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5 Best Practices to Improve Loyalty Program Performance


5 Best Practices to Improve Loyalty Program Performance

 Do any of these statements apply to you?
  1. I created a loyalty program and want to make it better.
  2. I am planning on implementing a loyalty program but am unsure how to start.
  3. I could benefit from a few best practices to maximize customer retention from some high-growth ecommerce businesses.

If you agree with any of these statements, or just enjoy helpful articles, continue reading. In this post, we analyze some key strategies used by high-performing ecommerce businesses in their loyalty programs to find a concrete recipe for success.

1. Focus on a beautiful, brand-consistent design.

39% of American consumers would leave an ecommerce store in favor of a competitor and never return after a "poor" user experience. This makes a well crafted loyalty program page crucial to maintaining lasting and valuable customer relationships. Ecommerce merchants need to carefully plan out their program’s design down to the specific colors, fonts, pictures/videos, and placement of their signup button to optimize the user experience. The design should be both consistent with the rest of the website and visually aesthetic to viewers.

FIGS, which sells premium scrubs, lab coats and medical apparel, hosts an extremely well-designed loyalty program. Let’s take a closer look.

FIGS company

FIGS’ website homepage introduces visitors to their brand with a simple design. They use a grey and black color scheme and feature four women wearing their products. If visitors want to access the company’s referral program, they can click the “get 20% off” tab located in the top right corner (highlighted in red). The tab is prominently displayed and will take consumers right to the referral page.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 2.18.57 PM.png

The referral page itself is both eye-catching and on-brand. FIGS uses the same fonts, color scheme, and imagery to make their loyalty program feel integrated into their website. The page has easy navigation and allows users to “sign in” or “create an account” to start the process.

FIGS’ appealing, brand-consistent design serves a very important purpose: it makes consumers trust them. 46% of website visitors say that the design is the #1 reason for establishing credibility. So, if they already trust the FIGS’ brand and then stumble upon their on-brand loyalty program, they will be motivated to join and participate. This trust drives conversions to the loyalty program and brings along new and high-value customers.

Applying the practice to your store:

As most customers quickly browse websites and will only stay on your page for a short time, make sure that your loyalty program is prominently displayed. If it’s hard to find, customers won’t notice it and won’t be enticed to interact with the program and make return purchases. Once on your loyalty page, a visually aesthetic and brand-consistent design will keep your visitors engaged, leading to more conversions.

2. Create engaging messaging. 

While visitors will appreciate a beautiful design, they will be more impacted by the messaging of your program. Since the average attention span is between 4 and 10 seconds, it’s vital to keep your visitors engaged with the right words. You can capture shoppers’ attention with well-crafted messaging in many parts of your loyalty program: it’s catchy name, introductory text, program description, and signup button.

A helpful study by Blue Fountain Media offers some advice on creating engaging text. Focus on a central message that establishes your value proposition in just a few sentences. As people are distracted easily, state only relevant and important information. Try to avoid using huge blocks of text and clutter that distracts from your main message.

Kopari Beauty, which sells coconut based oil products, applies many of Blue Fountain Media’s suggestions.

They begin with the heading “Take your obsession to the next level”, which targets visitors that enjoy Kopari’s products. But let’s get to the important part--their name. Unlike a general “Rewards” title, Kopari uses a personalized, catchy name (“Kopari Clique”) to create a culture-centric appeal to their viewers. There’s also an element of exclusivity. People want to be part of exclusive groups like a “clique” because it makes them feel special and a part of a secret program. The program’s description is concise and establishes the main message: “earn points and cash them towards any purchase.” Finally, Kopari uses a strongly-worded CTA: “Join the Clique.” The combination of a catchy name, a strong introduction and description, and a well-worded CTA will lead to increased signups.

Applying the practice to your store:

Create clear messaging that keeps the reader on your page. You can do this by keeping your text short and focused on the central message of your loyalty program. Give your program a unique name that fits with your brand. If you are interested in testing different messaging for optimal performance, try A/B testing. These little tweaks in your messaging can go a long way.


3. Host multiple campaigns. 

Campaigns are the backbone of your loyalty program. They can be any action that you deem rewardable for your customers. Popular campaigns fall into five categories.

