21 Creative Customer Loyalty Program Ideas & Real Brand Examples
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21 Creative Customer Loyalty Program Ideas & Real Brand Examples

Engage and retain using these customer loyalty program ideas. Discover how real brands are succeeding with their customer loyalty initiatives.

Tim Kuo

Tim Kuo

Jul 14th 202414 min read

customer giving review - Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

Building loyalty is important for any company when it comes to customer appreciation. Picture this: your loyal customers are the backbone of your business, the ones who keep returning for more and who talk about your product or service to everyone they know. That's where customer appreciation and loyalty programs come in. Keeping your existing customers happy and engaged is as crucial as acquiring new ones. But how do you ensure that their loyalty endures? By learning these customer loyalty program ideas, you can find ways to keep your customers engaged, satisfied, and returning for more.

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What Is A Customer Loyalty Program?

customer holding brand gift - Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

A customer loyalty program is a strategy designed to encourage repeat business. In this program, a brand offers its customers rewards, discounts, and other incentives to attract and retain their business. These programs are designed to build loyalty, and they pay off when done well.

The Power of Incentives

Studies have found that 75% of consumers favor brands that offer rewards programs. Since consumers are getting something beneficial from their continuous business, it gives them an additional incentive to stay loyal to the brand.

Customer loyalty programs are a great way to keep consumers engaged and returning. Whether a brand chooses:

• Points

• Tiered

• Subscription

• Paid model

• Or a combination

The key is to keep offering rewards and incentives to customers for their loyalty. This pays off in terms of repeat business and customer engagement.

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Types Of Customer Loyalty Programs

types of Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

Points Programs

Points-based loyalty programs are the most popular choice for brands looking to retain customers. These programs allow customers to earn points with each purchase, which they can later redeem for rewards such as free products or exclusive perks. In addition to purchases, some points programs offer additional ways for customers to earn points, like:

• Leaving reviews

• Sharing on social media

• Celebrating a birthday

Tier Programs

Tier-based loyalty programs offer different benefits based on a customer's rank within the program. The more customers engage with the brand, the higher their rank and the better their rewards. Customers must buy more and frequently interact with the brand to move up the ranks and unlock exclusive rewards. Brands use sales metrics and engagement to assess and rank customers.

Some brands offer paid loyalty programs that provide immediate and continuous benefits to customers who pay a recurring or one-time fee. If a brand can demonstrate the value of its program, it can help drive customer loyalty. A 2020 survey revealed that consumers are 60% more likely to spend more on a brand after subscribing to a paid loyalty program. Customers who opt for paid programs are more likely to maximize the benefits of their loyalty memberships.

Value Programs

Value-based loyalty programs involve brands donating a percentage of their sales profits to charitable organizations instead of directly rewarding customers. This approach allows brands to advocate for various social, environmental, and economic causes, creating a sense of goodwill among customers. By showing customers their purchase contributes to a worthy cause, brands can foster a positive brand image and build customer loyalty.

Combining Programs

Brands are not limited to using just one type of loyalty program. By combining different strategies, brands can create unique and effective loyalty programs. For instance, a brand may offer a points program for purchases alongside a tier program based on engagement. This combination allows brands to engage customers on various levels and drive long-term loyalty effectively.

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The Benefits Of Offering Customer Loyalty Programs

looking at plans - Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

Successful loyalty programs increase customer retention and help you earn repeat business. They also provide the following benefits:

Revenue Boost

Happy customers who receive discounts return often and spend more. Plus, if you charge customers to join your scheme, they may buy even more because of the sunk costs fallacy.

Inexpensive Marketing

Sending out special offers via email and text message marketing to shift inventory is far cheaper than using online or print advertising to attract new customers.

Valuable Data

If your POS system captures data on who’s buying what from you, you can segment your customer database and run targeted promotions.

Customer Loyalty

It may seem obvious, but the benefits of loyal customers can’t be understated. Loyal customers are more likely to stick with you even if you must raise prices at your business or through times of economic downturn. Keeping your loyal customers — and keeping your customers loyal — is crucial.

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21 Creative Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

sticky notes on wall for customer loyalty program ideas

1. Reward your customers’ spending

The mechanics behind this marketing tactic are simple. Every time a customer makes a purchase, reward them with points they can use for their next purchases. Points can have whatever value you assign to them. They can be equivalent to money that your loyal customers can use to deduct from the total charge of their next order.

You can also use the points system to create reward thresholds your customers must meet to acquire the perks of collecting the points. Naturally, more points mean more enticing rewards and more money spent on your products or services. This is a classic positive reinforcement move that promotes future purchases. You can also incorporate game elements into your plan to reward repeat sales. This allows you to create fun and engaging activities for your spending customers.

2. Give out rewards for referrals

Encourage existing customers to bring in new prospects by offering referral bonuses through specialized thank-you emails, discounts, or freebies. If they advertise word-of-mouth for you anyway, the referral rewards will convince them to find more friends and people to check out your products and services.

