Zipcar recently announced that they will most likely roll out a loyalty program to reward their best customers. You know: the ones who fill up on gas, come back on time, and return the car in an acceptable condition.
Zipcar has been struggling to overcome declining share prices, increased competition, and stalled growth.
They need to do something to get members to come back again and again.
Is a loyalty program the answer to Zipcar's problems? Will a loyalty program incentivize customers to choose Zipcar over the competition? Would you consider being a frequent Zipcar user?
In reality, I have my own car. Regardless, I took a minute to hypothesize what I would do if I needed to get my hands on a car quickly. Here is what I concluded. First, I would try to borrow a car from a friend or family member. Let's be real here; nothing beats free!
If that was not an option, I would call my friend who is an assistant manager at Enterprise because I know she would offer me her friends and family rate. That's what friends are for; right? But what if she didn't work there or I didn't know her? Would I use Zipcar; would I be loyal to one rental car company over another?
Before I go on, I need to make a confession: for the past two years, Zipcar has been my enemy (only because they received the best parking spots at my university!!!). Every time I thought I finally saw an open spot after searching for 20 plus minutes, it almost always turned out to be a Zipcar spot! They fooled me over and over again. So I guess you can say I have a little pent-up anger towards Zipcar, but hey if I really needed to rent a car I would test it out.
So I admit it, I would rent from Zipcar if I had to! The process seems simple enough – sign up, reserve your car, unlock and drive your car, then return it when your reservation is over. But would I honestly go back and be loyal to them all the time? Probably not. I like to search for deals and if Zipcar isn't offering the best deal then I'm not forking up my hard earned cash. If the price difference is small and the rewards program is spectacular or the process is so convenient then maybe I would rent from them again. But that's a lot of ifs. Most likely, I would try to find the best deal I could from any rental car company out there.
What would you do? Are you a loyal customer or are you always searching for the better deal? Do you think a loyalty program is the answer to Zipcar's fiscal woes and declining market share?
To read the full article on Zipcar's loyalty program visit: www.bloomberg.com
If you want to learn about loyalty programs you should attend Loyalty World USA 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada October 29th-30th.