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Most Loyalty Program Members Aren’t Active: How You Can Increase Customer Engagement With Unique Rewards

Acquisition isn’t the only challenge brands have when it comes to their loyalty programs. It’s one thing to get consumers to join your loyalty program, but a totally different task to get them to engage. 

According to our 2021 Premium Loyalty Data Study, 71% of consumers belong to traditional loyalty programs and most (68%) belong to 1-4 programs, and almost a third (31%) belong to 5 or more programs. 

But being a loyalty program member and being engaged are two completely different things. Consider almost three-quarters (73%) of consumers use 50% of those programs or less each month, and 5% don’t use any of them in the same timeframe. 

It’s clear that consumers like to join loyalty programs but getting them to engage is a higher hurdle to clear. 

Offering unique, enticing rewards as part of your loyalty program is a great way to incentivize your members to engage. We’ll show you the steps to take to offer members unique rewards through your loyalty program. 


Identify Your Customer Data and Key Interests

Before you dive into what kinds of unique gifts and rewards to offer your loyalty program members, first you must understand your customers’ likes, dislikes, expectations, and shared interests.  

Identify key areas of consumer interest and relevant and unique rewards within those categories.  

Test different rewards strategies across multiple campaigns to see which drive the strongest results with all else being equal. The survey is another powerful tool to better understand your customers’ preferences, and you can also gain insights from focus groups. 

Start with the data you have and see if there is a particular demographic you want to target and remember to always put yourself in your customers’ shoes.  

We offer Consumer Insights, which appends rich demographic and psychographic data to your core participant base from your program to better target themes and rewards. 

And from those areas of interest, we can pull consumer insights to determine hobbies and purchase habits. From there, identify categories that are relevant and unique rewards with each category. 

When determining the best benefits to offer, it’s important to consider not only the appeal it will have to consumers, but also how well the benefit reinforces your brand’s key value proposition.  

For example, if your brand promise is about speed, benefits that are “fast” will help reinforce that consumer perception about your brand. Contrastingly, if you’re a CPG brand that wants to be associated with “at-home family time,” rewards built around family game night or family movie night would make sense. 

Determine Unique Gifts Most Suitable for Your Customers

There is more involved than picking a compelling prize category like a vacation package or shopping spree. 

Choosing the right type of vacation or shopping spree for your target can drastically impact success. But it must be easily understood by your customers. 

Do you necessarily have to offer one massively attractive promotional prize, or are you better off offering several smaller, more attainable ones? 

The key is to offer a variety of rewards so you can attract more members and generate more excitement around your program. Offering various rewards also allows you to track member behavior connected to which prizes excite them the most. 

Offering something unique is the key here. How about a gold bust of a musician, meat-scented Christmas ornaments, or beer canoes? Not unique enough for you? How about a helicopter flight to work or a custom doghouse?  

Here are some examples of brands using unique gifts to engage their customers via their respective loyalty programs or promotional campaigns. 

Domino’s Pizza has offered a unique gift in the past to members of the Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards loyalty program. Just for being a member of the program, you’re eligible for a chance to win 10 free shares of Domino’s stock. 

Before Domino’s offered this unique prize, members simply earned points toward a free pizza. Now, there’s much more involved. 

To enter, members must follow @Dominos and post a photo and caption on Instagram or Twitter using #PieceofthePieContest. Domino’s also rewarded 50 members each with $10,000, and 10 of those winners earned a “superfan experience” trip to the company’s world headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI. 

Cracker Jack’s “The Surprise Inside Project” Company officials wanted to inspire busy parents to create small, meaningful surprises they know are missing in their families’ lives. The Prize Inside Project brought this concept to life by asking consumers, “How would you pull off a small, yet meaningful surprise for your family for $20 or less?”  

Two hundred winners each received a custom-branded Cracker Jack box filled with $20 of unique surprises inside – items specific to their submitted ideas. 

This promotion was unique! Lord Calvert Canadian Whiskey ran a promotion titled, “Lord of the Grill Giveaway,” to reinforce the brand’s connection to barbecuing. 

The Lord of the Grill Giveaway offered grilling enthusiasts chances to win more than the traditional backyard BBQ-themed prizes like stainless steel grills, utensil sets, coolers, and flavorful sauces. The grand prize was an entire cow – in the form of an estimated 600 lbs. of beef – pre-butchered and packaged, along with a new freezer to store it all. 

Gatorade’s “Sweat with the Best” under the cap promotion gave entrants the chance to have access to some of the best athletes in the world, including Drew Brees, Serena Williams, Bryce Harper, Peyton Manning, Dwyane wade, and Jimmie Johnson. 

Entrants purchased participating Gatorade products and earned currency by entering codes. 


Loyalty Partnerships Will Become More Popular

Strategic loyalty program partnerships will become more popular because they benefit both brands and expand the frequency and variety of rewards for their respective members.  

These partnerships serve customers better and add more potential benefits, especially when they involve complementary brands.  

Last year Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nike integrated their loyalty programs. Nike’s loyalty program links to Dick’s membership allowing consumers to shop for exclusive Nike shoes and apparel on Dick’s website. This partnership will grow over time to include in-person workout events at Dick’s locations.   

At the time of the loyalty program integration, Sarah Mensah, VP and General Manager of Nike’s North America division, said of the partnership: “We really believe that it represents the future of retail.” 

Walmart recently partnered with Spotify to offer new and existing members of its Walmart+ premium loyalty program free access to Spotify Premium for six months. It’s a nice move by Walmart to encourage more signups for Walmart+.  

Walmart+ launched in September 2020 and includes same-day delivery of groceries, fuel discounts at 2,000 locations, and access to Scan & Go (which allows customers contactless checkouts with their phones so they can skip lines). Plus, its annual fee is $98 ($21 less than Prime). 


Focus on Long-Term Customer Engagement

Many brands use one-off approaches to engage customers, but this doesn’t help with any long-term foundational loyalty.  

Whether you’re trying to engage your loyalty program members, unique gifts can go a long way in creating brand advocacy. 

Focus on creating programs that can be sustained for an ongoing period. Use data collected from your loyalty and incentive programs to evolve engagement strategies.  

Not only will you see more engagement from customers, but you can establish longer-term relationships. And remember the power of attaching unique gifts, rewards, and experiences to all of it. 

If you’d like to chat about any of your customer engagement efforts, please feel free to contact us here. 


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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