3. Conduct customer surveys with incentives

An effortless way to get your customers to share what they think about your products or services is through customer surveys. You can send your survey to your customers via email, your website, or your mobile application if you have one. Incentives can be anything from:

• Freebie

• Order coupon

• Raffle entry to one of your online contests

4. Exclusive Events

Businesses can build customer loyalty by hosting interesting, exclusive events regardless of size. For example, a local bakery could offer monthly baking classes for loyal customers. These events provide a unique and personalized experience, making customers feel valued and appreciated. They also create a sense of community among customers who share similar interests.

5. Upgrade Subscription Programs

Consider leveraging a product or service upgrade subscription program through fixed installment payments. From consumer electronics to kitchenware, any small business that sells a product or service that will need to be replaced or upgraded can guarantee ongoing loyalty with this type of simple yet customized program offered at the point of sale.

6. Organize a prize draw for your loyalty members

Enter loyalty program members into a prize drawing, allowing them to win something significant to thank them for their loyalty. You can also include customers who have recently purchased from your store.

Prize draws are an excellent way to create buzz around your business and generate brand awareness. You’ll cater to loyal customers while expanding your reach to attract new customers.

7. Openly favor your loyal customers

Consider giving loyalty program members priority during sales. Let them take advantage of reduced prices and get the first pick of the stock. Promote your early-bird deal by emailing or texting loyal customers to let them know they’re at the front of the line.

Members will appreciate the gesture and enjoy being prioritized. This approach will help you win customer confidence and trust while encouraging others to join your loyalty program.

8. Create a social club for loyalty program members

Luxury brands often invite members and favored customers to social events in glamorous places to help them feel part of something special. You could arrange invites to an event like that once or twice a year. Alternatively, host after-hours get-togethers on your premises to launch a new product or service to members first. Ensure there’s plenty of food and drink!

9. Build an online community for loyalty program members

Create a 24/7 online community where customers can become acquainted and discuss common interests surrounding your brand. Use a forum, Discord channel or Facebook Group to host your community. Ensure your online community is invitation-only so members feel exclusive.

10. Try a raffle or other chance-based games

Raffle draws with enticing prizes can greatly boost customer loyalty and generate interest in your business. When your customers can win something valuable, they are likelier to continue doing business with you. They also see it as a way of thanking them for their support.

11. Return Rewards

Returns are a huge burden for many brands and put a terrible strain on the environment. Brands should consider rewarding their customers for returning items in the best possible ways. For example, customers can be rewarded with loyalty points if a brand offers a package-free and label-free return option. This will reduce mail-in returns and the company’s carbon impact.

12. Gamification

Creating a score or using some form of gamification is always a great choice. Make it fun for the customer by awarding them points or badges for reaching certain business milestones. Having an exclusive customer tier or group/club for your best customers is a powerful way of making them feel special.

13. Partner with other businesses

Your loyalty programs do not have to be limited to your business alone. By partnering with other businesses and conducting joint promotions, you can bring their customers to your establishment. This means more exposure, reach, and leads for you and more perks for your customers.

14. Offer Free Trials

If you are in the business of selling subscription services, software, or other products that prospects are typically hesitant to purchase because of the costs involved or their lack of first-hand experience with them, free trials can be the platform to overcome these marketing challenges. They give prospects a taste of what you have to offer, and before long, they can’t live without it.

15. Set the spotlight on your customers (with their permission, of course!

Some loyal customers who have formed an attachment to your business will be attracted to the idea of being openly thanked for their continued patronage. With their consent, you can:

• Highlight their feedback about your product

• Quote and picture from them

• Your message for them in a newsletter or a social media post

Acknowledging your customers’ impact on your business's success is a sure way to keep them invested.

16. Establish a VIP membership program

Many repeat customers like to know that the businesses they continue to support pay attention to their purchasing behavior and needs. A VIP-only membership gives these customers a feeling of exclusivity and special treatment. This marketing scheme doesn’t have to be costly for your business or customers. You don’t have to charge your customers anything to get a membership, and the incentives can be perks like:

• Early access to new products and services

• Free and expedited shipping

• Exclusive rebates and coupons, and more

17. Knowledge Exchange Programs

Consider a knowledge exchange program for a small business. Customers earn points by sharing insights or feedback on products, which can be redeemed for exclusive experiences or discounts. This not only fosters loyalty but also provides valuable insights for business growth.

18. Monthly Mystery Programs

Try a monthly mystery loyalty program where loyal clients are rewarded monthly to fuel anticipation and repeat visits. Offer varied rewards, including discounts, products, and tiers for regulars. Use social media teasers to heighten interest and serve as a digital platform for interactivity. Partnering with local businesses can also enhance offerings. This idea both retains customers and acts as a potent marketing tool.

