While loyalty programs have become a must-have feature of most companies’ acquisition and retention strategy, many of these programs are failing at actually creating loyal customers. According to a recent Accenture report, 71% of respondents said that loyalty programs didn’t make them any more loyal. Punch cards, points for spend, and irrelevant discounts sent to the masses aren’t the best avenue for developing a committed customer base.

Rather, it’s time to step away from rewarding based solely on monetary transactions, and begin providing incentives for non-transactional behaviors. A good loyalty program recognizes the customer on an individual level, meets their needs and creates an enjoyable experience. It’s difficult to provide this type of customer experience exclusively at the point of sale. In this blog post, we’ll discuss different types of non-transactional behaviors to reward, plus some real-life examples of companies employing these strategies well. Keep reading to learn more!

Challenge Participation

One way to value customers beyond their wallets is to reward them for completing certain challenges. For example: create a limited-time offer for participants who complete a 5K, or offer students a coupon during exams week. According to Colloquy 36% of consumers have opted into a loyalty program that offers rewards for leading a healthier lifestyle, while 87% of consumers would be more likely to join one if it offered points for activities like exercise, energy conservation or recycling.

Real-life example

In order to demonstrate an understanding of their customers’ interests and promote a healthy lifestyle, Reebok provided those that registered for the 2016 CrossFit Open with a $20-off coupon. A consumer who received this offer would be incentivized to make a purchase. Perhaps they could use a new pair of sneakers for the competition, so they visit the online store. While browsing they also find a pair of shorts they like and purchase those as well. As a result of offering that coupon for a non-transactional behavior, Reebok not only fostered good-will among customers, but also motivated customers to re-engage with the brand and potentially spend more money.

Interaction with Content

Rewarding customers who interact with your content--social posts, videos and other materials--is another great way to make your loyalty program stand out and cultivate deeper interactions with customers. Most brands are creating a ton of content, but few are leveraging it to extract maximum value.

Real-life example

One company doing an incredible job of this is the professional ice hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens. In their Club 1909 rewards program they provide codes on their social media posts, in-game broadcasts on radio and television, and through team sponsors. These codes can then be redeemed in the app to earn points towards discounts on merchandise, raffles for autographed memorabilia, and access to exclusive once-in-a-lifetime events. This incentivizes fans to interact with the team on a daily basis through a number of different channels -- even in the off-season -- to keep them top of mind.

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Social Responsibility

Non-transactional behaviors can be used to develop loyalty as well as promote corporate social responsibility. Companies utilizing their loyalty program to promote charitable foundations gain a wealth of information about what causes resonate with their consumers, and additionally receive a ton of good publicity.

Real-life example

One company doing this successfully is L’Oreal. Their “You’re Worth It” loyalty program allows members to donate points to one of ten charity organizations. Members rack up points not only for monetary spend, but also for simple actions such as following the company’s social pages which can add up to $30 worth of donations. Donating money to causes that are meaningful to your customers is a tremendous way to show loyalty to them, and that you care about their interests.  

In order to create a successful loyalty program brands must begin with the customer in mind. Your customers are, on average, part of nine different loyalty programs (Summit). Enticing them to join yours and reveal important data about themselves is not an easy task. By leveraging an outside-in-approach, where the strategy is based around what customers want from a program the company becomes equipped with the tools necessary to win all kinds of customer moments. Gaining insights into behavior, journeys and other vital information are a few reasons why successful loyalty programs are such an asset to have. Getting your customers to raise their hand and reveal themselves is difficult -- we know this, you know this, your competitors know this. That is why it’s so crucial to build a program that captures the consumer’s imagination, meets their needs and is enjoyable. These criteria aren’t monetary in nature, but what they add up to is crucial in providing increased revenue. 

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