What Is A Customer Rewards Program? Types, Benefits & Implementation
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What Is A Customer Rewards Program? Types, Benefits & Implementation

Discover the types, benefits, and strategies for effective customer rewards programs. Enhance loyalty and boost sales with our comprehensive guide.

Tim Kuo

Tim Kuo

Jul 14th 202410 min read

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Customer rewards are vital to running a business, especially in today. Imagine this: You've poured your efforts into your brand, creating exceptional products or services that your customers adore. How do you show them you genuinely appreciate their support and loyalty? A customer rewards program is the answer! In this blog, we'll explore the significance of customer appreciation through rewards and how it can help you form lasting connections with your clientele, all while boosting your business's success.

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What Is A Customer Rewards Program?

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Customer rewards are incentives or gifts given to customers to show appreciation for their business or encourage them to continue doing business with a company. Rewards can take many forms, such as discounts, free products or services, exclusive access, or even gifts. The primary goal of customer rewards is to create a positive relationship between a business and its customers.

By offering rewards and incentives, businesses can show appreciation for customer loyalty and encourage customers to continue doing business with them. Loyalty keeps your customers returning to you and away from your competitors. Building customer loyalty doesn’t happen by accident. You have to dedicate time, energy, and budget to it if you want to succeed.

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6 Types Of Customer Reward Programs

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1. Referral program

Referral customer reward programs are among the simplest programs you can set up for a modern ecommerce business. The concept is simple: The customer sends a friend a referral to your store, and the referred customer gets a discount on their next purchase. At a bare minimum, that is all technically required to create a referral program. You should add some modifications to ensure success.

The referring advocate sending the referral should also be rewarded in exchange for telling their friend. Their reward should be in the form of loyalty points, not a straight discount. A referral customer rewards program that benefits the sender and the receiver is the best way to use referrals to generate new, low-cost-per-acquisition sales for your business without spending as much on the increasingly expensive acquisition through ads.

2. Points based program

A points rewards program involves customers performing an activity, earning points for completing that activity, and then cashing them in for a reward after earning a certain amount of points. This program can be as simple or as complex as you want, based on the types and number of earning and redeeming actions you provide for your customers. Many integrations between loyalty platforms and other apps in your e-commerce tech stack make many complex or unique earning and redeeming actions possible.

3. VIP Program

A VIP program is essentially a points rewards program with the added feature of member tiers. As loyalty members engage more with your program, they move from one tier to another. With the right combination of exclusivity and motivation, you can make engaging with your brand fun, exciting, and rewarding for everyone, from first-time customers to life-long brand advocates.

4. Cashback programs

Customers receive a percentage of their purchase back in cash or store credit.

5. Tiered rewards

These programs offer different levels of rewards based on the amount of money spent or the frequency of purchases. Customers who spend more or make more purchases may receive higher levels of rewards.

6. Design a Loyalty Rewards Game

Loyalty reward programs don’t have to be stale and boring. Customers can have fun with the process. For example, McDonald’s runs Monopoly games at certain points throughout the year. Customers buy a food item from McDonald’s and get one or more stickers with each purchase. These stickers correlate to places on the monopoly board, and customers can win big prizes by collecting certain sticker combinations. Vons grocery store also runs a Monopoly game where customers receive tickets for their purchases.

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Why Are Customer Rewards Important?

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Acquiring new customers can be up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. This is where loyalty or reward programs come into play. They offer businesses a powerful tool to cultivate customer loyalty and drive repeat sales.

Customer Retention

Rewarding customers for loyalty can significantly reduce churn rates and increase lifetime value. When customers feel appreciated and valued, they’re more likely to stick around and continue doing business with a company.

Increased Sales

Loyalty programs incentivize customers to make repeat purchases to earn rewards, resulting in a steady revenue stream for businesses. Loyal customers are more likely to spend more on each transaction and try out new products.

Data Insights

Loyalty programs provide valuable customer purchasing behavior, preferences, and demographics data. This data can personalize marketing efforts, improve product offerings, and increase the overall customer experience.

Competitive Advantage

A well-designed program can set you apart from competitors and give you a competitive edge.

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How Can Your Business Implement A Customer Rewards Program?

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Defining Program Objectives

Before setting up a customer rewards program, businesses need to consider their objectives. Whether they are to elevate customer retention rates or stimulate referrals, having clear objectives is crucial to shaping the program's design and implementation.

Selecting the Right Rewards

Rewards must be enticing and align with the program's objectives to attract and retain customers. Opt for rewards that cater to customer preferences, such as discounts, freebies, or exclusive offers.

Determining the Program Structure

Deciding on the program's structure is fundamental. This includes how customers accumulate points, how they can redeem rewards, and which actions are eligible for rewards. Typically, actions can be tied to customer purchases, referrals, or other engagements.

