Helping Small Businesses Through the My FedEx Rewards Loyalty Program

Generating customer loyalty can pose a significant challenge to marketers today. Driving long-term, sustainable customer loyalty with small business customers presents its own unique set of challenges.

Loyalty360 caught up with Jessica Bradford, marketing manager at FedEx, to get her insight into how B2B companies can turn small businesses into lifetime customers. Bradford manages the end-to-end strategy and execution of the My FedEx Rewards loyalty program

What are some of the challenges faced by small business today?

Bradford: All businesses, including small and mid-sized companies, are constantly focused on growing revenue, increasing profits and generating loyalty. Small and mid-sized companies, in particular, are more challenged with hiring employees, cash flow, raising capital, and maintaining business operations.

Small businesses don’t have hundreds of employees to manage human resources or all of the administrative functions that large companies may take for granted. They need cost-effective, simple solutions that enable them to focus on their core value proposition.

How have recent consumer trends, such as needing everything ‘on-demand’, impacted small businesses?

Bradford: To stay relevant, businesses have to be aware of and adapt to the ever-changing, fast-paced consumer landscape. Consumers have been trained to expect that anything they want can be delivered, wherever they are, within a few hours. Mobile plays a huge role in every aspect of their lives, including purchase decisions. Businesses have to change the way they think about fulfilling consumer demand to stay top of mind.

What makes a small business loyal to a particular provider?

Bradford: Motives for small business loyalty are not so dissimilar from consumer loyalty. Small businesses want quality products at reasonable prices with consistent service. Both small businesses and consumers want products, partners, and services that make their lives easier. However, small businesses also desire providers that make their business more efficient and drive their bottom line.

How is FedEx working to generate loyalty from its small business customers and help make their lives easier?

Bradford: In today’s fast-paced world, shipping and fulfillment play a large role in many small businesses. FedEx recognizes this and works diligently to make customer’s lives easier by simplifying processes and streamlining logistics for small businesses. Our goal is to make the shipping and fulfillment portion easy so our customers can focus on their core product and business operations. We have a variety of programs set up to help– each unique to customer type and need:

  • My FedEx Rewards provides small businesses with various offers for rewards and incentives that they can activate based on past behavior and qualifying activities.  There is also an invitation-only program offered to a subset of customers that provides a full point-based program to increase engagement.  Members earn points based on spend and various activities and can redeem them for themselves or their business.  Our catalog offers customers a wide array of options including gift cards from top brands, thousands of merchandise items and experiential rewards.
  • The FedEx Tech Award program offers qualified customers a subsidy to put towards the technology or hardware they need to access and use FedEx shipping services.  This is obviously mutually beneficial to both the customer and FedEx.
  • FedEx Advantage is a unique discount program that awards shipping discounts based on your average annual shipping revenue – so, the more you ship the more you save.
Each of these individual programs is unique and provide value to customers in different ways.  But equally important is how that value is marketed and communicated.  It’s important to showcase the combined impact of all of these programs together so customers feel the true weight of the benefit they are getting.

What can be leveraged from consumer-based loyalty programs for small businesses? What needs to be adapted?

Bradford: FedEx has leveraged a lot of learning from B2C loyalty programs because a big part of our relationship with our small business clients is transactional in nature. In these cases, we have found issuing points or rewards for desired actions works well from an earnings perspective. 

From a burn perspective, a traditional B2C loyalty program can be useful as many of the small businesses are redeeming points for themselves (as they would as consumers). Where small businesses are using points for the betterment of the business, it’s important to have “business” burn options in the catalog. For example, very large denomination gift cards to fund team events or very small denomination gift cards to give out to employees as rewards for a job well done. 

Outside of discounts and point-based programs, what else can help drive loyalty from small businesses?

Bradford: Small businesses have a lot of competing demands and appreciate anything that can help their businesses run smoother and free up resources. There are lots of value-add options beyond discounts and points that can help generate loyalty. For example, providing forums to award and celebrate your business customers or developing tools and specific content useful for their business.  They’ll always appreciate you finding ways to bring customers to their door and helping them think about the future, today.

One way FedEx does this today is through our Small Business Grant Contest which is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year.  Every year we give business owners the opportunity to tell their stories and engage their fans and an opportunity to win $25K to help grow their business.

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