Once upon a time, loyalty programs use to be all about collecting information on customers so companies could market to them better.
Thanks to the proliferation of digital analytics, companies now have much easier access to audience information, and the primary purpose of loyalty programs has changed: It's all about getting customers to fall in love with your brand so they'll stick with you and buy more. Here are some brands that do just that.
Whether it's a small knitting business, dropshipping t-shirts, or Amazon Prime, loyalty programs give companies an edge over competitors, build a relationship with customers, and motivate consumers to spend more.
If you need some customer loyalty program ideas, inspiration, or just want to find a good program to join, this list is for you!
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Clothing and apparel could be one of the most competitive direct-to-consumer industries in eCommerce. Because of all the other companies vying for customers' dollars in almost every niche, a great rewards program keeps people buying from you when there are so many alternatives.
Michael Kors: KORSVIP
Michael Kors' eponymous premium fashion brand has been going strong since 1981. It's probably most known for its handbags, but also sells all sorts of apparel. The KORSVIP loyalty program has some cool features.
- 10 points for every dollar spent.
- Points for downloading the mobile app.
- Points for adding items to wish lists,
- Points for submitting reviews.
Customer points reset every January 1, no matter when they signed up for it during the year.
Points aren't redeemable for products or services. Instead, you get progressively more perks the more points you've earned.
You get more perks the more points you've earned, and you've got to love the fashion week inspired names of their tiers.
- Studio - Free
- Backstage - 3,000 points to qualify ($300 spent)
- Runway - 6,000 points ($600 spent)
- Red Carpet - 15,000 to qualify ($1500 spent)
Some of the more interesting perks are:
- Free in-store stylist appointments.
- In-app stylist chat that you can use in-app.
- An annual member gift.
- Birthday present.
- Mobile app gives customers access anytime.
- Style Chat, where users talk to a fashion advisor through the app to get advice.
- Like other great tiered loyalty programs, Kors offers its first tier, Studio, for free.
- People who download the KORSVIP app on their phone probably get push notifications about offers and reminders to spend more to get to the higher tiers.
- Resetting of points every year motivates members to consistently spend money to maintain their status.
- No cash back rewards.
- No redeeming points for products.
Michael Kors offers some very unique rewards that help set them apart. It tries to make members feel like they're the stars of the show, but giving them the option to redeem their points for discounts would really set them apart as haute couture.
The North Face: VIPeak
- 8 Peak Points per $1 spent on the official site and official The North Face retail stores.
- 4 Peak Points per $1 spent at The North Face retail outlets.
- Unspecified Peak Points for attending sponsored races and speaking events.
When it comes down to it, Peak Points get members dollars off their next purchase. Each tier, named to resonate with their target audience, offers a specific dollar amount off.
- Basecamp: 2,000 points
- One-time $20 off (spend $250 to get $20 off)
- Halfdome: 3,500 points
- One-time $25 off (spend $437.50 to get $25 off)
- Summit: 5,000 or more points
- $30 (spend $625 to get $30 off)
- Branding: the names and feel of the program are well branded.
- The events are parallel with the brand, appealing to the target audience.
- They have a mobile app that allows members to access their program.
- Higher tiers get less value per point. Once you finally reach Summit, customer's are only getting 0.6 cents per point.
- No good explainer page: if it's not clear right away what customers can get out of the program, then it's less likely that they'll join.
Makeup is another competitive market. But the real opportunity here is that makeup products are finite. Chances are that makeup maniacs are going to buy mascara, lipliner, and other products multiple times a year, so they want to get a little something back.
Here are some brands who have taken advantage of that to create rewards programs that build brand communities and motivate members to spend more.
Sephora: Beauty Insider
Experts often cite this one as a premiere reward program. Sephora's Beauty Insider has definitely helped them build a strong brand community. They know what rewards their customers want, and make it easy for customers to sign up for the program and redeem rewards.
Sephora Beauty Insider program uses tiers, with members graduating to higher point-earning rates the more they spend.
- Insider: free
- Earn 1 point per dollar
- VIB: Spend $350 per calendar year
- Earn 1.25 points per dollar
- Rouge: Spend $1000 per calendar year
- Earn 1.5 points per dollar
The points don't have a direct dollar translation, instead, members can redeem points on select products. The products in the Reward Bazaar don't have dollar prices, just point prices. However, the highest tier, Rouge, gives members the option to redeem their points for a purchase of up to $100.
