Nearly 70% of consumers agree that their loyalty is more difficult to maintain than ever before, according to our 2021 Premium Loyalty Data Study.
Considering that statistic, it is not surprising to see many brands leveraging loyalty programs as a competitive differentiator.
Many consumers have changed behaviors in the past 18 months as retailers attempt to revamp their loyalty programs or launch new ones to meet heightened expectations.
From a loyalty perspective, in the third quarter we saw:
- McDonald’s launch its first-ever loyalty program.
- Gap launch a new integrated loyalty rewards program that covers all four of its brands.
- Taco Bell start testing a 30-day subscription service in a 17-location pilot program in Arizona.
- David’s Bridal eclipse 500,000 members to its new loyalty program in less than seven months.
McDonald’s Launched Its First-Ever Loyalty Program
After McDonald’s piloted its first-ever loyalty program in New England, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Phoenix, it rolled out nationally in July.
It marks the company’s first loyalty program in its 66-year history. The launch comes amid company efforts to focus on technology and implementing digital menu boards and self-order kiosks across its storefronts.
The program also offers menu item suggestions and deals at order kiosks, the mobile app, and digital menu boards at the drive-thru. Members will even be referred to by name when entering the drive-thru lane.
Not only will customers be able to earn points, but McDonald’s employees can earn loyalty points by completing training tied to the loyalty program.
Members earn 100 points per dollar with every purchase and are connected through the company’s mobile app, where they are automatically enrolled. A 1,500-point reward gets you treats like a vanilla cone or hash browns, or you can save up 6,000 points for a Big Mac.
Gap Launched a New Integrated Rewards Program
Gap officials wanted to streamline its loyalty program and, at the same time, give members more opportunities to give back to their communities.
As a result, Gap launched a new integrated rewards program in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The new program simplifies and streamlines how members can earn and redeem their rewards within the company’s four brands by combining the previous credit card and loyalty programs under Navyist Rewards, Gap Good Rewards, Banana Republic Rewards, and Athleta Rewards.
The new program offers membership levels and makes it easier for both card members and rewards members to earn points, redeem them faster, and create opportunities to give back by donating to one of the company’s five charitable funds.
John Strain, Chief Customer, Digital and Technology Officer at Gap Inc., said in a company release the program goal is to “turn our customers into lifelong loyalists by reimagining our Rewards program and creating unique, personalized experiences that will make it easier to shop, earn and redeem rewards across our family of brands.”
The enhanced program allows card members to earn 5 points for every $1 spent across Gap’s family of brands and Rewards members to earn 1 point for every $1 spent.
Taco Bell Began Testing a 30-day Subscription Service
To engage loyal customers at a higher level, company officials at Taco Bell began testing a subscription-based Taco Lover’s Pass that lets users get one taco each day for 30 days.
The offer—which extends until November 24—is available exclusively through the Taco Bell app at more than a dozen stores throughout Arizona.
Prices for the Taco Lover’s Pass vary from $5 to $10, depending on the customer’s location.
The Taco Lover’s Pass offers customers seven options: Crunchy Taco, Crunchy Taco Supreme, Soft Taco, Soft Taco Supreme, Doritos Locos Tacos, Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, and Spicy Potato Soft Taco.
In early 2020 Panera Bread Co. launched an $8.99 per month unlimited coffee subscription to help increase its breakfast traffic and spark membership in its MyPanera loyalty program.
Consumers want instant gratification from a brand’s loyalty program, and they get that with Taco Bell’s new taco subscription program.
The success of subscription-based programs illustrates how consumers are willing to pay for instant benefits that provide value.
David’s Bridal Eclipsed 500,000 Loyalty Program Members in Less than Seven Months
David’s Bridal has elevated the customer loyalty stakes in the bridal industry.
Diamond, the first-ever loyalty program in the bridal industry, eclipsed 500,000 members in less than seven months since it launched in December 2020.
David’s Bridal officials created a 100% digital, real-time rewards program during a time where customers were shopping and buying online more than ever, making it simple and seamless for them to sign-up and start receiving rewards immediately.
Here is the interesting aspect of the Diamond program: A bride receives diamond points for all their guests’ purchases at David’s. So, everyone at her wedding who loves and adores her can help toward her free honeymoon.
Some of the fun facts about the Diamond program are:
- Members love the program even AFTER they are married. Favorites are benefits like the partnership with HitchSwitch, an easy-to-use name-changing service and date night dresses.
- More than 30 members have earned a free honeymoon.
- Members buy 30% more accessories than non-members.
Kelly Cook, Chief Marketing & IT Officer, David’s Bridal, talked to Clarus earlier this year about the Diamond loyalty program.
“Diamond Loyalty rewards customers and stretches their purchases farther by earning free gifts at every level and even a honeymoon,” Kelly explained. “It also engages brides with their friends and family in a new way. Diamond rewards and celebrates our brides with gifts and prizes that she can enjoy during her wedding planning and beyond.”
Retailers Are Finding How Impactful Loyalty Programs Can Be
Unlike last year where retailers were in a more reactive mode, 2021 has seen them more proactive regarding customer loyalty.
Seventy-five percent of consumers tried a new shopping habit since COVID-19 started in the U.S. in March 2020. Retailers realize that engaging and valuable loyalty programs can be a key point of differentiation among their competitors.
McDonald’s is 66 years old, but that’s not too old to launch its first-ever loyalty program.
Gap launched a new integrated rewards program in the U.S. and Puerto Rico to simplify and streamline how members can earn and redeem their rewards among the company’s four brands.
It also creates opportunities for members to give back by donating to one of the company’s five charitable funds.
Taco Bell is testing a new subscription-based service for loyal customers while David’s Bridal launched an industry-first loyalty program that is having great success in its early stages.
Consumers have spoken and retailers are responding by launching or revamping loyalty programs that are simple and offer convenience and value.