Acquiring new items excites customers across the world, but how can brands prolong this positive emotion and turn it into a long-term relationship? The answer lies in loyalty programs and here are 10 excellent examples of such.
Ever since we started shopping online, it has involved a thrill of excitement; even though the process itself is quickly evolving, the experience of acquiring new things brings out a sense of adventure. Searching for products we need can easily become a fun journey but it is possible to make it even more engaging when, besides products, you also gain something extra at no cost, just for choosing to trade with a business that you really like and believe in. Loyalty programs make sure that as a client we feel satisfied and happy with our transactions.
Below are ten loyalty programs that did it right, each with one particular set of mechanics that differentiates them from their competition.
TOP 10 loyalty programs in eCommerce
1. Swarovski’s loyalty program
Swarovski is a well-known crystal producer. This Austrian-based company has almost 3,000 shops in about 170 countries. Swarovski is one of the oldest businesses in this report with its founding date in 1895.
Be Swarovski is a members-only loyalty program which offers exclusive gifts and rewards:
- 20% voucher (if you spend more than $300 in a calendar year)
- a loyalty gift voucher (if you spend more than $600 in a calendar year)
- a birthday surprise
- fashion news
- invitations to exclusive sneak peek and design previews
- priority access to new collections and members-only savings
How to sign up to Be Swarovski?
If a user already owns an account on the website, he/she needs to log in and just below the email address, the user can see the option: “Be Swarovski membership details”. After inserting their membership number and clicking “Save”, the user will get a notification that their details have been registered to their account.
Mechanics of Swarovski’s loyalty program
Swarovski is considered to be a luxury brand, so in order to keep that perception, their program needed to be a luxury as well. Thanks to exclusive rewards (invitations to events, priority access) the connection between loyalty program and the brand itself seems seamless and unforced.
2. Sephora’s loyalty program
Sephora is a French chain of beauty supply stores with over 2300 retail shops in 33 countries, that offers a wide assortment of products from selected brands. Its merchandise varies from makeup and skincare to perfume.
Sephora Beauty Insider was launched in 2007. The loyalty program consists of points and tiers. Spending $1 equals 1 point. Earning enough points allows customers to redeem rewards – usually deluxe product samples – and it also divides users into three tiers.
How to sign up to Sephora Beauty Insider?
Signing up is quite simple. A User needs to fill in an application form through the Sephora website, mobile app (iOS/Android) or in store.
Mechanics of Sephora’s loyalty program
Being a part of the program offers users access to the Beauty Insider Community, a place where beauty-lovers can exchange their opinions, advice, product reviews, and share them with each other. In the meantime, users incorporate merchandise to every conversation which allows them to get to know products and hence, improve their believability.
The platform allows users to interact by:
- posting pictures showing a product/products and the makeup looks they have created with them
- joining groups
- engaging in conversations
- participating in community events
3. Gilt’s loyalty program
Gilt is an online shopping site that is based in the USA. The company provides access to high-end designer merchandise with time-limited sales at steep discounts. Gilt became well known because of their daily flash sales. The company offers a wide variety of products, from clothes to home decor.
Gilt’s Insider was launched in 2009. Their tier based loyalty program divides their customers into four categories based on the number of points they have managed to earn.
Earning points is simple; users get 5 points for every dollar they spend (and 25 points for referring a friend).
How to sign up to Gilt’s Insider?
Each user that registers through the website or mobile app automatically takes part in the program.
Mechanics of Gilt’s loyalty program
Gilt’s program is all about exclusivity and giving a selected group of the most loyal shoppers early access to the products. The highest tier – Noir – is extremely hard to get into but offers not only twice as many benefits but also bragging rights. Noir members get a one-hour preview of sales, invitations to private events, waitlist priority and dedicated customer service. The early access is without a doubt the core benefit and the main reason why members want to get into the highest tier so eagerly.
