If you are looking for ways to enhance your business and boost sales, creating a new loyalty card program can do just that. From better customer engagement to boosted brand awareness, loyalty programs are an excellent way to give back to your dedicated customers and encourage more people to buy from your business.
No matter your operation’s size, having loyalty card programs enhances your business and maximizes customer retention. Explore various loyalty card ideas and useful tips to help your business make the most of its program.
How Does a Business Loyalty Card Work?
A loyalty card is a token of a customer’s membership to your business community. The card creates a sense of belonging, promoting your business while helping everyone feel included.
Loyalty card programs are customizable depending on the type of business and your needs as the owner. Consider some examples of tailored loyalty programs:
- A grocery store opening early or staying open late for members-only hours.
- A retail store offering members discounts on specific items.
- A candy shop offering a free treat after eight visits.
- A movie theater allowing members to use a VIP line.
- A salon sending out special discount offers for loyalty members or providing priority scheduling.
6 Best Customer Loyalty Program Ideas
When creating a new customer loyalty card program, there are various ways to enhance your offerings and entice people to join. The following are successful loyalty card examples and ideas for how you can use a loyalty program to engage more customers:
1. Offer First-Time Purchase Discounts to New Customers
One way to encourage people to enroll in your loyalty program is to offer first-time purchase discounts to new customers. When someone signs up to be a cardholder, they will receive a special discount, such as 15% off their initial order. This model encourages new customers to spend money on your offerings, and it can inspire word-of-mouth marketing as current customers tell friends and family to sign up for the first-time purchase rewards.
Dick’s Sporting Goods’ rewards program is a great example of this type of incentive. When a customer signs up for a ScoreRewards credit card through Dick’s, they will automatically earn $30 in bonus rewards in addition to the standard members-only offers and points system the business utilizes.
Adidas is another example of a business that uses first-time purchase discounts to entice customers to enroll in its rewards program. When customers sign up for the Adidas adiClub Membership Program, where they receive points for every dollar spent, they can unlock a year of free premium access to the Adidas Running and Training apps in addition to access to exclusive releases from the brand.
2. Present Special Offers in Exchange for Rewards Points
Another idea for loyalty card programs is to offer rewards points in exchange for purchases. After a cardholder hits certain spending thresholds, they are given points they can cash in for rewards, such as:
- Free products
- Gift cards
- Sweepstakes entries
A popular example of a business that presents special offers in exchange for reward points is Starbucks. When a customer enrolls in Starbucks Rewards, they earn Stars to redeem for free food and drinks. The company also offers Bonus Star challenges and Double Star Days to help customers reach the rewards thresholds sooner.
Chick-Fil-A also has a rewards points program called Chick-Fil-A One, where customers can receive points for qualifying purchases. Once the member accumulates a specific number of points, they can exchange them for rewards like a free sandwich or lemonade. Something unique Chick-Fil-A does is allow members who reach Silver Status to gift rewards to their friends and family.
Microsoft has Microsoft Rewards, where members can earn points by buying the brand’s products. When customers want to redeem their points, they can choose between gift cards or make a donation to the charitable cause of their choice.
Rewarding current shoppers retains customers and improves the perception of your business as one that gives back.
3. Run Special Events With Rewards and Limited-Time Offers
Businesses can also benefit from running special events and extending limited-time offers for members of their customer rewards programs. Events and birthday gifts or rewards encourage more customers to sign up for your loyalty programs and entice them to make a purchase when they may not have been planning to.
Birthday gifts are a popular example of this type of reward. For instance, Sephora’s Beauty Insider members can redeem free travel-sized product sets the month of their birthday without having to buy anything else or meet a specific points threshold.
Another business that offers special birthday gifts for loyalty card members is Jersey Mike’s. Customers with a MyMike’s account can get a free sub of their choosing on their birthday each year just for being part of the rewards program.
