repeatedly doesn't make them loyal to your brand. Per a Forbes article on brand loyalty, "part-time" customers are common. Glenn Llopis writes, “Consumers have become more critical and cynical.” They're overloaded with choices. Social media, online information, and perception of brand authenticity influence their decisions. Elevating these part-timers into full-time, loyal customers takes some time and effort. Manufacturers must become memorable to B2B customers and establish real relationships, giving B2B customers a significant reason to choose one brand over another.
Roll out the right kind of construction loyalty program.
An online loyalty program helps you engage and connect with customers on a wide scale. With online loyalty software, you can reward everyone that buys your product. Not just end-consumers, but any distributor, dealers, reseller or contractors in your sales channel. There are three particularly important things that loyalty programs help you with:
1. Inform sales channel customers.
The most important element of creating customer loyalty is communicating with customers, and doing it the right way. The more they know about your products, the more comfortable they'll be buying, reselling, and recommending them. Familiarity can create in dealers and contractors the habit of turning to your brand first for their construction supply needs. That knowledge and familiarity can only come from communication from you.
A construction loyalty program with multichannel communication tools lets you quickly and easily deliver information in the most effective way possible. With the option of a loyalty app version of your program, you can instantly connect to dealers and contractors even when they’re out in the field. A contractor could open your loyalty program app to find a notification about a casement window promotion just as they’re about to purchase window materials. Finding this relevant information just at the right moment creates an incredibly positive interaction with your brand. A mere purchase can't compare with that. You can use this same loyalty program technology to send product updates, offer regional discounts, and just about anything else that would be useful for your channel partners to know.
Relationships with contractors and distributors are built one interaction at a time. Useful, convenient, rewarding interactions with your brand through a loyalty program makes you more memorable to B2B customers.
2. Reward customers.
What’s a contractor’s motivation for acting that casement window deal mentioned above, besides the discount itself? The reward points he can earn for purchasing your product. He can redeem these reward points for items in an online catalog with millions of merchandise items in categories such as electronics, sporting equipment, and hardware.
Who doesn't love rewards? They're exciting, especially when they're tangible rewards and can be shown off or used over and over. More importantly for manufacturers, tangible rewards are very good at changing customer behavior. Whereas consumers and contractors may not normally register products, submit warranties, choose you for aftermarket needs or supplemental materials, rewarding them for doing so can motivate customers to revisit your brand. Rewards alone don't create customer loyalty, but they can create habits with their fringe benefits, and habits can lead to appreciation of your brand’s quality and reliability.
3. Make the customer experience convenient.
As a Harvard Business Review article advised, “in demanding ever more attention from overloaded consumers, brands ultimately lead them down unnecessarily confusing purchase paths.” More than ever, today’s busy customers are drawn to brands that offer convenient solutions.
People who work in construction deal with tons of pressure, deadlines and safety concerns on top of keeping up with installations of the right materials and equipment. It's one of the most demanding industries. The best way to please construction customers is to simplify things. Your customer loyalty program can become a convenient source for discounted items, information and rewards, making customers’ decisions easier. With a loyalty app or website customers can access anytime, an intuitive reward catalog, and a steady feed of relevant promotion information, your construction loyalty program can accomplish a lot of things at once. You can even integrate the program into your corporate website to offer a one-stop shop for brand information and rewards.
Today’s lackluster customer loyalty is tough to overcome. Especially in the construction industry, consumers and sales channel partners have a multitude of product options and are short on time. Online customer loyalty programs can help you prove you're the best choice. They aid in communication with customers and reward them for buying, reselling or promoting your products. The more familiar with your brand they become, the more of their trust and loyalty you earn. Exciting rewards and convenience also help to change the ways of part-time customers, bumping them into true brand loyalty.