Jeff Harris

By Vanessa Orr

One of the best ways to stay in business is by establishing a loyal customer base—and one of the smartest ways to do this is by creating a loyalty program that recognizes and rewards customers for their repeat business.    

“Everybody understands loyalty and rewards programs; they are tested and proven methods for driving customers into stores more often and getting them to spend more than they would otherwise spend,” explained Jeff Harris, founder of springbig, a leading cannabis marketing program designed to help retailers and manufacturers increase customer retention, boost revenue and build customer loyalty. “However, if the program is not designed correctly, it can just be a cost instead of an investment that drives more revenue. It needs to be structured so that businesses get the most out of it.”

In 2016, springbig entered the cannabis market after spending more than 20 years of providing loyalty programs for big-box retail stores and small businesses around the country ranging from hair salons to yogurt shops. “We realized that this was a growing industry that could use our help in developing and getting their message out to the consumer,” said Harris of the company that has already established a strong foothold in the Florida market.

“One of the things that sets us apart is that we were loyalty experts first; we weren’t cannabis experts learning the loyalty industry,” he added. “Our core expertise is helping retailers and brands drive the most revenue out of their marketing program specifically by using loyalty programs.”

Loyal Customers Drive Profits

Repeat customers can make a big difference in a business’ bottom line.

“Depending on how they choose to use it, we usually see at least a 10 percent bump in business when companies start using loyalty programs; that’s a very meaningful percentage,” said Harris, adding that he has seen sales increases of up to 40 percent. “When we don’t send out a message on a given day, the difference in sales is tremendous.”

While some businesses have rewards programs, a true loyalty program encompasses more than just giveaways. “It’s more expansive than that; think of it like a frequent flyer program,” said Harris. “The reward component is the miles, but other components may include a separate check-in line, the ability to board the plane first, and free checked bags. It’s giving your most loyal customers something different than other customers get.”

Loyalty programs also provide vital information to retailers and manufacturers about who is buying their products. Springbig’s specially designed cannabis CRM software, for example, pulls in point of sale (POS) data and segments that information to give clients information on click-throughs, visit rates, spend rates and more. 

“Every campaign is measured to the penny, and this information can also be used to create more targeted messages of who to talk to and what to say,” said Harris, adding that this also provides a comparison between loyalty customer groups vs. non-loyalty groups.

“In general, we find that when clients sign up with us, by leveraging our ability to bring in this data and segment the information, they make back their return on investment in just one day,” he added.

Setting It Up

Springbig makes it easy for clients to create a loyalty program that meets their specific needs. “We discuss their goals and objectives, and determine how technology can be used to accomplish what they want to achieve,” said Harris. “Once we’ve designed a program to fit their business, our special onboarding team trains their staff on the software, because even the best designed program will fail if a team isn’t correctly trained. 

“A loyalty program can help a well-trained staff really sell,” he added. “They get excited about it and engage more with customers, which helps customers understand how to leverage the program, which in turn drives more usage.” 

Harris credits his own team with his company’s success, which was recently ranked 99th on the annual Inc. magazine 5000 List, and #3 on Inc. magazine’s list of Florida’s fastest-growing private companies. The company was also ranked #2 as one of the best places to work (small company category) by South Florida Business Journal.

“Whether a company is launching a brand new program, or doesn’t like the program they’re using, I advise them to reach out to a company like springbig that has years of experience in loyalty programs,” said Harris. “A retail loyalty program costs about 2 percent of sales, which, for a $10 million a year company, is a big expense. So it’s important to find someone you trust to make sure that it’s set up so that you have the best opportunity to succeed. When done right, it’s a great tool.”

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