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Why Optimization is More Important for Premium Loyalty Programs than Traditional Programs

How are you showing increased value in your premium loyalty program to your most loyal customers? Are you offering a more unique, higher value experience than what you’re offering with your free program?

Optimizing your customer experience from sign up to active member experience doesn’t just give you a boost in performance. It also shows members that your program is relevant, fresh and centered around providing value for them.

Oh yeah… And that it’s worth paying for!

Modern retail is changing quickly, and your loyalty program needs to keep up. To be successful in making changes to your experience, you have to prioritize testing every element that could impact a user to be sure you’re making the right decision for your business.

It takes time and dedication to get the experience to optimal performance. But, when you’re in the business of providing value to your most loyal customers, the rewards of optimizing your program can be huge.


Same Ol’ Same

How many retail sites have you visited recently that have asked you for an email address in return for a coupon?

It’s a one-time offer.

Do you ever expect to get a unique offer the next time you visit?

I know I don’t. BUT, rewarding visitors in exchange for an email address works well for free loyalty programs because the barrier to entry is low.

Traditional loyalty is intended to appeal to the masses, but a premium loyalty program is intended to appeal to your most loyal customers. Your experience should show clear and unique value in the benefits your program has to offer. At times, that’s easier said than done.

A successful value proposition takes time to build upon and elaborate on to appeal to the right audience for your program. It needs to continue to evolve with your program over time with data behind it to prove you’re on the right path (or you’re not!).

Leveraging the data you’ve collected from member (and non-member) interactions can be extremely valuable for the success of a premium loyalty program. It’s important to understand how your members are using your program and to understand what’s holding prospective members back from signing up for your program.

Continuously testing into a refreshed and more relevant experience that appeals to your long-time members and new members (who may have hesitated the last time they landed on your sign-up page) proves you believe in the value your program has to offer. More importantly, you understand that your program needs to keep up with modern retail.


Optimization Way of Life

Optimization is a thought process that can be powerful when paired with data and creative problem-solving. The life-cycle of a premium loyalty program depends on optimization.

Once the program launches, the hardest challenges are ahead of you. Is your program resonating with your most loyal customers? Do they understand the value? Is it performing how you expected? The solution to just about every obstacle is continuous testing.

Premium loyalty programs take a little more elbow grease in terms of maintaining your members expectations of value and showing value in your benefits that make the barrier to entry worth it.

You’re expecting your most loyal customers to pay for your program benefits. It’s essential that each existing and prospective member understands your value prop and will be able to easily reap the benefits of your program.

That takes optimization teams time to perfect. And quite frankly, in the opinion of an optimization nerd like me, nothing is ever optimized to perfection.

There’s always room for improvement.

The optimization business is booming. There are many consulting companies that “just” optimize for businesses. It’s an essential part of business but is at times undervalued. Not every test is going to result in a win and it’s an involved, time consuming process.

Unlike free loyalty programs, premium loyalty programs take time and dedication way beyond program launch. That’s why Clarus has an in-house optimization team dedicated to testing, optimizing and evolving successful premium loyalty programs.

Not just premium loyalty program optimization, but optimization of everything we do, has become our way of life. The lessons learned along the way are priceless.


Kaizen State of Mind

“Kaizen” is the Japanese word for improvement referring to activities that continuously improve something. Continuous testing is one of those essential activities that can contribute to continuously improving your loyalty program.

Free programs don’t have the same need for continuous improvement as premium loyalty programs do. While every program is worth continuing to improve, there is less risk for members to stay a member of a free program that hasn’t evolved over time versus continuing to pay to be a member of a stale paid program.

Kaizen becomes a tangible benefit for your members. Visible, impactful changes in the value your program provides shows your members you care about keeping your program fresh and relevant.

The beauty of kaizen is the never-ending cycle of improvement. There’s no ceiling on how much you can improve your in-store experience, your acquisition and active member experiences or how you communicate with your members.

When you’ve optimized your experience, the next step of the cycle is turning your recent win into the standard and finding the next big win all over again. It’s a continuous challenge that can reap continuous reward with the right information and plan of action in place.


Keep It Fresh with Premium Loyalty Program Optimization

Always delivering an experience that’s updated and unique (and proven to work!) is a recipe to keep your most loyal members engaged. Continuously optimizing your experience proves your dedication to your program without having to put it in words to your members.

The power in showing value in your premium loyalty program the right way and to the right audience fuels your optimization engine. Finding performance wins makes time and resources put into optimization all worth it.

Maintain a Kaizen state of mind to keep your experience top notch. Premium members are expecting nothing but the best from your program. It’s essential to find new ways to give them your best while keeping up with modern retail.

When’s the last time you dusted off your member experience and evaluated how you’re showing unique value in your premium loyalty program?

Danielle Perez

Danielle is the Director of Marketing at ebbo. When she’s not heads down finding new ways to get us in front of companies that love loyal customers, she’s enjoying time with her husband, kids, and dogs. Her favorite non-work activities include cooking, coffee, fast cars, hiking, biking, and anything you can do outside.

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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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