Here's a list of the other rewards they offer across tiers.
- Birthday gift
- Tier celebration gift
- Free shipping
- Early access to products
- Exclusive events
- Trial-sized products and sets
- Know what their customers want: motivate customers to spend more with great rewards.
- Simple explainer page.
- They're easy to use online and in store with mobile device functionality. This allows members to scan their membership at brick and mortar locations.
- Ascending tiered benefits that motivate people to spend more.
- Redeem points for quality brands' products.
- Can't redeem point for discounts — only redeem them for selected products.
- Changes every year have been controversial.
- You can only use your points on specified products.
- Users on Reddit and elsewhere have criticized the limited availability of reward products.
- Analysis by some blogs have said that you get less bang for your buck compared to competitors' programs.
Ulta: Ultamate Rewards
Makeup consumers often compare Ulta's Ultamate Rewards to Sephora's Beauty Insider. Customers can easily use the program both online and in store to collect rewards. While the two programs are comparable, some experts say Ulta has the edge.
Like Sephora, Ulta uses tiers: the more you spend, the more points you earn on every dollar.
- Member free
- 1 point per 1 dollar
- Platinum spend $450 per calendar year to qualify
- 1.25 points per 1 dollar
- Diamond spend $1200 per calendar year to qualify
- 1.5 points per 1 dollar spent
Unlike Sephora, and even KORSVIP, Ulta gives a straight cash translation for its points
- 100 points = $3
- 250 points =$8
- 500 points = $17.50
- 750 points = $30
- 1000 points = $50
- 2000 points = $125
Other perks include:
- Free birthday gift (for all tiers!)
- 2x points during your birth month.
- $10 birthday coupon.
- Every day free shipping on orders over $25 (Diamond tier only)
- Customers can redeem points like cash.
- Ulta knows what customers want: deals on their makeup. That's why they can redeem points on any purchase.
- Mobile app for easy use in store and online.
- Simple explainer page.
- Not as many perks as Sephora.
- Some people say Ulta carry have premium brands.
- Doesn't feel as exclusive. Kind of intangible, but as a brand the feel and wording just doesn't live up to Sephora.
Most of us probably don't buy jewelry enough to opt into a loyalty program, but these brands know their audience well enough to cash in on their customers cravings for crystals, striving to shine brighter than the competition.
Swarovski Crystal: Be Swarovski
Swarovski really tries to give their brand a sense of exclusivity with their programs, matching the premium image they've curated for their brand.
This is their free tier which awards discounts and other "sparkling surprises."
Be Swarovski doesn't use a point system, instead they reward customers with discounts and other perks when they reach spending goals and sign up for the program.
- Spend $350 for a 20% discount voucher
- $700 for a loyalty gift voucher.
- Surprise birthday gift.
- Fashion news.
- Exclusive invitations to design previews.
- Priority access to members-only savings.
- Getting 20% off for spending $350 seems like a pretty good deal.
- True value of prizes hidden in a wordy terms and conditions document you have to save and open up. Being up front about rewards would make it easier for customers to make the decision to join.
- What is a loyalty gift voucher? Being more open about what that gift is — and if it's worth spending the $700 to get it — would help motivate customers to spend enough to get it.
- Page design looks unprofessional at times.
Swarovski's other loyalty program, Swarovski Crystal Society charges a yearly fee. We'll dive into that one another day!
People love tasting their different wines and whiskeys and liqueurs — but there's lot of competition. A great way to encourage people to keep buying and imbibing your products is by rewarding them with points and other perks that will keep them buying from you.
This New Jersey-based wine retailer has an easy-to-understand free loyalty program for its customers.
- Earn points $1 = 1 point
- 100 points = $1
The program basically gives members 1% cash back on purchases when they redeem points. But customers can also earn points through a variety of activities, like creating an account, sharing on social media, writing reviews, and referring friends.
- Easy to understand.
- Easy to redeem.
- Good explainer page
- More value for points, or giving points more value once they reach a certain amount could help customers feel more appreciated.
- Could use more perks — even just a newsletter, premium access, or exclusive tastings could make their program feel a little more exclusive.
What kind of perks and rewards do you use in your loyalty program? Let us know in the comments below.
Feeling inspired? If you want to try a rewards program on your store, try out Bold Loyalty Points for free today!
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