I have vivid memories of helping my grandmother stick green stamps inside the specially designated books. Sitting at her dining room table, we were on a mission to collect enough stamps and fill enough books to get "free" merchandise. Now I realize the merchandise was not really free at all, but it wouldn't have mattered. We consumers wanted those stamps, and we were loyal to the businesses that offered them as a reward for purchases! When I married I collected green stamps of my own. I wish I could remember for what merchandise I redeemed them.
Sperry & Hutchinson (S & H) launched this reward program in 1896, and saw the 1960's become their heyday. At one point S & H issued three times as many stamps as the United States Postal Service! There was a time when S & H was the world's largest purchaser of consumer products, and the green stamps continued to be used for over 90 years.
Why is this important to know, and what lessons can be learned from the success of S & H?
It's important to recognize that if you can find a way to connect with customers, reach them on some personal touch point, and give them something they value, you may be on your way to having an admirable customer loyalty strategy in the making.
If by purchasing groceries or gas from your business, your S & H stamps helped a family buy a new refrigerator or take a vacation, how is that for finding a personal touch point?
For stories of S & H memories, I found this great web article. I think you'll enjoy it.
S & H Green Stamp Memories