There’s a reason why 95% of retailers have discussed launching a premium loyalty program in 2021.
While Amazon started this trend with Prime back in 2005, many other retailers have jumped onboard, most recently Urban Outfitters and Best Buy.
In a premium loyalty program, your customers can opt-in to enhanced benefits and exclusive experiences in exchange for a membership fee.
Our 2021 Loyalty Industry Data Study reveals that retailers consider premium loyalty members 4x as valuable as non-members.
Premium Loyalty Members are Your Best Customers
A premium loyalty program identifies your best customers and makes them exponentially more valuable. They’re more than willing to pay an annual membership fee for expanded and instant benefits.
They’re your best customers because they engage with your brand the most. And they engage with you more often than other customers because they have more brand affinity.
Having access to the instant benefits gives them an incentive to engage more often. That’s why these programs make your members more valuable.
Your brand receives key data on your best customers and enjoys increased engagement, order frequency, and AOV. This data can be used to enhance the program over time, which leads to increased engagement and brand advocacy.
While the membership fees provide an incremental revenue stream, according to McKinsey, paying members can be worth several times more than non-paying members, even setting aside revenue from membership fees themselves.
McKinsey says that premium loyalty members are:
- 62% more likely to spend with your brand
- 60% more likely to spend more on your brand versus 30% with a free program
- 43% more likely to shop weekly
Learn more about treating your best customers to a premium loyalty experience.
Premium Loyalty Members are Brand Advocates
Your premium loyalty members aren’t more valuable only because of the annual fee they pay to join the program, but because of the increased engagement and spend with your brand, the elevated advocacy to family and friends, and a strong emotional connection.
Nearly 90% of premium loyalty members would recommend a retailer to family or friends if the retailer’s premium loyalty program offers valuable benefits.
Also, 88% of premium loyalty members are likely to choose a retailer whose premium loyalty program they belong to over a competitor that is offering a lower price.
As a result, the paradigm that exists between brands with premium loyalty programs and their members creates greater loyalty and trust.
A premium loyalty program builds strong emotional bonds between members and brands, and those members tell everyone they can about the unique experience they receive.
Because of these powerful emotional connections, your brand builds a tight-knit community that represents you wherever they go.
Beyond the engagement and financial benefits you receive from these members, their value goes beyond your program.
Member relationships in a premium loyalty program are so strong that your brand is always top of mind and they are true brand advocates who are walking advertisements.
The intangible value of premium loyalty members is significant.
Premium Loyalty Programs and Free Programs Can Work Together
By no means should you get rid of your free loyalty program.
Not at all.
Free and premium programs can co-exist in harmony.
Consider that 67% of consumers are likely to join a premium loyalty program if they already belong to that retailer’s free loyalty program.
By offering free and premium tiers, you cover most of your customer base which allows members to choose the type of relationship they want with your brand.
Either way, your brand stays top of mind. This makes it easier to move customers toward the premium tier.
Traditional points programs are a great acquisition tool, but premium loyalty programs are a great retention tool.
More than half (52%) of consumers who don’t belong to a premium program already belong to a free program. That’s a significant group of loyal customers to recruit for premium programs in the future.
Best Buy has a free loyalty program called My Best Buy, where members earn points for every dollar they spend on eligible purchases. It also recently launched a new Beta premium loyalty program called Best Buy Beta.
Premium Loyalty Makes It Easier for Retailers
By raising their hands to pay an annual fee to join a premium loyalty program, your best customers are saying they value your brand enough to invest in the best possible experience.
These members engage more frequently, spend more, and advocate for your brand.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers say their loyalty is more difficult for retailers to maintain than ever before.
This makes it harder on retailers to deeply connect with customers and drive repeat value. Premium loyalty programs can make this much easier.