4. Sigma’s loyalty program
Sigma is a cosmetics company based in the USA. Sigma was founded in 2008 as a producer of makeup brushes only. Through the years they have extended their offer to incorporate more makeup products.
Sigma PRO is an exclusive program for selected beauty professionals. The program offers a discount on all Sigma merchandise, a welcome package, including a Sigma PRO card, exclusive information available only to Sigma PRO members, and Sigma credit ($10) for each approved friend they refer. To qualify, a user needs to have a valid Sigma account and complete a Sigma PRO online application or send the application by mail.
Besides PRO, Sigma also holds another loyalty program – The Pink Perks – a points based program where for every $1 spent the user receives 1 point. Points can be later redeemed for the Pink Perks dollars that can be spent in Sigma stores.
How to sign up?
There are four categories of professionals who can qualify:
- VIP: users can join only after being sent an invitation (applies to celebrity, high fashion, film and TV makeup artists)
- Working Makeup Artist (after providing required documents to ensure eligibility)
- Student (only applies to students of cosmetology, esthiology or makeup artistry)
- Creative Professionals (models, actors, performers, stylists, photographers, on-air talents)
Mechanics of Sigma’s loyalty program
Sigma focuses this program on consumers who will most likely spend much more on makeup products than the average buyer. Making sure that the professionals are satisfied with their purchase might allow them to become business advocates (which considering the number of beauty gurus using sigma brushes certainly seems to be working out well). The combination of Sigma PRO and Pink Perks allows the company to reach out to every type of client.
5. Amazon’s loyalty program
Amazon is without a doubt the biggest e-commerce company in the world. This US-based giant was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. Amazon started as an online bookstore to later become an all-around seller of software, apparel, furniture and much, much more.
Amazon Prime is a paid program launched in 2005 that gives its members access to benefits consisting of two-day delivery, free streaming of videos and music for a monthly ($12.99) or annual fee ($99/$49).
The program also gives users a chance to invite a friend for a reward of $5 Prime Referral Credit.
How to sign up to Amazon Prime?
To become a prime member, users need to have a standard account that can be later upgraded to a prime account (each user gets a 30-day free trial).
Mechanics of Amazon’s loyalty program
Amazon incorporated pay2play mechanics into their program. The biggest plus of Amazon Prime is its simplicity. Users do not have to collect points, are not divided into tiers, there are no hidden rules, if you pay for a subscription, you get faster delivery, free books, music and movies. Considering the longevity of the program (13 years!) being straightforward with your clients might pay off.
6. EB Games’ loyalty program
EB Games is an American company founded in 1977 – a computer and video games seller. Originally, EB mainly sold calculators and digital watches, then expanded their assortment to include computers, software, games and games accessories.
The Edge is a reward program based on a points system. Members collect points for every purchase, pre-order and trade that they make at EB Games.
Users are rewarded:
- 1 point =$1 – for buying a new product
- 2 points = $1 – for buying a recycled product
- 2 points = $1 – for trading in used products
- 20 points for pre-ordering any product
- 100 points for completing the EB Games profile
- 150 points for adding 6 games to the “I have” section on their games library
How to sign up to Edge?
In order to join, a user has to sign up in-store or online. Membership is free. However, EB allows users to become a member of the Onyx Edge tier for $14.99.
Mechanics of EB’s loyalty program
EB incorporated a tier system into their program. It is a great solution for businesses who want to encourage users to buy more frequently, and repetitively, by creating an urge to be a part of the higher, more elite tier. That urge might be responsible for changing users’ buying behaviors.
7. Nike’s loyalty program
Nike is an American company founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight that became a world leader in supplying sports shoes and apparel. In addition to sportswear and being a sponsor of a huge number of professional athletes, Nike has become an ambassador of the active lifestyle.
Nike Plus is a loyalty program that allows its members to access various benefits including:
- unlocking members-only gear
- expert guidance
- unique experiences with Nike Plus Unlocks (access to Nike Experts on Demand, Exclusive Shop, “Reserved for you”)
- same day delivery
- extended shopping hours (in selected stores)
How to sign up to Nike Plus?
