According to our 2021 Premium Loyalty Data Study, 71% of consumers belong to a traditional points-based loyalty program.
Loyalty programs are great at getting consumers in the door and collecting zero- and first-party data. These programs appeal to most consumers and are free to join. Members make purchases over time to earn rewards in the future.
Loyalty programs help brands’ acquisition efforts and should always be an option for your customers. Some traditional loyalty programs are more successful than others and it boils down to one thing consumers want: Value.
We’re going to focus on three key attributes that can elevate a loyalty program (with a retail example for each): Exclusivity, value, and authenticity.
Give Your Loyalty Program Members a Sense of Exclusivity
Ninety-four percent of Americans would take advantage of an exclusive offer.
It’s an incredible statistic that brands can leverage in their loyalty programs. Exclusivity makes a loyalty program more attractive, compelling, and desirable.
When your program members feel they’re getting exclusive access and benefits, that usually leads to emotional connections that are the cornerstone of brand loyalty.
How brands leverage their customer data differentiates their loyalty programs because it forms emotional connections with their most valuable customers.
That sense of community and exclusivity connects consumers to brands and helps create and sustain deep emotional bonds.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider loyalty program is a great example of exclusivity because it provides members with many experiential benefits. Consumers who sign up receive access to things like the Beauty Insider Community and beauty classes without having to spend anything at all.
Members that spend $350 annually gain access to the VIB tier, which offers free gifts and one makeover per year. Members who spend $1,000 annually are upgraded to Rouge status where they have access to a private hotline and exclusive events.
Some of the other program benefits include: Beauty Insider Cash, free shipping, samples rewards, exclusive gifts and experiences, first access to products, and beauty classes.
Sephora does a great job of engaging members and keeping the Beauty Insider program fresh and exciting with a plethora of benefits. Beauty Insiders truly feel they’re a part of an exclusive community.
Offer Your Members a Loyalty Program with Value, Convenience, and Fast Rewards
Consumers always crave value and that’s the key element in any successful traditional loyalty program.
Any brand can put together a traditional loyalty program based on points, but if consumers don’t see any value in it, they will look elsewhere.
The value proposition in your loyalty program must be apparent for consumers to engage with it.
Look at Starbucks Rewards, for example.
Starbucks restructured its loyalty program that now includes tiers. The updated program lets members use points to buy packaged coffee and select merchandise for the first time. Also, Starbucks credit and debit card holders can accrue points forever with no expiration date.
The restructured program eliminates the elite “Gold” status that customers achieved after spending $150 or earning 300 points. Members can start redeeming Stars (program currency) immediately after they are earned.
And members can earn a reward for as little as 25 Stars (extra espresso shot, dairy substitute, or additional flavor). Not making members wait long to use a program benefit is valuable and attractive.
Other perks include a free birthday reward, the ability to order ahead, free in-store refills, access to member events, and the ability to pay via the app. No longer do members have to load gift cards to use the app. Now, members can use their desired payment method which was the most requested program update.
Make Your Brand and Loyalty Program Authentic
According to our 2021 Premium Loyalty Consumer Data Study, 68% of consumers say their loyalty is more difficult for retailers to maintain than ever before. To develop strong, sustainable relationships with customers, brands need to be transparent and authentic.
From corporate social responsibility efforts, what your brand stands for, and your leadership team, consumers seek authenticity to be a brand advocate.
That’s why authenticity is the most important thing a brand can offer. Having a great product isn’t always enough to retain customer loyalty.
Consumers want to see your brand stand for values and causes they support. Authenticity helps brands connect with consumers on deeper levels.
Vans, one of the largest youth culture brands in the world, is authentic and passionate.
Vans Family is the brand’s interactive and intuitive loyalty program designed to recognize, reward, and celebrate Vans fans for who they are and what they like to do.
As a part of the ‘Family,’ members receive insider information, access to member-only contests and experiences, and sneak previews of upcoming product releases. They also earn points for shopping and engaging with the brand.
Family members also have access to exclusive patterns to customize footwear and accessories in the Vans Customs platform. They can also engage by posting their own experiences and sharing their opinions.
The Vans Family loyalty program truly engages its members and creates authentic connections. Vans Family members are quite passionate, and they serve as brand ambassadors. A mobile app allows them to track points, redeem awards and access other lifestyle content.
Elevate Your Traditional Loyalty Program
While traditional loyalty programs are quite popular, from a usage perspective, 73% of consumers use 50% or less of the traditional programs they belong to.
If you want to elevate your traditional loyalty program and increase engagement, think about these three key attributes: Exclusivity, value, and authenticity.
When you add value to your loyalty program, you increase engagement and make members feel special and part of an exclusive community.
Listen to your customers, give them the benefits they want, and be authentic.