Just like a pre-flight checklist a pilot and co-pilot might review before takeoff, it’s critical to have a loyalty program pre-launch checklist.
Once it launches, your loyalty program becomes an ongoing entity within your company and can be the difference between your customers engaging with your brand or your competitors.
So, you want to check that list, and check it twice, before launching your loyalty program.
Here’s the Ultimate Pre-launch Checklist for your loyalty program.
1. Have you kept your customers at the center? What are your customers’ habits and preferences? What pain points will you resolve with this program? While it can be tempting to look at competitors and start adding on benefits, always keep the focus on your customers. They’re the reason your program exists.
2. Do you have an overall loyalty strategy? This is arguably the most crucial point on this checklist. You can’t build a business and loyalty strategy unless you understand what resonates most with your customers. To create a loyalty baseline, find any customer engagement initiatives you’ve done in the past that have been successful. Do you have any previous metrics tied to impacting positive customer behavior? Are there any tactics you’ve seen used that you’d like to try with your new loyalty program?
3. Do you have internal buy-in? Ensuring stakeholder alignment is the first and most crucial step toward your loyalty program Your brand must be on the same page every step of the way. Even after launch, maintaining that buy-in is critical for long-term success.
4. Do you have internal support and cooperation from different teams? Your loyalty program will touch multiple teams at your brand, so it’s important they are all rowing in the same direction. From your marketing team to your IT team to store operations, each team will need to cooperate with each other so the ongoing program management can be harmonious.
5. Are you aligned on objectives and KPIs for your program? You need to create clear-cut KPIs that will measure your program’s performance from the first day of launch. Alignment on these critical KPIs and objectives will help ensure the right program design and consumer experience and keep it fresh, relevant, and engaging. Without solid goals from the start, you won’t be able to plan and measure your success.
6. Have you clearly defined roles and responsibilities of everyone connected to your loyalty program? This can’t be overstated enough: Make sure everyone your program touches knows their respective roles. As part of your stakeholder alignment process, meeting with all relative parties is important since they might have different goals. When you have several teams (e., Finance, Store Ops, CRM, Technology, Merchandising) connected to your loyalty program, it’s paramount that each knows its role and responsibilities. It’s one thing to be aligned conceptually on a loyalty program, but specific responsibilities need to be responsibly delegated.
7. Do you have an ongoing management plan? A loyalty program is an ongoing “living, breathing” entity that will change over time and require planned oversight. As the previous point deals primarily with defined responsibilities pre-launch, this one takes that a step further. Before your loyalty program launches, you should also create a management plan that will extend beyond your launch date and include oversight responsibilities tied to it.
8. Have you identified what will evolve over time? You have a lot of data from your customers. As your loyalty program evolves, so too will your email communications as you gain new customer insights. Another key asset that will change as your loyalty program grows is your site copy. Make this enticing and relevant to your members. The big takeaway is identifying what elements will change as your program evolves and according to what cadence. This is crucial for the marketing of your program and for brand consistency.
9. How much do you know about your customers? What is the quality of your customer database? Is it a single database or are there multiple ones? How much do you really know about your customers?
10. How will you use segmentation as part of your loyalty program? Customer segmentation allows you to divide your customers into distinct groups based on various data points like demographics, geolocation, age, gender, products purchased, or socio-economic status. Customer segmentation can help you create a more focused marketing campaign for your loyalty program and learn which targeted groups show higher levels of engagement.
11. What is your rewards budget and replenishment plan? A key financial consideration that will help structure your loyalty program and inform a replenishment timetable. When you’re creating your rewards structure, make sure there is an even value exchange around what you want from members, and what members want from your brand.
12. What are your contingency plans? What if member enrollment doesn’t meet projections? What if you’re over-budget for program rewards? Building and managing a loyalty program in-house is a massive undertaking and requires extensive resources, including people and technology.
One of the biggest challenges for any loyalty program is member acquisition. If member enrollment doesn’t match initial projections, first look at conversion rates by media channel to optimize media spend to maximize conversion. Next, pull a list of top performing participants and create a look-a-like model to target potential members fitting that psychographic/demographic profile.
There are many ways to incorporate low-cost rewards to reduce your program rewards budget. Chance to win rewards efficiently drive point burn by offering an aspirational reward at a fixed cost. Additional low-cost reward options include digital assets, exclusive content and partner provided rewards.
13. Are your frontline teams trained on your loyalty program details and how to service the program? This next point is critical: Your store associates need to fully understand the program’s ins and outs and be able to explain/sell it to your customers. They are the face of your brand and need to be excited and knowledgeable about the program.
Don’t Skip These Steps Before Launching Your Loyalty Program
If you reached this point and feel good about all the points, chances are your loyalty program is set for success.
If there are points that you’re unsure of, you may want to take a step back and re-evaluate.
Having your loyalty strategy aligned with your brand promise will make it relevant to your members. Alignment is the vital piece that connects everything in your loyalty program.
A successful loyalty program should work for everyone – you and your customers.
If you need help chatting through, or even creating, your own loyalty program pre-launch checklist, contact us anytime.