A fresh take on the loyalty program - giving South African consumers something they really value

Retailers have found a new way to create positive relationships with their customers by giving them something valuable in exchange for their loyalty - free talk time with family and friends.

It’s a new take on the traditional loyalty program. Instead of earning points, customers are instantly rewarded with free talk time when they spend a certain amount in a particular store.

Rewarding loyal customers with free airtime

The South African mobile market has reached saturation. But a huge 85% of cell phone owners are prepaid subscribers – which mean that they have to purchase airtime before they can make a call. And most of them are not high earners, they’re every-day, hard-working consumers who have to tighten their belts as the cost of living goes up. They are people who would appreciate the reward of free mobile communication.

A much more measurable method

Advertising is a notoriously difficult thing to prove return on investment from. Brand awareness and sentiment are important, but at the end of the day, they are intangible - and difficult to tie to bottom-line sales figures.

Loyalty programs are designed to give retailers greater insight into the spending habits of their customers, with complex calculations working out which products to promote to which customer at what time.

Sponsoring consumer’s calls simplifies things. On the one hand, it’s easy to measure how effective it is - simply monitor how many calls have been used. And on the other, all customers who have prepaid phones will value free calls and are much more likely to redeem their voucher.

Retailers could even go a step further by playing a very short voice recording before the call connects, during which they can tell the caller about a new special or free trial.

Easy to do

Once the customer has paid for their shopping, all they need to do is check their receipt for a unique recharge code . Dialing it will enable them to redeem the free talk time “points” they gathered during their shop.

The perfect recipe for real loyalty

Patrick Palmi, CEO of JUSTPALM.com says, “We have found that this type of loyalty program is extremely effective, especially in developing countries like South Africa, where free talk time is seen as a luxury must-have by many consumers. When a brand or store gives them something that makes talking to friends and family, you have the perfect recipe for real loyalty.”

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