One of the best practices is to review and improve your loyalty program on a regular basis. In fact, a global study conducted among program managers indicates that 71.6% plan to redesign or make significant improvements to their program over the next three years.1 Start 2022 with our 5 tips for improving your loyalty program.
1. Personalize your content
How are you doing in terms of customizing content and offers? Personalization is no longer a luxury, but an essential element that contributes to the success and profitability of a program. The so-called transactional loyalty is no longer enough to build a good relationship with customers. Simply put, offering points is no longer what distinguishes one program from another.
The most recent LoyalT study2 in November 2021 shows that content personalization is as important as the perceived generosity of a program. Specifically, our analysis reveals that there is a direct correlation between the content customization of a program and its ability to modify the purchasing behaviour of its members (increased purchases and increased share-of-wallet).
If you have not included personalization in your loyalty program, it should be your priority for 2022.
2. Collect and leverage zero and first-party data
Customization will continue to grow in importance. To keep up with the pace, program managers need to learn how to use zero and first-party data that lead to a better understanding of customer needs and preferences. However, this type of data requires a different approach than what comes from third-party cookies. Your program should focus on collecting and analyzing data that your customers are willing to share with you. For example, social media interactions, survey or questionnaire responses, profile and preference updates, etc.
Your onboarding strategy also becomes very important. You should take advantage of customer enrollment in your program by sending communications to learn more about their behaviour, profile, and preferences. Some programs are very generous in encouraging new members to respond to this type of initiative. This data is very useful for producing customized communications.
3. Consider a premium component for your best customers
Premium programs are also known as membership programs with fees. This type of loyalty program charges monthly or annual membership fees so members can access additional or exclusive services and benefits.
The LoyalT study has shown that there is generally a percentage of your top members who are ready to pay an amount to earn benefits such as exclusive points offers, free delivery, faster earning opportunities, etc. Interestingly, members who enroll to the paid component of a loyalty program think that the program is more generous (even if they pay an additional amount). We also see that there is a significant increase in the level of commitment and concentration of purchases. In the United States, 76% of consumers say they are willing to pay for a premium program. A few Canadian programs have already opted for this strategy, including PC Insider/PC optimum, Plum+ from Indigo/Chapters, Canadian Tire and Scene from Cineplex.
This strategy offers several advantages:
- It provides best customers with tangible and valued benefits and increases their engagement.
- It generates additional recurring revenue from annual fees charged to customers.
- It generates additional revenue through concentration of purchases and member loyalty
- It allows you to differentiate your program.
The cost effectiveness of this type of program is very advantageous. However, it is important to take the time to evaluate a premium component. It is necessary to analyze the different types of benefits that are most relevant to your best customers, to measure the price (elasticity) that they would be willing to pay, and to carry out a profitability analysis. R3 can assist you with these components and introduce you to the best practices from the best premium programs.
4. Reward customer engagement
The more a customer is engaged with a program, the more they use it, and the more they concentrate their purchases. It is no longer enough to reward customers solely based on their transactions and amounts they spend. The best-performing programs incorporate many features that promote interactions with the brand, and for which the member receives additional rewards when using them. These features include:
- subscribing to the newsletter
- using the mobile application
- engaging with social media
- participating in communities
- watching a video
- integrating a connected object to their profile
For example, Familiprix rewards their Familiplus program members who link their smart watch or their sports app to their Familiplus account. Members receive additional points when they walk or do a sport activity.
5. Integrate the emotional loyalty response into your program
If your loyalty program already offers transaction-based rewards, consider implementing emotional components to your strategy. Start rewarding member behaviour outside the purchasing cycle.
You don’t need to discard existing transactional elements. Instead, add experiential and personalized rewards.
Loyalty program managers should first prioritize their best customers and offer them exclusive benefits. For example, membership benefits, pre-sales, exclusivity, quick and privileged support, etc.
Thinking of revamping some aspects of your loyalty program or improving its performance in 2022? Discover our 6-step approach to improve an existing program.