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5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty Programs

5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty Programs

Are you an ecommerce entrepreneur looking to get more from your customer base?  A customer loyalty program entices loyal shoppers to make purchases (or actions) more frequently in exchange for benefits. These benefits can take many forms, as you will see below.

Meanwhile, research shows loyalty program memberships are seeing steady growth. Couple this with the fact that “return shoppers are the best shoppers,” and you can see why customer loyalty programs are surging in popularity among ecommerce vendors.

Here are five ways to build customer loyalty programs.

A Point-Based System

With this strategy, the more a customer spends (or the more actions they complete), the more points they get in return. These can be traded for goods and services (the “choice” or “exchange” model), or you can reward the shopper with predetermined bonuses (the “threshold” or “payout” model).

Different stores can employ this in different ways.

One store looking to maximize big-ticket sales might reward one point for every order over $50. Meanwhile, another e-store might favor return users over big orders, and award one point for each order processed. There is no right or wrong answer here. There is only what works and what doesn’t to achieve your ecommerce goals.

Rewards Galore

If you decide to reward your shoppers with points, you’ll want to determine what those points can do. Again, this will be entirely dependent upon the kind of e-store you run. It may be best in your case to offer free shipping in exchange for 10 points. Shoppers tend to really appreciate free shipping.

But what if you don’t like the exchange model?

You can reward your most loyal consumers with prearranged benefits. If a customer has over 200 points you might give them first dibs on new merchandise—or you could throw in automatic freebies for shoppers in the 300-point range.

Going Social

Another option is to compensate consumers for actions rather than purchases. A great place to do this is over social media. Encourage your shoppers to share unique referral links via Facebook or Instagram with friends and family. When these links are subsequently used to complete an order on your site, benefit your promoter with exclusive discounts or points. Customer loyalty programs can also be used to facilitate your marketing efforts in this fashion.

Rewarding Causes

Empowering customer to donate their points to a cause (such as wildlife preservation or combatting homelessness) is a very powerful option.

Suppose a buyer earns one point for each $10 spent. This shopper purchases $60 worth of goods from you store, so they have six points. At the end of the order, the user is prompted to donate their points across a handful of causes. They can decide to donate all six points to one cause or one point to six causes, or whatever combination they prefer. This gives customers a chance to give back in an easy, fun way.

Alternatively, you could ask for open donations to charitable causes in exchange for extra points. While an order of $50 might earn one point, a donation of $10 earns one point.

The points can then be exchanged for goods or services as discussed before.

With a Little Help from Your Friends

Joining with a number of partners, you can create a collaborative customer loyalty program. If a customer earns points through one or several participating e-stores, they can spend them with any other store. Admittedly, this can be a little confusing for shoppers, so it must be explained carefully. To keep things simple, feature a list of partner icons on your website. These can be quickly added and updated through free website themes from providers like Shopify.

Those who enjoy deal hunting, really appreciate coalition programs.

In conclusion, customer loyalty programs are wonderfully effective at keeping customers in the fold. By finding and adopting the right strategy for your business, you too can keep shopper coming back for more.


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