What do you think of when you consider loyalty programs?
Do you think of little paper punchcards with stamps on them? Or do you think of sophisticated websites where you log into a portal and gain access to industry news, upcoming events and exclusive promotions on the brand’s latest and greatest products?
What does a good loyalty program entail these days, and what does the average consumer expect from your program in 2021/2022?
The good news is that if you’re asking yourself this question, then you’ve already established the importance of customer retention and brand loyalty.
While traditional “Buy X, Get Y” offers are still good for getting people coming back through the doors (or clicking through to your website), it takes more than a freebie every 7 or 8 transactions to inspire an emotional connection to your brand.
So… What do customers want from loyalty programs?
The Ultimate Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs
Learn how to create a successful loyalty program that retains customers and boosts sales.
1. Instant gratification
What’s the immediate benefit of signing up to your loyalty program right now, today? And remember, loyalty points that go towards a reward don’t count – this isn’t instant gratification.
Give your customers an upfront incentive to join, and you’ll build registrations 3x faster than brands with no upfront incentive (trust me – this statistic is based on Stamp Me’s expansive network of clients all over the world).
A free coffee, complimentary shipping on today’s purchase, a discount on select accessories… it doesn’t have to be much, but customers appreciate it. You’re building the foundations for a favourable customer lifetime value.
Moving forward beyond this first step towards piquing customers’ interests, don’t ever keep them waiting for the rewards they’ve earned. Design your loyalty program in such a way that instant gratification is weaved into its very fabric.
2. Variety in rewards
Variety is what customers want from your loyalty program. Don’t restrict your rewards to an offering that’s only going to appeal to a portion of your customers and alienate the rest.
Get creative, cover all the bases, and even consider partnering up with other brands to offer a more wholesome rewards experience that spans multiple lifestyles and preferences within separate demographics.
3. Social media integration
Image Source: Tarte Cosmetics
The more you can incorporate social media into your loyalty program experience, the more you build a community around it. Suddenly, your most loyal customers can engage and interact with each other online.
Here are some tips for building a social media community around your loyalty program:
4. Contactless points accrual and rewards redemption
In a post-COVID world, customers want your loyalty program to be as contactless as possible. Thankfully, this is extremely easy for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries to implement, with digital loyalty apps being so affordable and versatile.
A recent Shekel study revealed that nearly 87% of consumers still prefer to shop in-store, provided it is an entirely contactless experience.
5. Customers love to be caught off-guard with pleasant surprises
Image Source: Pret a Manger
Who says your business has to stick with the traditional rewards structure that you’ve outlined in your loyalty program?
With 450 locations across nine countries, UK coffee chain Pret a Manger encourages its staff to give away the occasional free drink or snack to customers. Word of this gesture spread quickly and it’s now given Pret an edge over its many, many, (many!) competitors.
Mix things up a little, with random spontaneous rewards or gifts, exciting side-competitions like Scratch & Win games, or perhaps give your customers a “boost” towards their next reward with Double Points days and similar promotions.
Give your customers what they want from loyalty programs, with a digital rewards app
A well-designed loyalty app equips your business with everything it needs in order to provide your customers with what they want from your loyalty program:
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