Is your rewards program outdated? Evolve your rewards with these 4 leading initiatives

It’s 2019, and reward programs are no longer one-size-fits-all.

To turn a casual shopper into an engaged, life-time customer, creating brand loyalty is a priority you can’t afford to skimp on.

Ready to revamp your reward program? EML shares the top four loyalty program trends created for brands just like yours, with personalisation, cash and influencers front and centre.

  1. Discounts to Cash Rewards
    As the old saying goes, money talks. We’re seeing a trend of companies moving towards cash-incentive programs that pay out a certain percentage or fixed amount in the form of a cheque, statement credit, or gift card. Most credit cards have moved to this form of rewards program, with many retailers following suit. Cash rewards are also ideal for mobile usage as well, being easier to deal with than handling multiple apps, coupons or vouchers for redemption.
    How it works
    Financial services company, Discover, recently made the move to cash rewards to enhance their customer loyalty strategy of providing simpler and more meaningful ways for card members to earn rewards. They dropped their Discover Deals program and launched a 5% cash back program. The change to a 100 per cent cash-back rewards program was a success with <insert success metrics here>.
  2. Personalised Rewards through Data
    Customising your customers rewards experience provides a personalised service. The good news? It’s now easier than ever because of the overwhelming amount of information companies are able to gather on their clients. Through ‘data capture’, personalising a campaign in a meaningful way gives businesses the opportunity to truly connect with the customers they’re looking to nurture.
    How it works
    In 2017 footwear retailer, DSW, launched a personalised email campaign to drive their rewards program. The email included the customer’s name, reward points total, active offers, and how much more they needed to spend to receive a $10.00 gift certificate. The campaign was a hit, and DSW saw a 60 per cent increase in open rates, and a 13 per cent higher click-through rate.
    This is an example of data in action. Keeping your customer communication personalised and frequent keeps members engaged, loyal and incentivised to spend more with your brand. When looking to create a successful rewards program like DSW’s, choosing a platform that will leverage a reward program that’s flexible and adaptable with today and in the future is essential. Through EML Payments Rewards program, businesses gain insight into their success with real-time reporting. This allows them to know which users are driving real bottom-line business results, track spend, social activity, visits and feedback to continuously monitor and improve.
  3. Paid Loyalty Programs
    Paid loyalty programs are on the rise. Loyalty programs are becoming more than discounts and punch cards, customers want an experience they can remember, makes their lives easier and adds value; even if it costs money to get it.
    How it works
    Look to the biggest online retailer, Amazon, for a successful paid loyalty program. Today, there’s much more than free shipping with your yearly Amazon Prime subscription. There’s music streaming services, TV shows and movies and faster delivery just to name a few services.
    For retailers in industries where products and price points are similar across competitors, a unique loyalty program can become the differentiator for competitive advantage. Give your customers a reason to shop exclusively with you. By charging a membership fee, you’re able to give better deals and perks.
  4. Influencer Rewards Programs
    One of the newest forms of reward programs, the rise of social media has seen influencer reward programs sky rocket. Aligning with social media influencers with large followings, influencers will advertise a company’s products in exchange for a percentage from the sales they generate, usually through a discount code or tracking code.
    How it works
    In 2016, companies who introduced an ‘influencer marketing strategy’ to their marketing plan saw $11.69 in earned media value for every $1.00 spent. That’s a 4.4 per cent year-on-year increase, with one of these companies being online retailer, Nordstrom. With an estimated 74 per cent of mobile traffic coming from referrals, Nordstrom is cashing-in on its influencer rewards strategy.

Ready to revamp your reward program?

Reward programs are competitive, so make sure you cut through the noise by prioritising the needs of your customers and always delivering on your brand’s values. Through constant innovation and customer communication, you will deepen your relationship, stay top of mind, and build brand loyalty that will turn customers into brand ambassadors.

Here at EML payments, we utilise the latest technology and card features to manage experiences and deliver personalised rewards in real time. Designing a flexible and tailored rewards program that influences consumer behaviour and fosters brand loyalty is how you’ll generate incremental sales and profits. Contact us if you’re ready to learn how to attract and retain loyal customers through a rewards program that will grow your business now and into the future.

Talk to an EML reward programs expert and see what works best for you and your business.