19. Connect with your customers through email

Establishing a solid email marketing strategy that allows businesses to communicate with their customers is super important. Not only does it allow businesses to share:

• Ongoing promotions

• Limited-time discounts

• Exciting content with their customers

• Makes their business appear more personable and accessible

20. Offer product trade-ins for luxury items

Providing your customers with this option encourages them to stay committed to your products and services. With trade-ins, the buyer can sell the product they bought as payment for another product. This makes trade-ins extra appealing to people who purchase luxury items. Not only do the customers get a fair valuation for the product they want to sell, but they also ensure the authenticity of the product they want to acquire next since it comes from the same seller.

21. Keep your customers informed about your products and services

Many factors contribute to customer loyalty. One of the most important things is that customers like your product or service. For example, if you run a bookstore, you can keep your customers happy by conducting monthly reading sessions where they can meet and greet their favorite authors. This will show your customers that you value their business and are committed to providing a positive experience.

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4 Best Tips For Implementing A Customer Loyalty Program

team looking to implement ideas - Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

1. Know Your Customers

Understanding your target market is crucial when creating a customer loyalty program. You need to tailor your strategies to resonate with your specific audience. Analyze your buyers' behavior using reporting tools within your loyalty software. Test new ideas with A/B testing and monitor your program's performance to make necessary adjustments over time.

2. Keep Your Brand Top of Mind

Consistency is key when implementing a customer loyalty program. Ensure your program aligns with your brand to create a cohesive customer experience. From colors and logos to messaging and imagery, ensure every aspect of your loyalty program reflects your brand identity.

3. Reward Instantly & Frequently

To keep customers engaged in your loyalty program, instantly and more frequently offer rewards. Small perks like incentives for updating profile data preferences can help maintain their interest. Regularly text or email loyal members to inform them about sales, discounts, points, rewards, new products, or exclusive deals.

4. Maintain Regular Communication

Frequent communication with your customers is vital for fostering brand loyalty. Tell your loyal members about the following:

• Upcoming sales

• Promotions

• Product launches

Treat your customers as valued relationships rather than strangers. Regular contact helps nurture these connections and keeps customers engaged with your brand.

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5 Real Life Examples Of Customer Loyalty Programs

real life examples - Customer Loyalty Program Ideas

1. Designer Shoe Warehouse: DSW VIP

DSW's VIP program offers tier-based benefits to customers based on their spending, upgrading the loyalty experience. As customers spend more, they unlock higher levels of benefits, motivating them to spend even more to access exclusive products and services from the brand. DSW's personalized email campaigns further engage customers by detailing their progress and eligibility for rewards, enhancing their loyalty to the brand.

2. Sephora: Beauty Insider

Sephora's beauty insider program allows customers to earn points for purchases and redeem them for rewards like samples or exclusive merchandise through the Rewards Bazaar. The tier structure incentivizes customers to:

• Earn better rewards

• Access exclusive events

• Receive bigger discounts

The beauty insider community fosters emotional connections with customers, strengthening their relationship with the brand.

3. Uber Rewards

Uber Rewards program rewards customers with points for every eligible dollar spent on rides and UberEats orders. Customers can accumulate points for Uber cash rewards and other benefits like priority pickup and flexible cancellation. The tiered membership levels unlock more rewards and benefits, giving users added time, flexibility, and control, ultimately enhancing their customer experience.

4. The LEGO Insiders Program

LEGO's loyalty program rewards customers for:

• Purchases

• Registration of LEGO sets

• Engagement in the customer community

This emotional connection with customers drives brand loyalty and increases purchase frequency. Initiatives like LEGO Ideas, where customers' designs can become official products through a voting process, further strengthen the bond between LEGO and its customers.

5. Pulse Boutique

Pulse Boutique's customer loyalty program, Pulse Perks, encourages social media engagement and boosts user-generated content, customer reviews, and photo submissions. By inviting customers to join a trusted fashion community, the brand enhances customer engagement and loyalty, creating a two-way relationship with its customers.

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One of Giftpack's key features is its ability to deliver gifts globally. You can easily send a personalized gift no matter where your recipient is located. Giftpack has a vast catalog of over 3.5 million products worldwide, constantly expanding. This ensures a wide range of locally and globally sourced gifts, making personalized gifting accessible and achievable on a large scale.

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Meaningful Connections Across the Globe

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Tim Kuo

Tim Kuo

Jul 14th 202414 min read

About Giftpack

Giftpack's AI-powered solution simplifies the corporate gifting process and amplifies the impact of personalized gifts. We're crafting memorable touchpoints by sending personalized gifts selected out of a curated pool of 3 million options with just one click. Our AI technology efficiently analyzes each recipient's social media, cultural background, and digital footprint to customize gift options at scale. We take care of generating, ordering, and shipping gifts worldwide. We're transforming the way people build authentic business relationships by sending smarter gifts faster with gifting CRM.

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