Loyalty rewards programs that give shoppers perks based on spending are widespread and popular. More than 7 in 10 consumers belong to at least one loyalty rewards club, according to Forrester Research, with most participants holding an average of nine memberships.
Forrester confirmed that loyalty club members spend more than other brand customers; additionally, shoppers are increasingly willing to pay for premium-level perks such as free shipping, giving merchants still further bottom-line incentive to maximize loyalty programming. Among all consumers, 37% are willing to pay a fee for top-tier membership -- and that number goes up among younger shoppers, with fully 46% of Millennials and 47% of Generation Z open to paying for membership, Bond Brand Loyalty found.
So although a crush of promotions may crowd the holiday calendar, merchants should find opportunities to highlight loyalty offerings and encourage gift shoppers to join as a means of establishing connections for future engagement. Among the loyalty club services most relevant to holiday shoppers:
- Price cuts. More than three quarters of shoppers say loyalty clubs save them money, so merchants should highlight potential savings alongside regular pricing. In so doing, sellers are taking a page from Amazon’s playbook; the online giant now highlights discount pricing for members of its Prime free-shipping club on blue placards throughout the aisles of Whole Foods locations.
- Shipping perks. Holiday shoppers are obsessed with on-time delivery of gifts, so merchants should promote members’ discounted access to expedited shipping services as cutoff dates approach.
- Time savings. Saved shopping lists and payment data, easy reordering, quick access to discount codes or coupons, and VIP order pickup lanes in stores for rewards members can incentivize time-starved holiday shoppers to sign up.
- Exclusive personal services. Members-only access to personal gift shopping services or tech support not only benefit subscribers by saving time; they also encourage the one-to-one interactions that establish brand credibility and rapport. Automated services can be part of the dedicated club offering, as 95% of loyalty club members say they want to engage with their programs through emerging technology such as chatbots.
- Advance access. Sneak peeks to new product releases or seasonal merchandise gives loyalty club members a head start when it comes to securing popular gift items; merchants could even experiment with members-only store hours that prioritize entry on crowded days such as Black Friday.
As merchants head into the crucial holiday season, it’s more important than ever to deliver ubiquitous, proactive service. With comprehensive content development, attention to execution across touchpoints, and a commitment to fostering loyalty, merchants can deliver the standout service that wins sales and earns loyalty. By implementing solid conversational commerce strategies now, your brand will be ahead of the game this holiday season.
You can learn more about the customer experience and how automating the shopper experience can engage your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using an automated shopper experience platform as part of their customer experience strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.