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Transforming The Customer Experience

5 Brands Crushing the Customer Rewards Game

Posted May 14, 2019 8:00:00 AM

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Many companies want to have a customer loyalty program, but aren’t sure where to start. What are you supposed to offer? How can you launch a program without a large budget for infrastructure? What do customers really want?

The best way to develop your program is to learn from the best.

Check out these five loyalty marketing examples so you can see what brands are doing right and how you can replicate their success.  

Sephora

Sephora already has a cult following amongst people who love makeup and other beauty products, but they continue to win over their existing fanbase and win over new customers with their Beauty Insider Program.

The program boasts more than 17 million members making up 80% of the company’s total sales.

What is its secret? Change and growth. Every few months, Sephora updates its customer loyalty program with new products, new brands, and new rewards. Its birthday month gifts are especially popular, where customers can choose a special item based on their seasonal promotions. You never know what Sephora is going to offer next.

Panera

Panera balances its reward program between marketing and customer loyalty. On one hand, customers can tailor their rewards to what they want. Maybe they want to work toward free pastries and treat themselves or want a free lunch to save money.

The company lets people decide what they want.

On the other hand, Panera will occasionally use its rewards to market special promotions or seasonal foods. For example, when it started rolling out delivery, it gave loyal customers delivery rewards. Customers who might not have used the delivery model (or known about it) gave it a try because of the reward. This is one of the top loyalty marketing examples of using a rewards program to market items.    

REI

Some people love store memberships, while others hate the idea of paying to give their business to a store. However, there is one membership that has been almost universally lauded for its value: REI.

For $20, members receive a lifetime membership to REI, which includes 10% off of most items, free shipping on orders over $50, exclusive offers, and the ability to vote on the company's board of directors.

REI built its loyalty program with the goal of connecting with outdoor enthusiasts. While it is successful in keeping customers coming back, the loyalty program focuses on value and getting outdoors rather than how much customers need to spend before they get rewarded.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble also has a membership-based loyalty program, where customers pay for a membership and then receive loyalty benefits throughout the year. This is not unlike Amazon Prime in that you don’t need to be a member to make a purchase, but highly loyal customers will sign up.

This loyalty program is effective because it is tailored to a niche audience.

Members receive 40% off hardcover bestsellers (10% off other books) and receive free one to three day shipping. Most books are printed in hardcover before they debut in paperback, and Barnes & Noble knows that most die-hard readers will be chomping at the bit to read the latest book by their favorite author. For these readers, the program is a great deal. They can have a new book in their hands within a few days while saving money.  

Lyft

Lyft has an uphill battle against Uber. It is younger, smaller, and playing catch-up against this popular ride-sharing giant. This means it needs to develop loyalty tools to lure customers away from its competition. It makes the list of top loyalty marketing examples because of how it keeps people loyal and lures drivers and riders from its competitors.

Lyft often offers driving bonuses to drivers for picking up a certain number of rides. If you’re trying to reach a benchmark on Lyft, you’re less likely to pick up rides from Uber.

On the passenger side, five-star passengers receive discounts thanking them for being a top rider. This creates positive experiences for both drivers and riders.  

Give Customers What They Want

These loyalty marketing examples offer great inspiration if you want to develop a rewards program that draws in customers and keeps them interested in your brand. To get more ideas about how you can woo and wow customers, check out our post on the 10 Customer Experience Trends You Need to Know.