Designing an Effective Frequent Buyer Award Program

BY Rachel Cagle
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It’s true, frequent buyer award programs help casual customers become avid shoppers using incentives and savings. But there are a lot of frequent buyer award programs out there, and many are for businesses similar to your client’s own. So, how can your client make their rewards program stand out so that they are the go-​to business in their market?

Creating a Frequent Buyer Award Program

A recent Merkle study says that frequent buyer award programs must be combined with other compelling brand touchpoints to create a truly effective overarching loyalty strategy. "These touchpoints must fuel an omnichannel connected customer journey — one that doesn’t just persuade customers to buy, but earns their trust and continued business.”

Loyalty members say that the top reasons they stick with frequent buyer award programs include:

  • Discounts: 39%
  • The Ability to Earn Free Products: 30%
  • Members-​Only Benefits: 11%

On the flip side, aspects of frequent buyer award programs that they hate are:

  • That it Takes too Long to Earn a Reward: 45%
  • That it’s difficult to Earn a Reward: 34%
  • They Get Rewards that aren’t Valuable: 24%

Your clients need to make sure that their customers’ primary desires are accounted for while making their concerns nonissues. They can’t make their customers jump through hoops for months just to earn the discounts and free products they signed up for, especially if the rewards end up being lackluster. How do your clients make sure their rewards are desirable to their customers? Like most aspects of servicing customers, the answer is simply to ask.

According to Merkle, 85% of shoppers say they would prefer to choose the rewards and benefits they receive themselves. If your client would rather have control of the personalization of their program, they should keep in mind that there’s a fine line between impressive and creepy in terms of information gathering. “Consumers aren’t comfortable with excessive data collection and prefer that brands use the information specifically provided,” says Merkle. “When designing your loyalty experience, ensure a balance between tailored experiences based on data and providing members with the ability to drive their own experience.”

12.3% of U.S. adults have a minimum of 10 frequent buyer award program cards/​apps that they regularly use, according to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. Make sure your clients know how to reach these Loyalty Card/​App Users by utilizing their marketing, demographic and purchasing information available on their audience profiles. And make sure you help your clients market that loyalty program.