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Meaningful rewards for B2C loyalty programs
Many loyalty programs fall short from delivering desired results because they lack a well- planned rewards strategy. Your rewards program has to delight your customers so that they become loyalists and, hopefully, brand advocates. Customers expect rewards that reflect your business and vision, that are original, and that speak to them on a more emotional level. So a ‘one size fits all’ molded solution with generic rewards simply isn’t going to cut it. You have to make sure that your approach fits your business’ nature, is a differentiation point, and makes your customers happy. To make your rewards program more meaningful and effective, consider the following:
1. Originality/Innovation. Innovation and originality are key to a successful loyalty program. Not only will originality help you stand out from the hundreds of other programs your customers are exposed to, differentiating you from your competitors, but also because they will appreciate a solution that is thought out for them and reflects your brand and identity. This approach will engender true loyalty from your buyers. A best practice is to offer unique experiences that will delight customers but that are also aligned with your business. For example, a retailer might offer ‘VIP’ customers that have attained a certain loyalty level early access to their stores on Black Friday or invite preferred customers to vote on some outfits that will be part of the store’s new seasonal collection.
2. Attainability. The rewards you offer have to be attainable. Customers will not invest huge amounts of time and energy to gain access to a reward nor, once accessed, will they be willing to wait for it for ages. You have to make sure that your program is well structured so that your clients stay satisfied. For example, you need to have a proper customer service function that deals with requests quickly and correctly.
3. Clarity. Clients have to understand the rules and regulations of your rewards program, and it has to be easy to use and follow. If you accurately communicate what is to be expected, customers will appreciate you more for it and, more importantly, trust you more (very important for loyalty building). They will be more willing to participate in future programs as well.
4. Flexibility. Not all your clients are the same — which means that they don’t have the same interests and tastes. Giving them options to choose the reward that best satisfies their needs is empowering and will surely delight customers. Imagine you are a supermarket and you want to give your customers various options of redeemable products. Through segmentation, you will know your customers’ purchase behaviors and interests. You can create internal rewards catalogs that reflects these various segments’ interests with your own products and make all your customers happy with what you offer.
5. Personalization. Loyalty is heavily based on the emotional relationship clients have with your brand. If you can personalize their rewards, they will feel cared for and valued, and will be more likely to keep buying from you and recommending you. Imagine you are a cosmetics brand. To personalize your reward, you can offer customers a makeover that is coherent to their personal style and tastes, showing off your products but also delighting the customer.
6. Gamification. Prompting program members to take part in different challenges and be rewarded with something meaningful at the end, all the while offering badges and small rewards for every action taken, is a great way to have clients interact more with your brand. Customers find gamification a fun and engaging process, but they will desist from participating if they think that there are too many complicated steps involved or if they don’t find enough value in the process. Progress tracking is a great way to maintain engagement with your customers. This helps customers keep track of their own progress and increases engagement – all the while offering value to the participants. If you associate this with an app or a site game, it will make it even better.
The right rewards is one element that will make your customer loyalty program stand out and differentiate you from your competition. If you offer rewards that customers find valuable based on their interests, personalities and purchase behaviors, they will feel cared for and remain delighted by your proposal. Ultimately, this will lead to a loyal brand advocate who will keep coming back to your store for more purchases in the future.