The cat's out of the bag when it comes to the benefits of customer loyalty. According to a study done by Accenture, the average US household is enrolled in 19 to 29 different rewards programs, and actively uses just 5 of them. Just think about the number of programs you probably belong to yourself. How many times did you give up your email address for a one time 15% off? For most of us, the answer is high enough that our inboxes are filled with promotions from businesses. From a consumer perspective, it’s great to see businesses on board with rewarding customers. However, it also means its harder than ever for businesses to stand out.
Now that simple customer rewards programs have become table stakes in the ecommerce space, simply offering points for purchases is no longer a surefire competitive advantage. The only way to respond to this change is to innovate and to build on to what everyone else is doing to create something that really makes you stand out.
We studied the innovations that are helping the best companies stay ahead of their competition and compiled a few examples, best practices, and a tips along the way to help you achieve your business's goals.
Special Day Rewards
Knowing your customer is crucially important in ecommerce. One of the best ways to retain customers is to show them that you are aware of what they want and that you are tailoring their shopping experience to their needs. Customers give insights into their likes and dislikes with every click. It’s up to businesses to utilize this data to give the customers a better experience. One great way to put this data to work is through rewards.
Merchants should look to reward shoppers on days where they are most likely to buy. Birthdays and Holidays are great examples of high buying probability days. Merchants should encourage buying by offering incentives to shoppers during and around these special days. Not only does this help sales, but it improves the customer's view of the business. Customer perception is incredibly important, but many business struggle to differentiate themselves because they don’t do the little things. Free shipping during the holiday season or an influx of rewards points on a birthday can be important steps to improving your customer/business relationship.
Social Media Referrals
Our phones have become an essential part of our lives, in fact according to a 2017 report, the average adult over the age of 18 spends almost 3 hours on their phones every day. Many predict that number to continue to grow as our smart phones get smarter and more capable. For marketer, that should be a huge sign with OPPORTUNITY written across in bold letters.
Loyalty marketers have began using social media to their advantage by leveraging shoppers’ expansive networks. Consider this, in a few clicks one happy customer can share your product with thousands of followers and friends, showing your product to a completely new audience with likely interests as your satisfied customer. And the best part is that it can come at very little cost, which can be pivotal as ecommerce customer acquisition cost continue to skyrocket.
During our experience working with merchants, we found that customers tend to respond well to rewards in exchange for likes, follows, and shares on social media. If you believe your customers are satisfied with their shopping experience, you should give them a chance to show it. Simple things like a share on Facebook, can help boost brand awareness, and even sales in the long term.
Can easily split your customers into groups? Do you have a strong customer base but also a desire to increase customer participation? Then your store might benefit from implementing a tiered rewards system, tiered rewards systems help merchants reward their most loyal customer while also encouraging participation.
These systems tend are ideal for merchants who cater to distinct consumer groups. For example, many stores have customers that are fiercely loyal
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to tiered systems. Companies are developing more and more interesting ways to use their tiered systems as consumer needs evolve. Tiered systems are one of our favorite innovations due to their versatility and undeniable effectiveness. Here’s a list of some popular strategies for merchants using tiered systems.
Free Giveaway for Top Tier Customers
In all honesty, nothing makes customers feel more appreciated than free stuff. Merchants should consider sending complementary product to loyal customers. There are also benefits from the merchant’s perspective.
Giveaways give customers an opportunity to try product that they may not have bought previously. This way, merchants can create some excitement around undervalued products or introduce a new product in a big way.
Now, before you start thinking about costs, think about what a gift could mean to you customers. A simple gift can go a long way and make a lasting impact on your customers. In this case, it’s really the thought that counts.
Make it Exclusive and Personal
Tiered systems can be a great way to make devoted customers feel apart of an exclusive club; merchants can enhance this feeling of exclusivity by offering a special way for customers to acknowledge their status with your business. For example, let’s take a look at one of the world’s best crafted rewards platforms, Starbucks Rewards.
Starbucks does a great job of knowing its customer. So, when the company launched its rewards platform in 2009, executives made sure to make their most loyal customer feel special. They did this by offering a personalized Gold Card to top tier members. The card is engraved with the customers name and arrives at each address with a nice letter of congratulations. The result? Thousands of Starbucks fanatics gushing over their new cards and the benefits that came with it, YouTube card unboxing videos allowing the less fortunate of us peek into what could be, an overwhelming feeling of exclusively for lucky members, and a little more incentive to get a morning coffee.
Access to New Products
Another excellent way to increase the customer’s feelings of exclusivity is (unsurprisingly) to provide them with something exclusive. In our online marketplace today, we see plenty examples of stores providing special access to loyal customers. For example, renown American retailer , J Crew, rewards its card holding customers by giving them access to products before they are available for general purchasing.
Some companies take exclusive access to an entirely different level by offering customers access to new entirely product suites. Take Amazon for example, its Amazon Prime offering comes with a access to hundreds Amazon movies and TV shows. The internet giant used its rewards program to extend its influence into another corner of your technology based lives. It’s a pretty innovative way to reward customers.