To join, users need to register online at Nike.com or within any of the Nike apps. Membership in the program is free.
Mechanics of Nike’s loyalty program
Nike is well known as an ambassador for the active lifestyle, so the incorporation of getting rewards for workouts does not come as a surprise. The company offers exclusive products (custom t-shirts, running products) as a reward for running with Nike Run Club (NRC) and doing workouts with the Nike Training Club (NTC).
8. Shein’s loyalty program
Shein is an online clothes retailer that was founded in 2008 in North Brunswick, New Jersey. The company offers low price clothing to women in over 80 countries worldwide.
Shein Bonus Points is a program that allows users to collect points and then spend them to get discounts on purchases from Shein. Every dollar spent on the merchandise equals 1 point.
The company also offers:
- 100 points for signing up to Shein and verifying the account
- 100 points for completing the profile
- 10 points for commenting with six measurements
- 20 points for commenting with a picture
- 5 points for comments shared on Facebook
- 10 points for sharing a product on Facebook
- 5 points for sharing a product on Twitter
- 30 points for sharing a product on Youtube
- 8 points for sharing a product on Lookbook
- 6 points for sharing a product on Wanelo
- 6 points for sharing a product on Polyvore
Every 100 points equal $1. Users can pay for up to 70% of their purchases with their points.
How to sign up to Shane Bonus Points?
In order to become a member of the program, a user must register an account through the website or a mobile app.
Mechanics of Shane’s loyalty program
Shein decided to incorporate brand ambassador mechanics by allowing members of the program to earn points for sharing their merchandise on social media.
9. H&M’s loyalty program
H&M is a Swedish clothing retailer with over 4 thousand shops all over the globe. This clothing company started out as “Hennes”, which sold only women’s clothes in 1947, and as they merged with Mauritz Widforss they added men’s clothes to their product range.
H&M Club is a loyalty program based on a points system where for every purchase users get the assigned number of points (depending on the country’s currency).
Points can be then exchanged for rewards consisting of:
- discounts on selected items (shorts, t-shirts)
- gift cards to use with program partners
- exclusive hotel stays
- visits to movie sets
How to sign up to H&M Club?
In order to sign up, users must register their Club account either online, through the website or a mobile app (iOS/Android) or offline in any of H&M stores.
Mechanics of H&M loyalty program
Notice how H&M does not offer any free products only discounts on some categories. This allows the user to pick a reward that will suit them rather than picking a piece of clothing they will never wear. When the business has a rather large selection of merchandise it is much better to let the customer pick a reward for themselves.
10. Canon’s loyalty program
Canon is an 80 years old company, delivering imaging technologies to customers across the world. Canon has since then grown to become a global business that offers solutions for a wide range of markets including business solutions, consumer imaging, Broadcast & Communications, Medical systems, and industrial products.
Canon Europe launched the Print Rewards – loyalty program for users to earn points every time they print. Print Rewards is a points system where for every page printed using genuine Canon ink, the user gets 1 point.
The program also offers points for:
- signing up – 100 points
- installing a new Canon cartridge – 10 points
Gathering a sufficient amount of points allows users to join one of three tiers.
How to sign up to Print Rewards?
Print Rewards has been launched alongside Canon’s new PIXMA printers. Users who are setting up their printers for the first time receive an automatic prompt which will guide them to the Print Rewards set up whilst installing the printer’s software.
Mechanics of Canon’s loyalty program
Canon’s program is particularly distinctive because it is focused on just one product – cartridges. This is a great example of how a loyalty program can boost the sales of a product that a company is really passionate about or just needs to be selling better.
Are loyalty programs worth it?
As you can see, creating a fitting loyalty program for your business might take time and thought but considering the examples above, it really is worth making sure that the program fits your company like a glove and provides users with both an enjoyable experience and reassurance that the company really cares about them.
Published December 6, 2018