It’s Time for Rewards Programs to Step It Up

There are many good reasons why brands should have a loyalty program. Done right, it can help a company identify its high-value customers, providing opportunities to communicate with them at the beginning of their buying journey, which is more important than ever according to a recent study.

The most successful programs include a point system whereby customers earn and use them in a repetitive cycle, like with airlines miles. In a recent report by HelloWord, called What Consumers Think of Loyalty & Reward Programs, 64% of consumers still find it appealing to earn points for their purchases. This strategy works well because it requires customers to stick around to hit their milestones, and to not lose the points they’ve earned. For companies, this type of loyalty program is very time-consuming to execute and it takes a lot of planning, so you need to have the right resources in place to go this route.

What is most eye-opening about this study is the shift in consumer expectations when it comes to what they should get for their loyalty – 75% of them want to be rewarded beyond a purchase.  Earning points for spending is not enough. These consumers want to be rewarded for things like watching a video, or taking a survey.

This means that marketers must rethink what a great loyalty program should look like. It appears that consumers want to be paid for their time. It is also proof that there is a shift in the role loyalty plays in the buying journey, which means it’s time for you to get creative. Think outside the box when designing or revamping your loyalty program.

  • Consider partnering with other brands to increase the number of ways consumers can earn loyalty points (70% of respondents in the study like this idea).
  • Create a meaningful connection with your brand by offering interactive games, or delighting them with something fun (40% of Millennials believe this should be a part of a program).
  • Programs designed for instant gratification with built-in frequent rewards will be more successful (53% of consumers complained that it takes too long to earn rewards).

The study also called out these top four consumer expectations when it comes to loyalty programs.  They want:

  • Discounts and offers – 82%
  • Free products – 77%
  • Free services – 66%
  • Priority customer service – 39%

Now that you know, it’s time to get to work and devise ways to connect with consumers and create experiences that correlate with their needs.  Go get ‘em.

 

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