eCommerce Insiders

3 Creative Loyalty Rewards Programs That Inspire Engagement

Whether you’re just entering the world of ecommerce rewards or are looking to breathe some new life into your existing loyalty program, it’s important to understand what makes a customer loyalty program thrive.

Although driving registrations is a necessary first step, obtaining success with your rewards system goes beyond merely convincing customers to sign up.

If members find your loyalty program dull or uninspiring once they’ve registered, you won’t be able to promote sustainable engagement or increase sales. True success relies on taking something plain and making it extraordinary—tweaking the typical loyalty program formula to deliver memorable experiences and impressive rewards.

The best loyalty programs offer customer experiences that are worth sharing, make members feel appreciated, stimulate consumer feedback and involvement, and offer rewards that your customers will actually want collect. If you need a real world example to help you visualize how these objectives can be reached with creative approaches, check out the three examples of creative loyalty rewards programs below.

There is plenty of knowledge and inspiration to be gained by examining the ecommerce rewards programs that have managed to stand out from the crowd, including:

1. Plum Rewards by Indigo

Among the reasons why Indigo’s loyalty program is so appealing to consumers is that it allows shoppers to collect points through a number of different avenues and doesn’t prevent customer from transferring or pooling points. In this sense, Indigo’s Plum Rewards program is not restrictive and avoids frustrating shoppers by placing excessive limitations on how they can redeem points.

No one likes being told exactly what to do or how to spend their hard-earned rewards points, so why should your loyalty program place tight restrictions how customers can earn points or limit what they can do with them?

In addition to offering 10 plum points for every dollar spent in-store, Indigo Plum Rewards thanks online shoppers by offering a 5% discount when you buy books online. Indigo also allows consumers to collect bonus plum points both in-store and through online shopping. For some customers, the biggest perk offered by Plum Rewards may be the ability to transfer plum rewards between different loyalty program members. This means that Indigo not only rewards consumers for shopping via multiple channels—both online and in-store—but they also allow customers to spread the joy by sharing earned points with fellow shoppers.

When you think about it, this tactic is pretty straightforward, yet many ecommerce rewards programs fail to give their customers a sense of free will. Consumers enjoy freedom of choice; try to avoid placing unnecessary restrictions on the shoppers who opt into your ecommerce loyalty program and they will be more likely to enjoy the overall experience.

2. Rewards Points by Bulu Box

Although Indigo makes it easy for consumers to earn and share rewards points, Bulu takes customer engagement to a higher level while allowing consumers to collect rewards without forcing them to shell out extra cash. Loyalty programs typically reward consumers for continual spending or for making larger purchases, but Bulu is just as happy to reward customers for their time as for their money.

Rewards Points by Bulu Box not only offers a sign-up incentive to overcome the hurdle of getting customers to try out their loyalty rewards system, but the program encourages customers to complete surveys about products in exchange for rewards points that translate into real value. Each customer can earn up to 100 Rewards Points, which is equivalent to $10, each month through this method.

Bulu Box’s rewards program aligns perfectly with their product—a monthly subscription for receiving samples of various wellness and nutritional products, such as protein powder or dietary aids—in a way that a more traditional loyalty system might not. Their loyalty rewards programs is designed to garner feedback about the products sent out to customers, providing valuable insight via customer reviews, which can then be used to improve future customer experiences.

The points customers collect from writing reviews can be spent on purchasing full-sized products of their favourite samples. Rewards Points creates a win-win situation for Bulu and their loyal customers, thanks to the two-way transaction permitted by its unusual format.

The first obstacle is often getting customers to take the time to register and try out a new loyalty program; the difficult second step is retaining customer engagement. Bulu provides incentive for consumers to try their program by rewarding account registration and then keeps them actively engaged by rewarding feedback in the form of reviews and online surveys.

3. Shopper’s Optimum Reward Program

Another way to foster engagement is to reward long-term loyalty by combining a simple tiered redemption program and storewide discount events. Creating experiences that customers feel great about is a sign of an excellent loyalty program.

Shoppers Drug Mart is known for offering amazing in-store deals to members of its Shoppers Optimum Reward Program. Additionally, the multi-tiered rewards chart motivates customers to spend more money more frequently to reach the level that allows them to obtain the most savings possible.

By offering large discounts to their biggest spenders, Shoppers demonstrates their gratitude for and appreciation of their most loyal customers. Although customers must collect a minimum of 8,000 points before they can redeem anything, Shoppers sets various spending thresholds with increased savings potential that encourages the long-term loyalty necessary to reach a higher rewards bracket.

By the time customers have accumulated an ambitious 95,000 points, they can save $170 on products of their choice. These discounts are prolific, applying to almost 100% of Shoppers’ merchandise and resulting in free products once points have accumulated.

Although customers are welcome to spend their points whenever they want as long as they’ve reached a certain spending threshold, consumers with the most patience and financial savvy choose to wait for one of the frequent Shoppers Optimum events that promise exponential savings. Shoppers Drug Mart works to keep things interesting for Optimum members by offering several benefits during their rewards-based events, including:

  • Multiplying accumulated points by 10, 15, or 20. Allowing consumers to multiply their rewards and their savings for a limited time injects a sense of urgency and excitement into the events.
  • Extra points boost that contributes to future savings.
  • Special points bonuses on selected products. This is designed to drive sales on a specific item by offering a greater incentive to buy it.

Nearly every purchase made at a Shoppers Drug Mart can contribute to a member’s Optimum Points—so not only do these events fuel shopping sprees that bring customers into the store, it strongly reinforces the notion that spending today equates to saving money down the road.

Although Shoppers Drug Mart does not currently offer online shopping, consumers are able to shop online at Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart, where they can collect Optimum points that can be used to make in-store purchases. Additionally, Shoppers makes a social statement by allowing customers to give back to the community by donating their points to a participating charity of their choice.

Some Final Thoughts

Whether you’re designing a new rewards system or improving upon an existing loyalty program, remember that an ecommerce rewards system is as much a demonstration of gratitude for your consumer as it is a marketing tool for your brand.

As you search for more inventive ways to reward your shoppers, you shouldn’t lose sight of their needs and desires in your efforts to be original. You can incorporate creativity by expanding the ways you reward customers or allow them to use or redeem points, but make sure that creativity doesn’t close any doors by restricting consumers from reaching tangible goals.

Steve Deckert has been involved in the eCommerce community since 2007. In 2009 he helped to envision and develop Sweet Tooth. Steve has helped over 3,500 merchants reward over 15 million customers, improve their customer experience, develop their customer loyalty, and increase long term profitability. Find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, & Google Plus

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