  • On-site (creating an account, reading a blog post, birthday points)
  • Purchases (points for purchases, goal spending, punch card)
  • Feedback (product reviews, taking a survey)
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Referral (referring friends)

Generally, we recommend using at least five campaigns to create a well-rounded loyalty program. These campaigns can be spread out under any of the above categories. A great example of using multiple campaigns is SandCloud, a retailer of hand woven Turkish towels.

SandCloud uses four of the categories to create five effective campaigns. They have a few options for engagement: Website (200 points on your birthday), Social Media (25 points for sharing on Facebook, 50 points for following on Instagram), Purchases (10 points for each $1 spent at the store), and Referrals (500 points for referring a friend). These campaigns reach SandCloud’s audience across multiple channels and reward users for a variety of actions.

Applying the practice to your store:

While 5 campaigns is an effective amount for most ecommerce businesses, the optimal number for your store will depend on your marketing goals.  If you want to increase social media activity, add more social campaigns. If you want more feedback, add a product reviews campaign. Decide on your goals and then start implementing campaigns!

4. Get creative.

We know that brand-consistency and an overall positive user experience matter. A program with brand-specific campaigns can help augment a user experience that is uniquely yours. A beauty brand may want to incentivize shoppers to take a quiz that reveals the ideal skincare regimen, while an activewear brand may want to incentivize their best customers to send in photos of themselves working out in their gear. 

Swell merchants that subscribe to our gold, platinum or enterprise tiers have full access to Swell’s API to create custom loyalty programs that go above and beyond. What’s more, enterprise clients have development hours with our team to help create the most effective program.

Check out Kids Shoes, an ecommerce store which gained 5x ROI in 3 months, and their custom loyalty program.

kids shoes.pngAt Kids Shoes, customers engage in their loyalty program to earn KidDollars which they can then spend back on the website. Customers can earn KidDollars in a variety of ways--signing up for an account, referring a friend, and interacting on social media. However, with Kids Shoes custom actions, customers have the option for another possibility: earning points for “sizing” their kid up on the website. This simple, yet unique feature helps Kids Shoes reach out and best engage their audience.

Applying the practice to your store:

Get creative! For our gold and platinum clients, feel free to use our API to include your own custom actions. By doing so, you can create more on-brand designs (Best Practice 1) and make your program more unique. For our enterprise clients, talk to us about your free developmental hours.


5. Attract new traffic with a referral program. 

Referral programs are a great way to effectively use your existing customers to reach new ones. These initiatives often see high ROI because they incentivize customers to encourage their friends to buy products in exchange for discounts or store credit for themselves.

Take a look at some facts below.

  • 70% of U.S. consumers say they trust brand and product recommendations from friends and family (Forrester Research)
  • People are 4x more likely to buy when recommended by a friend (Nielsen)
  • The LifeTime Value of a new referral customer is 16% higher (Wharton School of Business)

It’s clear that referrals have a lot of power when it comes to purchasing. So how can you incentivize referrals? Let’s utilize UNTUCKit's page as an example of a successful referral program.


UNTUCKit, a retailer of casual men’s shirts, designed a simple, yet powerful referral program. They offer customers a $25 discount if they refer a friend who makes a purchase themselves. For example, if Customer A motivates Customer B to purchase a product, then Customer A receives a $25 discount on their next purchase. Since UNTUCKit’s shirts sell for at least $60, this practice becomes very successful.

Applying the practice to your store:

Create a referral program and reward your customers for passing along your store to their friends. You can easily give your users a unique link to share on social media or email. In exchange for their help, you can give them points, discounts, or store credit. Not only will you be engaging your current customers, but you will attract new ones.

Hopefully, these best practices from successful ecommerce programs will inspire you to create or strengthen your loyalty program. Before we finish, let’s recap the five best practices to apply to your loyalty program.


1. Focus on a beautiful, brand-consistent design

2. Create engaging messaging.

3. Host multiple campaigns.

4. Get creative.

5. Attract new visitors with a referral program.


As always, we would love to hear your company’s best practices for your loyalty program. 

Noam Kahn

Noam Kahn

Content Creator at Swell


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