Instant rewards might sound a little impulsive. Maybe even reckless, especially with new customers who haven’t proven their loyalty to your brand just yet.
But…new research says otherwise. Here is what we know happens when designing your loyalty program:
54% of UK consumers believe it “takes too long to earn rewards with loyalty schemes.”
The research also found that 27% of people stop using reward programs because of how long it takes them to get any benefits.
When picking the sub-loyalty programs to work with, or at least test, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the number of options that look promising but may require some work on your end.
Some programs even incorporate multiple loyalty elements that might feel confusing at first for a customer to understand and use. They may even be confusing for you to use as a merchant or marketing manager.
This begs the question:
Which strategies should you use to avoid confusing customers and bombarding them with too much information?
In this article, we’re focusing on what an instant reward is, what the rewarding process can be and should be like, and how to use instant rewards to increase customer loyalty in your e-commerce store.
Table of Contents
Before you think about giving out instant rewards to your customers, let’s show you how they work. And why they can be a great tool to increase customer loyalty.
Let’s use a referral program as an example. There are two parties involved in the referral process to start with. The referrer and the referred or the friend.
When you design a referral program, you need to think about a few things. These are:
The rewarding journey requires you to inform the customer that they have earned a reward, choose a convenient type of reward, and most importantly, decide on how they would benefit from this reward.
You don’t want to complicate the rewarding process, though. Otherwise, customers might end up losing interest midway or even early on in the rewards program.
Let’s imagine the following scenario:
Here is an example of a rewarding experience that could seem a bit too much in some cases:
This was even too long for you to read, right?
Now Imagine having to make all these small decisions for this experience – and other experiences – in your program. Imagine having to explain the whole journey to the customer step-by-step.
Don’t worry! There are now multiple ways you can simplify this. Here is another rewarding experience: When a customer completes an action of any kind or even a sequence of actions.
From the customer’s perspective, there’s nothing complicated to comprehend there. And for you, it’s a lot less planning and implementing.
This loyalty methodology is called Instant rewarding. And it’s a great way to build and increase customer retention.
Instant rewarding does not only provide the final form of a reward to be used right away. It also provides the fastest and most reliable way to use this reward.
According to InsiderIntelligence.com, these are the main reasons why consumers have started using loyalty programs more frequently:
“Amid inflating prices and deflating brand loyalty, programs that unlock deals and discounts are key for brands to retain customers. Around the world, 56% of consumers said they’re more likely to buy from a brand with a loyalty program, but 64% of loyalty program members don’t redeem rewards more than a few times a year. Consumers are looking not just for personalized perks, but for perks that don’t make them jump through hoops.”Insider Intelligence
This brings us to the next question: How can I apply instant rewards to my loyalty program?
Imagine visiting a website for the first time. Then you see a pop-up notification telling you about the store’s loyalty program and encouraging you to register to win a $15 coupon to use on your first purchase. What will your next action be?
Once you sign up, you receive a notification with the earned coupon, ready for you to use at checkout. Will you consider making a purchase right away? Or would you disregard it and move on?
When a guest signs up, they’re still discovering your platform as well as your loyalty experience. Giving them a welcome reward leaves a positive first impression. Plus, it’s a great way to get customers to complete first orders and increase acquisition and sales.
Customer segmentation is an excellent way to group customers based on shared attributes and reward them. It’s also a great tool to build loyalty and offer a personalized customer experience.
“Personalized email marketing is proven to increase open rates and drive revenue by as much as 760% because it helps marketers give subscribers more relevant, individualized content.”(business.com)
Let’s take Mother’s Day as an example. Sending all your female customers or mothers (if you have segmented your customers accordingly) an email with a 25% discount coupon they can use right away is always a nice gesture.
Nothing is sweeter than celebrating a particular day or occasion with a customer. It helps you build a customer-brand bond.
Customer acquisition is always a challenging part of marketing, including your loyalty marketing strategy. Usually, e-commerce businesses measure acquisition when a customer makes their first purchase.
Once this is done, the next challenge becomes retaining that customer. Customer retention is often measured by looking at your average repeat purchases.
That’s why rewarding customers after their first purchase with a gift such as free shipping can encourage them to come back and buy another product.
Here is what it would look like for a customer browsing your e-commerce store:
“Finished your first order? Great! Here is a Free shipping coupon to use on your next order.”
This instant reward acts as an incentive for customers to come back.
Building a personalized experience and rewarding customers based on segments changes the game. Addressing your customers for who they are, leaves a huge impact and builds the customer loyalty you want.
Whether or not the customer is going to use the coupon gift, celebrating a customer’s birthday delivers the message that they are seen by your brand.
Here is how you can celebrate their birthday in one step:
Create an automated email that gets sent to each customer on their birthday with celebrative gestures like “Happy birthday,” and gift them with a ready-to-use $10 fixed amount coupon that they can apply and use just by clicking on a CTA.
Many of the world’s best beauty loyalty programs like The Body Shop, Ulta, and Sephora do this.
P.S: you can do the same thing with anniversaries. Celebrate the one-year anniversary of your customer joining your loyalty program or celebrate completing two years of operation and invite your customer to participate in your success.
To reward customers on special days or events, use their registration date while configuring the automated email.
Who doesn’t like a surprise coupon gift while randomly browsing an online store?
When customers learn they’re being rewarded for something they have done, they’ll get an extra special flavor with your brand that will put a smile on their faces and make them more inclined to shop at your store than a competitor’s.
To keep the element of surprise, the ideal way to communicate these types of rewards is through a popup notification that congratulates the customer and briefly explains why they’re being rewarded along with the actual coupon reward.
This raises a final question: How am I going to communicate with my customers these instant rewards to ensure they’re successfully used?
There is one way to communicate with your guest (visitor) and two ways to communicate with your customers.
In-app messages and notifications could have different forms, such as small or big popups, toasties, banners, and so on.
They’ve proven effective when it comes to informing customers of a reward they earned or simply to share a piece of news or an update with them.
Email notifications are often used in email marketing strategies. Emails are a widely-used tool to inform and reward customers for accomplishments of any kind.
There are countless ideas to reward your customers without them having to go through a long maze-like process before they actually benefit from you and get a reward.
In this article, we’ve only presented some ideas and tools which can help you create and offer instant rewards to customers. Knowing this, you can create your customer engagement strategy and offer a beneficial and fun, rewarding experience.
If you still need help applying these ideas and setting up your successful customer loyalty and rewards program, then add Gameball to your online store. If you’re on Shopify, just add Gameball from the Shopify app store.
Got questions about instant rewards or loyalty programs in general, email us at email@example.com.