How to Build an Omnichannel Loyalty Program that Propels Your Brand

Sydney Wess

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September 29, 2020

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The internet can be a tricky place to grow a brand. The average online buyer is conditioned to site-hop before making a purchase, and on Amazon, 78% of all searches are unbranded.

But be that as it may, your brand should never stop trying to build brand recognition. The strength of your brand determines the longevity of your business, and as the saying goes, “It’s cheaper to retain a customer than it is to acquire one.”

This is where loyalty programs come into play. They can help to keep your brand on the radar, no matter where your customers go, and distinguish your brand apart from the retailers and third-party channels you sell through today. You can funnel more traffic to your site and create more predictable sales by incentivizing one-time buyers to become repeat customers. 

So, what can your business do to launch its first program and build that coveted consumer loyalty? Read on for tips on how you to format the experience and keep previous buyers coming back.  

Tip 1: Offer Gifts & Exclusive Product Access

Omnichannel loyalty programs work best when they make their customers feel valued and appreciated. This can be accomplished through occasional gifts and exclusive access to certain products or deals.

In a recent survey, 61% of consumers said that the most important way a brand can interact with them is to surprise them with a reward for their loyalty.

Rewards can come in the form of savings, freebies, event tickets and other gifts that non-members aren’t receiving, similar to how Sephora offers birthday gifts, seasonal discounts and points-based rewards exclusively to customers enrolled in its Beauty Insider program. 

list of rewards for members of Sephora's Beauty Insider loyalty program
Source: Sephora

 It’s worth calling out that Sephora’s loyalty program is integrated into both their digital and in-store experiences; customers can rack up points whether they choose to shop online or in-stores, and won’t ever get away form the checkout counter without first being asked, “Would you like to use your points on anything?” 

When deciding which benefits to offer within your company’s omnichannel loyalty program, consider the channels in which users will receive said perks. Think about whether they’ll value digital gifts (like cash back or virtual gift cards), deliveries (physical gifts delivered straight to their door) or in-store perks (discounts or invitations to special events)—or a combination—to provide the most compelling experience. 

Tip 2: Be Social 

Make your loyalty program truly omnichannel by engaging with customers outside of the context of their purchases. In other words, meet them on the social media channels where they hang out (not just the channels where they shop) and engage with them on a more personal level.

You can still weave your loyalty program into the experience. In fact, you can incentivize your customers to provide their social media information or follow your branded account in exchange for loyalty points.

Once you’re connected with your customers on social media, you can engage with them in a new way. Instead of relying on email marketing updates about their loyalty perks, you can communicate with them through the channels they check every day. 

You can also offer rewards for buyers who post about your brand online, simultaneously creating a way to collect UGC and widen your brand reach. Consumers who are not already members (or even a customer of your brand) may be enticed to join your loyalty program after seeing social media posts featuring its perks and its happy customers. 

Ipsy, a subscription box beauty retailer, leverages Instagram to promote discounted add-on items for members of its monthly service. 

Instagram post by Ispy showing subscription box add-ons

In the example above, the caption contains a clear call-to-action and points out the perks of being part of its community. Additionally, Ipsy includes relevant hashtags and tags the beauty brands that are being promoted in the image. To top things off, it invites members and customers to share their experiences with the brand, amplifying the reach of its post.

By continuing to engage with customers after the point-of-sale through channels that they frequent regularly, you can become a bigger influence in your buyers’ everyday lives.

Tip 3: Customize the Experience to Personal Lifestyles

While trickier to implement, your brand should strive to offer customized experiences for each individual. In fact, 63% of customers say they expect individualized treatment from brands they engage with. 

Ideally, your omnichannel loyalty program should make it easy for your customers to shop however they want and feature rewards that are most relevant to their lifestyle.

For example, through quick quizzes and past purchases, Ipsy is able to develop an understanding of what kind of beauty products each of their customers prefers.

They tailor their offers and recommended products to their members over email, listing the featured product deal and the reasoning behind why the product is a good match for the individual.

personalized product recommendation by Ipsy

These deals work in parallel with loyalty rewards that are more broadly featured on Ipsy’s social media account and website. However, the company uses email and customer account profiles to create a more private, personalized shopping experience for each member. 

As another example, pet supplies company, Pet Wish Pros, offers an Autoship program that conveniently ships pet supplies to buyers’ doorsteps and lets buyers set the terms of their own subscription boxes. As a reward for joining the program, the company offers a 5% discount on Purina items and 10% of all other items in perpetuity. New members also receive 15% off their first purchase, making the program a no-brainer if they have pets to feed everyday.   

Needless to say, these personalization efforts drive higher levels of consumer engagement. It helps to make people feel more connected to and recognized by your company, helping to build good will.

The Bottom Line: Omnichannel Loyalty Programs Make Consumers Feel Valued

Omnichannel loyalty programs extend your brand beyond the point-of-sale and help it become involved in various aspects of a consumer’s lifestyle. Because of this, your brand’s better positioned to meet customer preferences, turn one-time purchases into repeat sales and build a reputation that exists outside of channels like Amazon.  

Customers will be attracted to the exclusive deals and access your program affords them, alongside the seamlessness of your services across channels.

Sydney is an editorial associate supporting ecommerce and retail content for Clutch.

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