9 tips to strengthen distributor loyalty

9 tips to strengthen distributor loyalty

April 11, 2024

Distributor loyalty is a niche of its own. We’ve worked our way through many of the supply chain challenges of 2022 and the early part of 2023 – and our customers are now able to be a bit more selective again with what they buy, and where. Enter loyalty programs, to ensure distributors keep themselves central to the purchase cycle.

We recently launched an all-new loyalty program for a client in the tire business. Our goal was to strengthen relationships across the board – between the distributor and each of their supplier partners, and with every customer in their network. This 9-point plan can help you do the same.

Structure for loyalty, and for growth.

Segment customers not only by value, but by highest potential value. Enroll participants, then set thresholds to filter out smaller customers and provide incremental value for tier achievement.

Tiers provide advancing benefits to loyalists and offer something for “the middle” to aspire to. Accrue monetary and non-monetary benefits as customers advance tiers.

Create simple rules, and a standard currency.

Customers are bombarded by manufacturer promotions, discounts and rebates, and many can be more confusing than they’re worth. Use this opportunity to your advantage: leverage the simplest manufacturer rules, then create a universal currency like points to reward the purchase of their products through your system. Offer points for every activity, and when the time is right, offer double points for things like online or inventory purchases, seasonal products or packages, geo-location offers, or other incentives.

Provide flexible, comprehensive rewards.

Allow loyalists to select the type of award that suit them: merchandise, gift cards, tickets, travel, business services, and account credit offer the freedom of choice for the customer.

Send informative communications.

Your customer’s time is valuable – they want to know what they’re getting from you, but they don’t need to be constantly pinged while they’re on the job. Send crisp, simple confirmations when they perform a desired task: when they register, earn points, redeem points, and engage with your program.

Send promotional communications.

Hype them up, too. Especially for grand prize achievements like travel. Keep them excited about the rewards, or destinations, and make sure they know how close they are to achievement, and what they still need to do to reach the summit.

Build interactions over transactions.

Member experiences create increased, repeat purchases.

Education cements your value proposition and drives brand advocacy, live forums engage customers and strengthen relationships, gamification builds excitement, and events allow you to share strategies with your best customers. And be sure to offer exclusive access and product previews.

Provide a sales toolbox.

Providing your sales team with the benefits of the program – through scripts, presentations, collateral, and videos – give them another positive opportunity to interact with their key customers.

Engage suppliers.

Provide suppliers with a similar kit, to present to the customer base as well.

When a supplier endorses a particular distributor, your chances of success increase by leaps and bounds. Offer suppliers tiered sponsorships through your loyalty platform to maximize assets, much like you do during your customer events.

Monitor analytics.

Track your program against sales goals, but create metrics around each supplier’s sales, and each interaction and positive testimonial. This gives you material to use when seducing your suppliers to endorse the program – and even sell enhanced sponsorships to offset your program and platform costs!

These are just guidelines. When you’re ready to talk specific strategies, we can help. For more than 45 years, we’ve been designing results-based customer loyalty programs that move the needle. Call us today to learn more about our successes and take a demo of our all-new Amplify® rewards platform. Learn more.