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New loyalty should ‘give’ before it ‘receives’

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Traditional loyalty programs force customers to give and give and give before they get something from the retailer. That’s not loyalty. That’s not being aligned. Traditional loyalty simply trains customers to go to whoever has the lowest price.

Premium loyalty is the opposite. It’s about brands and customers committing to each other from the start. It’s about brands aligning with their customers and giving upfront.

If a retailer wants a customer to remain loyal, its loyalty program must offer added value and upfront right from the start.
When you want to listen to your favorite artist, what do you do? Do you go to the store and buy a CD? Most people simply log in to Spotify and stream it. It’s the same with picking a movie on Netflix. Think of the companies that offer you services that are instant. How often do you engage with those brands?

If instant gratification is the expectation now, why should loyalty programs be any different? The younger generation especially strives for instant gratification and the time-saving. That means that the customers of today (and tomorrow) don’t want to wait around. They don’t want to have to spend to accumulate points.

Why make them wait for coupons to shop? The beauty of premium loyalty is that these programs allow members to enjoy those benefits immediately. That’s the beauty of Amazon Prime. Members don’t have to wait to get free shipping. They can engage with the program right away.

But it doesn’t end at the beginning. Your customers should be able to use these benefits whenever they want to.

When consumers are given benefits to save money, are treated exceptionally and receive a more personal experience, it brings more pleasure to his or her shopping journey.

As consumers, we shop no matter what. If that shopping experience starts with a red carpet and ends with white-glove service, then you can bet we’d be motivated to come back for that experience, especially since we’re already paying for it.

To keep your customers coming back, be there for them with great value and provide it at all times. Lids does a great job of this. With their Access Pass Premium loyalty program, members get 20 percent off all hat purchases for a $5 annual membership fee. Once a customer is a member of that program, why would they go anywhere else to buy a hat?

Premium loyalty programs attract your top-tier customers. These are the people that are willing to pay for a program that adds a lot of value to their lives. Therefore, they are more committed to a brand and engage more regularly.

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