Like any other retailer, grocery stores want to build trust with their customers and keep them coming back. But the average bill and already slender margins in grocery can make it challenging to create a loyalty program that provides sufficiently compelling rewards.\n\nNevertheless, it's worth the effort, given that loyalty programs are a powerful incentive for grocery shoppers. In the US, for example, more than 60% of grocery store loyalty program members say that the financial incentives (such as discounts and promotions) influence where they shop and how much they spend.1\n\nThe first challenge is persuading customers to sign up for a loyalty account. Stores with a digital presence tend to roll loyalty programs into their online accounts. However, stores entering the digital space report that almost 57% of their online customers prefer to check out as a guest, rather than register for an account and the associated loyalty rewards.2 How can stores persuade customers to sign up and keep them coming back for more? Follow these tips:\n\n1. Know your customers and what matters to them\n\nKnow who your customers are and make sure the rewards you offer reflect their wants and needs. This involves making a genuine effort to understand your most loyal customers and what will entice them to keep shopping with you. Initially, you'll probably need to gather insights from surveys, customer service data and customer interviews. Once you have a body of customers signed up as account and program members, you'll be able to gather data about their shopping behaviors directly, enabling you to further refine and personalize your loyalty program and offers.\n\n2. Make it easy (and rewarding) to sign up\n\nMake the enrollment process as straightforward as you can, while ensuring you capture all the relevant customer information. Consider offering an incentive to new joiners, such as a 'welcome' promo code or discount off their first shop.\n\n3. Make rewards about more than just shopping\n\nThink about offering bonus points or other incentives to program members who refer friends and family members to the program. And give people a reason to keep coming back, such as a reward for opening your mobile app every day for seven days, or for visiting the physical store twice in a week.\n\n4. Deliver seamless transactions at the point of sale\n\nGive loyalty program members a smoother checkout experience instore with reserved tills, or the ability to pay using a barcode, QR code or the app itself (with additional rewards for doing so).\n\n5. Provide genuine value to your customers\n\nIf your loyalty program is mostly focused on benefiting your business, customers will likely see through that. Instead, make sure that customers feel like they're getting something in return for all that loyalty they're showing you. One approach could be to offer different tiers of rewards or exclusive offers based on spending thresholds.\n\nWhat technology can help optimize the loyal customer experience?\n\nOptimizing the experience for loyal customers means recognizing them regardless of how they interact with your brand, so you can offer them the privileges, promotions and personal touch that will help them feel valued. \n\nWith Cybersource\u2019s sophisticated Token Management Service, you can recognize your customers regardless of the global payment types, brands, methods, channels, or devices they use. Token Management Service creates one, unified, proprietary token identifier, which centralizes and orchestrates management of all tokens to provide a 360-degree view of the customer. That enables you to support the development of omnichannel experiences and incentives that help to further increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.\n\nThe ongoing shift to digital grocery shopping means that the competition is often only a tap away. A well designed and well executed loyalty program can play an important role in strengthening customers' loyalty to your brand.\n\nFor more about building customer loyalty in grocery and additional insights, download Cybersource\u2019s "Food Experiences" guide.