What does it mean to be loyal?
If you Google loyalty, you’ll get a mix of definitions. They include articles about customer retention and, of course, Kenny Duckworth’s song, “LOYALTY”.
To be loyal is to show firm and constant support to a person or institution. We’re loyal to people and entities because they return that loyalty back to us. They align with us. Loyalty is a two-way street. What it doesn’t mean is expecting someone to stick around you without reciprocating.
Relationships between brands and customers aren’t any different. Traditional loyalty programs force customers to give and give and give before they get something from the retailer. That’s not loyalty. That’s not being aligned. Traditional loyalty simply trains customers to go to whoever has the lowest price.
Premium loyalty is the opposite. It’s about brands and customers committing to each other from the start. It’s about brands aligning with their customers and giving upfront.
If a retailer wants a customer to remain loyal to it, its loyalty program must offer added value upfront right from the start.
How Technology has Raised Consumer Expectations
When you want to listen to your favorite jam, what do you do?
Do you go to the store and buy a CD? (Are CDs even a thing anymore?)
Nope. You simply log into Spotify and stream it. It’s the same with picking a movie on Netflix. Think of the companies that offer you services that are instant. How often do you engage with those brands?
If instant gratification is the expectation now, why should loyalty programs be any different?
The younger generations (such as mine) subconsciously strive for instant gratification and the saving of time. That means that the customers of today (and tomorrow) don’t want to wait around. They don’t want to have to spend to accumulate points.
Why make them wait for coupons to shop?
The beauty of premium loyalty is that these programs allow members to enjoy those benefits immediately. That’s the beauty of Amazon Prime. Members don’t have to wait to get free shipping. They can engage with the program right away.
But it doesn’t end at the beginning. Your customers should be able to use these benefits whenever they want to.
Loyalty Programs Don’t Get Days Off
When consumers are given benefits to save money, are treated exceptionally and receive a more personal experience, it brings more pleasure to his or her shopping journey.
As consumers, we shop no matter what. If that shopping experience starts with a red carpet and ends with white glove service, then you can bet we’d be motivated to come back for that experience, especially since we’re already paying for it.
To keep your customers coming back, be there for them with great value and provide it 24/7/365.
Lids does a great job of this. With its Access Pass Premium loyalty program, members get 20% off all hat purchases for a $5 annual membership fee. Once a customer is a member of that program, why would they go anywhere else to buy a hat?
Premium loyalty programs attract your top-tier customers. These are the people that are willing to pay for a program that adds a lot of value to their lives. Therefore, they are more committed to a brand and therefore engage more regularly.
Take RH Grey Card Members as an example. The members of Restoration Hardware receive 25% savings at RH, 10% off on sales items, and early access to clearance events just to name a few. And these benefits are available to them, you guessed it, 24/7/365.
And for Restoration Hardware, the results from the RH Grey Card premium loyalty program have been transformational.
These instant, high-value benefits all stem from one thing – listening to your customers.
Compulsively Obsess Over Your Customers
Obsess over your customers like your business depends on it (because it does).
Back in the day, it was the Age of the Retailer. As information has become so accessible and supply is just about unlimited, it is now clearly the Age of the Consumer. Obsess over them.
Remember that premium loyalty programs cater to your top tier customers.
These are individuals who already have an affinity with your brand and want to sign up for your premium loyalty program. Obsess over these individuals because they are your most valuable customers.
The more you obsess over them, the more they obsess over your brand. They love your brand and will spend more for special treatment.
You Get What You Give
To earn the loyalty of your customers, you must show your loyalty to them.
Give these high-quality customers a reason to stay with a unique premium loyalty program. Let them experience the value immediately when they sign up
In this instant world, don’t make them wait for discounts, coupons, promotions, and points. The more you make them wait, the quicker they’ll find a competitor with a temporarily better deal.
A premium loyalty program helps your company adapt to the fast-paced environment of the consumer by rewarding them and engaging with them all the time.