When consumers pay to become members of your subscription loyalty program, they expect the very best in terms of rewards, benefits and experiences.
Whether you’re offering a limited-time paid enrollment or a full-blown premium loyalty program, it’s critical that the benefits and rewards offered are not only valuable and relevant to your members but a level above those in a free program.
This article will focus on seven different types of rewards you should consider offering in your subscription loyalty program to engage and retain members.
What Rewards Should Be Offered to Members of Subscription Loyalty Programs?
- Instant Discounts
- Free Shipping Rewards
- Surprise & Delight
- Free Products
- Early Access to New Products
- VIP Experiences
- VIP Customer Service
1. Instant Discounts
While it’s important to offer a mix of transactional and experiential benefits, consumer research continues to show that discounts are what consumers value the most. In our 2023 Loyalty Programs Data Study, 52% of consumers would be motivated to join a premium loyalty program or renew a membership that has instant discounts.
For example, you could offer a premium loyalty member an instant discount of 10% off every purchase without the need for a coupon or accruing points.
2. Free Shipping Rewards
While consumers expect free shipping, there is a cost for brands to offer this loyalty program benefit. However, in a subscription-based loyalty program, such as a premium loyalty program or paid enrollment, these fees are offset by the recurring membership fee, allowing your brand to offer this benefit.
In our 2023 Loyalty Programs Data Study, free shipping was the top benefit 57% of consumers wanted from a premium loyalty program.
We worked with Coldwater Creek to build and manage MyColdwater Rewards. In addition to cashback rewards, the program offers unlimited standard shipping and return shipping rebates on all purchases.
This is especially appealing for Coldwater Creek customers because the free shipping and return shipping alleviate the potential friction that occurs if clothes don’t fit and consumers have to send them back.
3. Surprise & Delight
If you want to stand out from your competition, increase customer engagement and generate positive word-of-mouth about your brand, consider using an unpublished benefit in your subscription loyalty program called surprise & delight.
Some different types of surprise & delight gifts include:
Product samples: This is a great way for customers to try new products from your brand. You can send samples of your most popular products, or you can create special mystery boxes that include a variety of products.
Gift cards: Gift cards are always a welcome gift, and they can be used to purchase anything from your store or website. You can offer gift cards to your store, or you can partner with other businesses to offer gift cards to their stores.
Discount codes: Discount codes can be used to save money on future purchases. You can offer discount codes for a specific product or service, or you can offer general discount codes that can be used on any purchase.
Personalized gifts: This could include items with the customer’s name or initials, or it could include gifts that are tailored to their interests. Personalized gifts show that you put thought into your customers, and they can be a very memorable way to show your appreciation.
The more personalized the surprise & delight rewards are, the more members will appreciate and remember them.
4. Free Products
Offering free products as part of your subscription loyalty program is a great way to engage members and boost advocacy. Nearly 60% of consumers said that free giveaways would motivate them to join a premium loyalty program.
Our Customer Engagement and Loyalty Survey found that 85% of consumers would join a brand’s loyalty program to receive a gift with a purchase.
There are some important factors to consider. Make sure to choose the right products that are relevant to your customers. For example, if you sell cosmetics, you could offer free samples of new products.
And make sure your customers know how they can earn free products. For example, you might require them to make a certain number of purchases or reach a certain spending threshold.
Remember to be transparent. Let your customers know how much the free products are worth and how much they will need to spend to earn them. This will help build trust.
Awareness is crucial. Make sure your customers are aware of the free products you are offering. You can do this through your website, email marketing, social media or in-store signage.
Monitor how many free products you give away and how it impacts your customer loyalty. This will help you evolve the program in the future.
Your free products should be featured in a way that highlights their value to customers. And rotate the free products given to customers to keep the program fresh.
5. Early Access to New Products
Offering a benefit like early access to new products is a great way for you to engage your customers, build advocacy and get feedback you can use moving forward.
Overall, this approach can include early access to new products, sneak peeks at upcoming sales, or invitations to special brand events. Offering your members exclusive content and exclusive experiences is a great way to make your customers feel special and appreciated.
- Allow members to pre-order new products before they’re released to the general public.
- Invite members to exclusive preview events gives members the opportunity to see and try new products before anyone else.
- Allow members to be the first to review new products. This allows members the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on new products with other customers.
For example, we worked with an automobile manufacturer who wanted to create awareness about its first electric vehicle and test the viability of early access offered exclusively through a paid membership program.
In exchange for a fee, program members received privileges such as a spot in line to pre-order the electric vehicle before it’s made available to the general market and exclusive access to events, news and information about the new electric vehicle.
The paid exclusive access program was an immediate success: It reached capacity in a few days and then the brand reopened the paid enrollment at auto shows which quickly pushed the enrollment numbers to 20,000 members.
6. VIP experiences
Offering your members VIP experiences is a perfect way to make them feel special, recognized and appreciated.
For example, our 2023 Loyalty Programs Data Study showed that 17% of consumers would be motivated to invest in or renew a premium loyalty program membership if the benefits included VIP experiences such as exclusive in-store experiences, a personal stylist, fitness classes or a VIP fast lane at checkout.
VIP experiences help reward loyal customers and show appreciation for them. They also help you differentiate your brand and attract new customers. When consumers see that you offer exclusive benefits to loyal customers, they are more likely to want to become members of your subscription loyalty program.
They also generate positive word-of-mouth and create long-term relationships.
For example, My Best Buy Total is a premium loyalty program where members pay an annual membership fee of $179.99.
This program gives members a slew of valuable benefits, including VIP priority support at any time and access to specially trained team members for advice, customer service and coordination via phone or chat.
7. VIP Customer Service
Offering customers VIP customer service is a way to tell them what your brand is all about and your commitment to them. To have a successful VIP customer service program, there are several things to remember.
Personalized attention: VIP customers should be assigned a dedicated customer service representative who knows their needs and preferences. This representative should be available to them 24/7 and should be able to resolve their issues quickly and efficiently.
Faster response times: They should receive a faster response to their queries than regular customers. This could mean having a dedicated phone line or email address for them, or having their tickets prioritized.
Exclusive benefits: Offer exclusive benefits, such as early access to new products, discounts or free gifts. This will make them feel valued and appreciated.
Flexible policies: Grant access to flexible policies like extended return periods or no-questions-asked refunds. This will give them peace of mind and retain them as customers for a long period of time.
Make it easy for VIP customers to contact you, respond to them quickly and make sure your customer service associates are well trained. For example, our client, Oriental Trading Company, offers concierge customer service for members of its loyalty program.
Give Your Subscription Loyalty Members the Rewards They Deserve
Subscription loyalty program members expect VIP treatment both in terms of transactional and experiential benefits.
Make sure your rewards are relevant to your brand and audience and are things that will offer value to your members. If you’re not sure what rewards your members want, ask them through questionnaires or personality profilers.
Paying loyalty program members want to be recognized early and often. They also want various types of rewards that keep them interested, engaged and informed about your brand and program. If you’d like to talk to any of our experts about subscription loyalty, contact us here.