How To Improve Your Holiday Loyalty Program In 3 Easy Steps

holiday loyalty program

With the Christmas Creep sneaking up, it’s time to prepare for the promotional insanity that is November and December.

Rewards programs help engage customers, drive sales, motivate employees, and create behaviours that affect your overall marketing platform — and your bottom line. A loyalty/rewards program’s aim is to create a mutually beneficial relationship between your company and the recipients, but picking the right kind of incentive/reward program to offer is important. It should be customized to fit your customers’ preferences in order to ensure that they receive rewards the actually want.

Already have a loyalty program? Unless it’s achieving everything that you want it to, the holiday season is the perfect time to surprise your customers with a new/updated program. An innovative incentives program will not only bring in new customers now, but it will also serve to re-engage and drive sales after the holiday season, when business is often slowest and the “holiday hangover” sets in.

Here are three ways to improve your loyalty program for the holidays.

1. If Your Customers Can’t See It, They Can’t Use It
One of the biggest problems that businesses encounter with their loyalty programs is visibility. In 2017, loyalty programs need to be tied into and benefit from technology, and the program needs to be functional and accessible across multiple channels.

Loyalty programs need to be more than just an in-store plastic card or an online membership. To properly cater to and account for an entire customer base, businesses need to make their loyalty programs accessible everywhere, including mobile, online, and in person, much like the business itself.

Currently, just 55% of businesses mention their loyalty program on the homepage header, and only 38% do the same on the app homepage. Optimizing your website–both for mobile and desktop users–in order to effectively advertise your loyalty program is important. Take advantage of SMS messages as well: although most customers actually want to receive SMS or push notifications about loyalty incentives, only a small percentage of retailers actually use these mediums.

2. Reward Customers For More Than Just Their Purchases
A loyalty/incentives program should do more than just reward your customers when they shop at your business. However, only 35% of retailers reward customers for activities other than a purchase (Intelligence Report 2017). Rewarding non-purchase activities in your loyalty program will not only help arouse positive feelings and increase the image of your brand, but it will also serve to differentiate you from the competition. During the holiday season, this can be the big difference, especially when other brands continue to try and push the same boring, tired discounts.

There are many ways to reward non-purchase activities, and this is often the best way to ensure that customers DO purchase more. Think about how your company fits into your customers’ everyday lives. How can you reward customers for things they already love to do? Give rewards for social media posts, incorporate your app or rewards program with health/activity trackers, diet/food apps, or other similar life optimizers to open up new avenues in which you can send personalized messages. The additional data will do wonders for your company.

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3. A VIP / Premium Loyalty Program
According to Intelligence Report 2017, members of loyalty programs don’t actually want discounts. Crazy, right? Instead, they want things they can actually use or experience. This holiday season, surprise your top customers with a unique reward or interesting event that will give them something to remember your company for.

Examples include:
Early-bird access to products or sales
Exclusive experiences that can be “purchased” using loyalty points or “rewards cash,” such as a stay at a hotel, a vacation, or a fancy dinner
Faster access to rewards. According to research, 92% of reward recipients want to receive a reward within one week
VIP/priority customer service or shopping advice
Improved return and exchanges rules

Make your high-level customers feel like VIPs, and they, in turn, will treat your company like the superstar business it is.

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