Johnson Business Machines, Inc.
Less Paper in Push for Plastic
You may not see as many credit-card offers weighing down your mailbox these days.
Less Paper in Push for Plastic Article
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Membership Cards

Who doesn't want to have customers coming back again and again? When asked to comment, everyone says that customer retention is a top priority. However, it is often seen that organizations do not implement positive strategies aimed at creating and maintaining a certain level of customer retention. Membership Cards are the cornerstone of getting and keeping your customer base.

Most companies have directed their advertising and promotional campaigns towards increasing the customer base. Such companies are implementing strategies which are oriented towards a product or brand, and not towards a specific market or customer segment. The primary objective of these strategies is to use advertising and sales support to drum up new customers, not to help retain old customers. Oh yes… they all have toll free support numbers and customer service departments, but they lack an integrated strategy that focuses on effective customer retention, with effective customer retention being a criterion or measure of success.

Please, don't get the impression that increasing the customer base is a wrong strategy… but ask anyone who knows their selling stuff and they'll tell you that "It's five times more profitable to spend advertising bucks to retain old customers rather than go beating the bushes looking for new customers."

Fifty years ago, the majority of people used to shop in local or neighborhood stores for grocery, clothes, hardware, etc. A few small shops would cater to the needs of people living in the immediate vicinity. The shop-owners knew each and every customer personally and vice-versa. The owner of the grocery store asked you how your kids were doing and when your son Micheal would be graduating. The hardware store guy knew that you were building a bookshelf and would set out the tools you needed before you had to ask! Naturally, the thought of shopping at a different store would never have crossed your mind.

All that has changed now. With the average supermarket almost 40 times larger than the corner grocery store, none of the salespeople know that you exist! As a result, customer loyalty has disappeared and large corporations (unlike the grocery store guy) are unable to ask the millions of disloyal customers what caused them to defect. With the advent of the Internet, the shopping arena has grown from the small neighborhood store to a worldwide retail outlet overnight.

However, with sophisticated computers and database equipment, many firms are beginning to make attempts at customer retention through database marketing programs. Establishing a detailed client database will allow these companies to keep track of personal information and individual preferences of all their customers; hence being able to provide them better service and value. Just like the grocery guy kept information on 200 customers in his head, the supermarket can keep track of 20,000 customers through its customer database. With effective implementation of customer databases, companies will be able to re-establish contact with customers and will be able to successfully work towards customer retention, "stickiness", referrals, repeated sales, etc.

To achieve the objectives of the database and customer retention programs, the entire campaign should be designed and implemented with the customer in view. The exercise will only be effective if the customer recognizes and associates some value with being part of your database. Otherwise, all your communications, coupons, special offers, newsletters, etc., will be chucked out the window.

This is where Membership Cards come in to play. People value discounts, special treatment and rewards. They will keep coming back time after time in order reap these benefits. Why not let your company's customer base benefit from this by using Membership Cards? They will definitely increase your revenues and lower your overheads and Johnson Business Machines, Inc. professionally projects your image on every Membership Card issued.
Plastic Card Usage
Standard Register Announces Results of National Consumer Survey of Plastic Card Usage

Credit, ATM and membership cards top the list of Americans' most widely used plastic cards, with debit and other types of prepaid cards poised for major growth, according to results from Standard Register's National Consumer Survey of Plastic Card Usage. The research found the following percentages of adult usage: credit cards, 89 percent; ATM cards, 61 percent; membership cards, 59 percent; debit cards, 37 percent; prepaid cards, 33 percent; prepaid phone cards, 29 percent; loyalty cards, 25 percent; and smart cards, 5 percent.

Standard Register commissioned the telephone survey of 1,202 randomly selected adults to determine consumers' awareness, opinions and usage of plastic cards. The survey was conducted in conjunction with Card Marketing.

"The survey reinforces our expectation that usage of debit cards (linked to bank accounts), gift and other types of prepaid cards will increase significantly over the next two years," says Susan Kraus, marketing manager, Imaging Services Group, Standard Register. "With results showing the number of people aware of debit and prepaid cards is more than double the percentage of those actually using them, there's tremendous potential to increase usage by educating consumers about the financial benefits, ease of use and other advantages of debit and prepaid cards."

Half of the adults (50 percent) reported regularly carrying one to three plastic cards on a regular basis, while 30 percent say they usually carry four to six. However, the survey indicated that the number of cards people actually have used is significantly higher.
Sample Membership Cards
Sample Membership Cards