Every brand wants greater customer loyalty, and many have built rewards programs with that goal in mind. Most rewards programs offer a monetary incentive—loyalty points that add up to a discount or a gift card.
But what if that isn’t your brand’s thing?
No sweat—here are four ways that you can create customer loyalty that sticks without offering a cash incentive.
01 Optimize Your Program for Ease
First, streamline your loyalty program. According to research by Shopify, about a third of consumers are more likely to abandon a loyalty program if it lacks a seamless, multi-channel experience. Give your rewards program sign-up a refresh. For example, consider eliminating unnecessary steps. In addition, make sure your sign-up is mobile-friendly.
Second, consider targeting “consumer tribes” (such as students, teachers, and the military) that align with your brand. Incentivize them to sign up with a gated, personalized offer. When you provide a personalized offer to consumer tribes, you recognize core aspects of their identity.
Research shows these kinds of personalized offers have an emotional appeal and motivate purchase behavior and social sharing within the consumer’s community. For example:
- 54% of consumers who receive an offer feel rewarded.
- 82% are more likely to shop with a brand that provides a personalized offer.
- 91% would share the offer with friends and family.
Customer Highlight: Dickies. The number one manufacturer of work apparel worldwide offers free shipping and VIP Customer Care for its business members.
02 Add Value That Your Customers Care About
If discounts really aren’t your thing, find other ways to add extra value to your brand’s loyalty program. The travel industry does this all the time. As an example, airlines reward customer loyalty by offering club members access to special lounges or free WiFi on flights.
The added value could be small and simple. A free gift with purchase is a good place to start. It could be something related to your industry or product, like a demo or an educational experience. In addition, you could offer exclusive access to a sister company or a special event.
Customer Highlight: Spotify. The music streaming giant includes complimentary access to SHOWTIME and Hulu to Student Members.
03 Build Customer Loyalty by Leveraging Exclusivity
Who doesn’t love exclusive access and perks? Offering premiere access is a great way to earn customer loyalty. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by SheerID, 57% of military members would prefer a loyalty program that offered VIP experiences. So, give your buyers the first look at a new line of products. Invite rewards members to an exclusive meet-and-greet with designers and influencers in your industry. Even a priority checkout line in-store will earn you major loyalty—er, brownie points.
Customer Highlight: PGA. The golf membership organization offers military members exclusive ticket sales and VIP access during some events through their outreach program “Birdies for the Brave”.
04 Earn Customer Loyalty Through Deep Personalization
Create even more personalized marketing for members of your loyalty program. To start, create curated shopping lists based on past buying habits. In addition, offer special promotions and sneak peeks into upcoming product launches. Finally, give them first dibs on opportunities to earn more rewards.
Customer Highlight: Lowe’s. Once military members sign up for the MyLowe’s rewards program, the home improvement retailer nurtures them with personalized recommendations based on past shopping behaviors. In addition, Lowe’s offers members free seasonal gifts, such as a bag of Kingsford Charcoal (see tip 2 above).
Earning customer loyalty doesn’t mean you have to slash your prices. In fact, building in extra perks to your rewards program is just as attractive. And with the added layer of a personalized offer for a specific consumer group? Even better.