Customer loyalty is a powerful force in the world of ecommerce. Although at times it may appear elusive, brand loyalty can be carefully built through a number of initiatives, including loyalty programs. If you don’t already have a loyalty program in place for your ecommerce company, you’re not only stunting your business growth but also depriving your customers of potential rewards.
The relationships established through the use of loyalty programs are not only good for your company, but also for your consumers. It’s valuable to understand your customers who are most likely to benefit from a new or existing loyalty program, and you might be surprised to learn that it’s not just your biggest fans who can reap the rewards of a fair and meaningful loyalty program. Keep reading to learn about the 5 types of ecommerce customers who benefit from loyalty programs.
You might assume that customers who are extremely brand loyal don’t need loyalty programs to keep them interested in your product or service. In addition to being reliable customers, these ‘superfans’ are often adamant brand advocates and may even feel that your brand is a part of their identity. Brand superfans are not likely to switch to your competitors unless they have an extremely negative experience to make them question their loyalty entirely.
Although they wouldn’t choose to shop anywhere else, a loyalty program can serve to strengthen their satisfaction level and sense of brand loyalty. By offering rewards or extrinsic value for continuing to choose your brand over the competition, you are securing the love your superfans feel for your brand and increasing their connection with and gratitude for your company. Loyalty programs that offer real value may also act as a means to convert brand conscious buyers into superfans or vocal brand advocates.
Like the superfan, the industry regular was already planning to buy the products offered by your company. But unlike the superfan, the industry regular has little to no established brand loyalty. The advent of ecommerce allows consumers to easily compare and review any number of similar products online before choosing whether or not to spend their hard-earned cash on yours. A loyalty program with great feedback can garner online publicity, positive customer reviews, and boost your brand image online—making your brand more appealing to potential long-term customers.
People like to be rewarded for something they were planning to do anyways, and industry regulars will perceive a loyalty program as a welcome bonus that contributes to a positive customer experience. Whether you are a B2B supplier or serving a niche industry, those customers who are frequent industry shoppers will benefit immensely from a loyalty program by making multiple purchases and earning rewards quickly.
If a consumer tends to prefer a certain class of brands to another—for instance, they always shop for high-end products rather than middle-of-the-road alternatives—they can benefit from loyalty rewards programs almost as much as a superfan. The brand conscious buyer does not necessarily spend money often, but they do hold their purchases to certain standards. Once you appease a brand conscious buyer with a positive experience and worthwhile loyalty program, there is a high likelihood they will maintain allegiance to your brand in the future—as long as your product lives up to their expectations.
The moral of this story: your consumers don’t all need to be superfans or industry regulars to enjoy the benefits of your loyalty rewards program.
From the perspective of a consumer who is not particularly brand conscious, a robust loyalty program is a great incentive to choose your company over a competitor. When a customer lacks brand awareness and loyalty, there is no real obstacle preventing them from selecting your brand versus another with similar price points. However, a loyalty program promises certain benefits that would otherwise be absent from the transaction and can win you business from a consumer who would normally select a brand at random or postpone their purchase all together.
A loyalty program that offers value for signing up or for an initial purchase helps build loyalty with consumers who would otherwise spend too long deciding between products or brands.
The ecommerce consumer that is often forgotten when companies design a loyalty program is the infrequent purchaser. Someone who doesn’t shop regularly from your company or even your industry can still benefit from an ongoing loyalty program—that is, as long as points don’t expire. Once they’ve committed to your loyalty program, consumers can still enjoy the benefits without frequent purchases as long as they demonstrate brand loyalty on a long-term basis.
A loyalty program secures ongoing business from a variety of different consumer types. Although it may seem burdensome to tailor your loyalty program to someone who only provides business once in a while, the infrequent purchaser is likely to fondly remember your brand the next time around if their initial shopping experience goes well.
Remember that there are multiple types of consumers who can potentially find value in a well-designed loyalty program, so don’t create a loyalty program under the assumption that only your biggest fans and brand advocates will partake. Depending on how niche your product or services are, you should aim to create a system that fairly rewards a variety of potential customers in order to establish a sense of brand loyalty among different demographics and consumer types.