Choosing a Software Platform

It is imperative to select a software platform to manage the rewards program. Whether a customer relationship management (CRM) system or a distinct loyalty program platform, this tool will help track customer behavior and manage rewards effectively.

Communicating the Program to Customers

Promote the program across various channels, such as email, social media, and in-store signage, to prompt customer engagement. Clearly communicate the program's benefits and requirements to ensure understanding.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Program

Frequently monitoring the program's performance and effectiveness is key. Utilize data analytics and customer feedback to tweak and enhance the program as required.

Following these steps, businesses can implement a customer rewards program that fosters customer loyalty and drives business growth.

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4 Best Practices For Implementing A Customer Rewards Program

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1. Offer Value to Your Customers

When selecting rewards for a customer rewards program, ensuring they appeal to customers is essential. A loyalty program's success is largely based on how motivated customers are to participate. Choose rewards that align with customers' regular purchasing habits or provide them with your signature items.

For example, if you operate a coffee shop, offering free coffee or other signature drinks might be more enticing rewards than hats. Personalizing rewards based on each customer's needs and purchasing preferences can also enhance the appeal of your loyalty program.

2. Tie the Reward Back to Your Company

It is advantageous to infuse your brand's unique characteristics into your loyalty program, including the rewards you offer. Rewards that benefit your company can serve as incentives for customers to return.

For instance, you could provide discounts on your products, credits towards their next purchase, free products, free shipping, or exclusive access to sales. By making the rewards directly related to your company, customers are more likely to see the value in participating in the program.

3. Balance Quick and Instant Rewards with Exclusive, Premium Ones

A successful loyalty program should strike a balance between offering instantly achievable rewards and those requiring more effort to obtain. Providing quick rewards upon joining can help boost customers' motivation to participate.

On the other hand, consider offering exclusive, high-value incentives to customers who make many purchases. These exclusive rewards could include access to special events, exclusive products, or other premium benefits that make customers feel valued and appreciated.

4. Make Sure Rewards Are Enticing for Customers and Cost-Effective for Your Business

The key to a successful customer rewards program is to offer rewards that are both attractive to customers and sustainable for your business. The structure of your loyalty program plays a crucial role in achieving this balance. Consider factors such as the number of purchases required to earn a certain reward, rewarding customers for referrals, and other elements that can help you strike the right balance between enticing rewards and cost-effectiveness.

By ensuring that the rewards appeal to customers and benefit your business, you can create a loyalty program that drives customer engagement and fosters long-lasting relationships.

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Examples Of Customer Rewards Programs

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Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a stellar example of a paid program. Members can enjoy perks like free two-day shipping, video streaming, music selection, exclusive deals on Prime Day, and more. By offering these benefits, Amazon incentivizes customers to select its platform for all their shopping and entertainment requirements.

Delta Airlines

Delta SkyMiles Medallion program is based on tiers and spending levels, rewarding users for booking flights with the airline. The tiers are predicated on how much the user spent in Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) during the previous year, which can be accumulated through flights or partner credit card points. As users progress through the tiers, they unlock various benefits such as travel vouchers, priority service, and complimentary upgrades.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy is a loyalty program based on tiers and points. It allows members to redeem free hotel nights, meals, and other experiences using accumulated points. Members can earn points through car rentals and flights and even share points with friends and family. Other benefits include complimentary Wi-Fi and access to special rates, making it a compelling loyalty program for frequent travelers.


Nike's industry-leading membership program is crucial to its status as the most valuable sports brand globally. This loyalty scheme offers a range of exclusive perks such as access to product launches, community-building initiatives like free workout classes, personalized experiences like birthday and anniversary gifts, and an omnichannel experience across their mobile app, in-store, and online platforms. This four-pronged approach to brand loyalty helps cultivate a deeper connection with customers and drives long-term brand advocacy.

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Build A Meaningful Employee Recognition Program With Ease with Giftpack

At Giftpack, our driving force is to simplify the corporate gifting process while maximizing the impact of each gift. Utilizing our custom AI algorithm, we create highly customized scenario swag box options for you. We deliver globally and have an extremely user-friendly platform. We curate the most fitting gifts from a vast catalog of over 3.5 million products worldwide (which is ever-increasing).

By carefully considering an individual's basic demographics, preferences, social media activity, and digital footprint, we tailor each gift selection process regardless of whether the recipient is an employee, a customer, a VIP client, a friend, or a family member. With a wide range of locally and globally sourced gifts, we ensure that personalized gifting is accessible and achievable on a large scale, delivering meaningful connections across the globe.

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Tim Kuo

Tim Kuo

Jul 14th 202410 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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