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What Do Shoppers Need From Your Customer Loyalty Plan?

Customer loyalty plans are becoming more common among both brickandmortar and online stores. But not all customer loyalty plans are created equalDo consumers notice the differences? Do those differences impact their decision to join a loyalty program? What features of customer loyalty programs matter most to consumers?  

These questions have been lurking in the back of our mindsuntil now. We’ve collected over 1,600 surveys from our network of smartphone-enabled shoppers that help shed light on those questions and many more.  

Most Requested Perks 

The perks of customer loyalty programs are often the first thing consumers are looking at. Having a lot of perks available is always a good thingbut if they’re not what consumers are looking for, they likely won’t take the bait. For example, giving shoppers early access to sales or new products may seem like a great feature to add to your customer loyalty program, but those features are the least requested among all of our survey participants.  

The most popular features of customer loyalty programs are: 

  1. Freebies (70 percent) 
  2. Free shipping (68 percent) 
  3. Birthday discounts (60 percent) 
  4. Exclusive access to discounted prices (57 percent) 
  5. Discount after spending $X (54 percent) 

These are the things that consumers are looking for most from a customer loyalty program. These are the benefits that should be more heavily emphasized in order to draw your consumers into your brand. Creating loyal customers is big factor in driving sales and developing your brand further. Appealing to the wants of your customer base will help you develop the customer loyalty program that benefits both your brand and your shoppers.  

What Motivates Shoppers to Join a Customer Loyalty Program? 

Now that you know the most requested features, you may be wondering which features motivate consumers to act and join your loyalty program? Here’s what our survey participants had to say: 

  1. Discounts after spending $X (28 percent) 
  2. Freebies (24 percent) 
  3. Free shipping (21 percent) 
  4. BOGO deals (9 percent) 
  5. Birthday discounts (6 percent) 

The motivating factors differ slightly from the most requested perks. Discounts quickly rose to the top of the list while exclusive access to discount prices didn’t quite make the cut. The top three motivators are the most heavily requested and will likely be the key to creating a successful customer loyalty program.  

47% of shoppers said Amazon Prime was the best customer loyalty program.

The Customer Loyalty Programs to Beat 

There are many varieties of customer loyalty programs found among all retailers (both online and in-store), but which are consumers most interested in?  We asked our smartphoneenabled shoppers to tell us which customer loyalty programs they liked best for both online and brick-and-mortar retailershere’s what they had to say. Keep in mind, our shoppers were asked to select a brand based on the customer loyalty program that they liked best, not the store or brand.   

Online 

Amazon Prime takes the cake with 47 percent of survey participants selecting this option. Consumers like the appeal of free two-day shipping annually for one flat rate. Amazon prime memberships also offer consumers some free TV shows and movies with their membership. The combination of a free shipping offer and other freebies likely makes this customer loyalty program the one to beat.  

Brick-and-Mortar 

Sephora took the lead for in-store customer loyalty programs with 27 percent of survey participants selecting it. Consumers like the idea of earning points toward free gifts, discounts gift cards, and more. This option gives them the freedom to choose the perk they want while also providing them with additional benefits as they move through the ranks of the loyalty program including birthday benefits, more points for purchases, and more.  

Woman applies eye makeup inside a store

What Else Can You Do? 

If you’re looking for even more insights from our shoppers, then you’re in luck. They were able to give us a look into the perks and benefits that could help put a customer loyalty program a step above the rest.  

Excellent Customer Service 

Shoppers want to know if they have an issue with a return, discount, coupon, freebie, or something else that the brand will be able to assist them. The better your customer service team is, the more likely your customers are to stick around. 

Offer Program Members Better Prices Than Non-Members 

The idea of exclusivity makes a customer loyalty program much more appealing too. The offer becomes much more appealing to consumers if joining a customer loyalty program will give 10 percent off every purchase or lower prices for all products.  

Marketing Techniques 

Many of our survey participants said that the marketing efforts of the brand impact the success of the customer loyalty program. Showing customers products they might like before checking out, sending them emails with new products, making the benefits of the program very well known, and so much more make a big difference in the success of the program. In essence, better marketing will lead to more loyal customers.  

There you have it. Customer loyalty programs are a big incentive for consumers to continue to shop at brands they love and trust. Using these insights will help you develop the best possible customer loyalty program for your brand. Don’t forget to check out our previous blog on whether customer loyalty programs are a win for brands and retailers!

Carissa Loria

Carissa is the Marketing Associate at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. She holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island.

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