Up and down the country, paper-based loyalty cards can be found everywhere from family-friendly high street hairdressers to boutique salons – so they can’t be that bad, right? After all, the likes of Starbucks do it, don’t they? Well, as we’re about to explain, for the savvy salon owner, paper-based loyalty cards are no longer a smart marketing move. And in their place, is a fabulous digital alternative.


A bird in the hand…

You know customer retention is important (of course), but you probably don’t know just how important. So let’s put it into cold, hard figures…

80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers

“It costs 16x more to get a customer to the same spend level as a current one”

“A 2% rise in customer retention can drive down costs by as much as 10%”

It’s clear – it pays to ensure that your customer retention strategy is on point. Which is exactly why you set up a paper-based loyalty scheme in the first place. Except there’s a problem. Actually, there’s five…

The top five problems with paper-based loyalty cards…

  1. They get lost or, if they do hang on in there, they become dog eared and stained (not a good representation of your sparkling salon!)
  2. Even when they’re brand-new, there’s only so much that 7 square inches of card can do for your brand image
  3. They’re a massive pain to track – there’s no way of seeing, in an instant, just how often your customers return on average – is the scheme even paying off?!
  4. You don’t know anything about your customer’s behaviour – you can only dream of something that could give you an answer as to how you get a customer to stay longer, for more treatments of higher value
  5. Many of your customers simply stop coming back – could it be that you’re not offering them the rewards they want? With paper-based loyalty, you’ll never know

Loyalty schemes in the digital age

We’re nothing if not balanced – so let’s be clear – paper-based loyalty schemes do have advantages. They’re easy to set up and incredibly cheap. But here’s the key point – the term ‘cheap’ is a little misleading. The benefits that are being missed out when choosing paper over digital make for a complete false economy. Today, it isn’t just about rewarding loyalty as haphazardly as a college student applies their first bleach job. Today it’s about engaging customers – and this can only be achieved through a digital loyalty scheme.

The 3 cutting-edge advantages of digital loyalty schemes

Being digital is uber-cool

Today customers expect loyalty schemes to be instant, not inconvenient. With a digital scheme, rather than frantically searching for their paper loyalty card, instead they can simply scan a key tag or smartphone to check in. With each salon visit, they’ll watch as their point balance grows, and can instantly see what they could redeem for their loyalty.

Digital works hand-in-hand with word of mouth marketing

Digital loyalty schemes motivate customers to share their thoughts about the business – they could leave a review, refer their friends or share a salon on Facebook – all straight from the reception desk.

For salon owners, this means that their marketing is done for them – by their customers. As for the customer, well they love it too, as they can earn more points and more treatments, for simply taking two minutes to review, refer or share.

Digital loyalty schemes allow you to indulge in truly effective email marketing

Last but certainly not least, digital loyalty schemes hand you something truly invaluable: the ability to build an email database – so you can communicate frequently with a growing number of customers – for more bookings, more often. This has never been more important than it is today – in what is the age of GDPR.


Book Your Lifestyle is THE loyalty app for savvy owners. We create busy, buzzy businesses by tapping into the power of digital. Your customers will love how easy it is – racking up loyalty points with every product or service. As for your staff, they’ll look fabulous with their iPad and offers of equally as fabulous loyalty rewards.