If cash is king right now, then customer loyalty is the emperor that rules us all.

We all know the rhetoric – old customers are cheaper, and easier to win over than new ones. In fact, it costs up to 5 – 15x less to retain a customer than acquire a new one.

So, if you want to spend less time convincing, and more time converting, creating a loyalty programme for your products and services is the key to your sales door. 

SOUNDS GREAT!! BUT DO THEY ACTUALLY WORK?

Programmes tend to die a rather slow and painful death if they don’t evolve to the ever-changing market needs and consumer habits. Just think of The Entertainment Book, you know, the one that your mum had all those years ago, filled with coupons to use at just about any restaurant, bar or store. Or Fly Buys, who have approximately 2.8 million Kiwis signed up, and have massively overhauled their rewards experience at an attempt to attract younger shoppers to join.

To be successful, you need to figure out what a good programme looks like for your business, personalize to match customer preferences, entrench trust amongst your existing customers (without intruding) and do it all through a sexy, slick digital experience.

Think of the commonalities between Uber, Spotify, Netflix and Apple; choice, personalization, and access. The customer is holding the power in their hands (literally) and dictating to the businesses how they want to be rewarded for spending and subscribing.  

SO YOU’VE HAD THE EPIPHANY! NOW… WHERE TO START?

To get your creative juices flowing, ask yourself these questions;

  • Are YOU currently a member of a loyalty programme?
  • Has that loyalty programme influenced your shopping decisions?
  • Do you think the loyalty programme has made you more loyal?

Have a think about what you would do or change to increase your own engagement with those products. And while you’re chewing on that, let’s take a look at some successful case studies that are truly rocking the e-commerce world:

1.      Caci Beauty Rewards

“Great results take time” is the mantra pasted across their touchpoints, so straight away you know that you’re in it for the long haul when you become a member with Caci. They’ve actually developed 4 options for people to choose from: Skin Health, Laser Hair Removal, Cosmetic Injectables and Body Shaping – each with their own special deals and offers. Not only do you get a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs, as a member of Caci you have access to benefits such as flexi payment plans, free facials, and additional discounts off other beauty treatments. Caci has successfully tapped into the pool of many people whose beauty and cosmetic treatments are an ongoing lifestyle that requires frequent maintenance – the gift that keeps on giving for both their business and customers. 

2.      Sephora Beauty Insiders Club

You can find many articles on the infamous Sephora Beauty Insiders Club, but the truth is this is probably the best loyalty scheme ever created, period. This programme has a cult following like no other and has managed to create some pretty unique and enticing offers for their 25 million strong subscribers. You earn points for every dollar spent, luxury experiences while you spend, up your status level on their tiered system, and get invited to exclusive events and parties. On top of that, if you’re more the type of person to save all your points up for something big, super shoppers can earn a beauty brand sponsored trip (but you need 35,000 points or more first!!) 

So you’re ready to implement a loyalty programme? GREAT! Keep in mind these KEY TAKEAWAYS:

MAKE IT EASY TO USE – don’t over complicate it. Make the barriers low to enter. Have a 1, 2, 3 step system to get people on board and signed up, and make it free to join!

FREQUENT PROMOTIONS – rotate and update what’s on offer regularly depending on market trends and consumer spending hot spots

DON’T CHEAPEN YOUR PRODUCTS – think of ways to incentivise people to spend without knocking huge discounts off what they’re purchasing i.e. VIP benefits and exclusive offers based on what they’re already buying off you

SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE – communication is super important! Listen to the tone of voice in customer query messages, look at how they’re shopping with you (digital or brick and mortar?), and be personal, but not creepy

GIVE THE CUSTOMER CHOICE – look at your top spenders, what are their purchasing trends, and what do you think they could benefit from? Make recommendations, but always let there be at least 3 options – customer decision making power and ownership MATTERS!

AND REMEMBER: Loyalty is not a programme. The programme is the tool that drives the outcome. Loyalty is expressed when people love a brand, when they have an affection that goes beyond dollars spent.