In addition to birthday offers, businesses can also host limited-time events for their loyalty program cardholders. For example, those who have a T.J. Maxx credit card can enjoy special shopping events with exclusive discounts periodically throughout the year. During some of the events, members can earn rewards certificates and cash back.
4. Give out Special Rewards for Referrals
Another loyalty program idea to get more customers excited about your business is to give out special rewards for referrals. It is an effective way to encourage your members to share their love of your products or services with their friends and family. That becomes word-of-mouth marketing for your business, which can translate to gaining more customers.
TGI Fridays offers Fridays Rewards, where members can rack up points for every dollar spent and redeem them for free food. The business occasionally runs special promotions where rewards program members can refer a friend to get free points added to their Fridays Rewards account.
The North Face also offers loyalty program members rewards for referrals. The brand’s XPLR Pass is a points-based program, and customers can receive 25 points for sending a referral link to friends to join.
5. Leverage Free Trials
Businesses can leverage free trials to effectively encourage shoppers to commit to their customer loyalty program and learn more about the benefits of enrolling.
Massive companies, such as Amazon, extend free 30-day trials for new members to try their loyalty program, Amazon Prime. During the trial, customers can enjoy the advantages of the program, including:
- Free order delivery
- Two-day delivery
- Access to the Amazon Prime Video catalog
- Exclusive deals and discounts
- Prime Reading
- Prime Gaming
- Amazon Photos
Nintendo is another example of a business that uses free trials to engage customers and convert them into committed members of their loyalty program. The MyNintendo program offers users a free seven-day trial of the paid Nintendo Switch Online service, which allows them to access exclusive games.
After completing a free trial, customers can decide if the offer is worth their commitment and if they’d like to become a paying loyalty program member. Use data about what percentage of customers become a member and put out customer feedback surveys to see if you could improve your loyalty program and encourage more people to join.
6. Run a Bonus Point Campaign
If your business is considering different loyalty card ideas to get customers excited about your products or services, bonus point campaigns are one solution.
There are lots of ways to utilize a bonus point campaign. If your business has loyalty punch cards, you can offer extra punches for purchases for a limited time. When customers fill out their punch card, they can redeem it for a special offer like a free product.
Members of Dunkin’ Donuts’ loyalty program, Dunkin’ Rewards, get rewards points for every dollar spent in stores. Throughout the year, the business hosts limited-time specials for getting triple and quadruple extra points for food and drink purchases.
Bonus points can bring in members for the launch of a new product or service or for the return of a customer favorite, building brand awareness.
Tips for Implementing a Successful Customer Loyalty Program
When it comes to loyalty card advantages and disadvantages, the pros will far exceed the cons if your business follows loyalty program best practices. We’ve compiled a list of useful suggestions that will help your organization harness greater engagement and customer retention.
Use the following tips to enjoy more of the benefits of loyalty programs.
Promote Your Customer Loyalty Program Often
To get more people interested in your business’s customer loyalty program, promote it across all your platforms and locations.
Share the benefits of signing up on your business website or app. Promote the membership on all social media accounts and include information in marketing emails. Have your staff tell customers about the perks of signing up when they are shopping in person. The more people know about your program, the better.
Consider implementing incentives for workers who get people to enroll to supercharge your business’s efforts and get cards in the hands of more customers.
Keep It Simple
If your business’s customer loyalty program is overly complicated and prospective members are unsure about how it works, they will not sign up. Make it as easy as possible for prospective members to understand the perks of having a loyalty card and exactly what they are getting in return for enrolling.
Your customers do not want to jump through hoops to reap the benefits of being part of your loyalty program. Streamlining the sign-up process and providing clear information about the incentives is the best way to implement a successful program.
Make the Rewards Obtainable and Relevant
An important consideration to keep in mind when implementing a new loyalty card program is making the rewards obtainable and relevant. The cardholder should be motivated by and able to reach the incentives of your loyalty program for it to be worth the membership.
For example, if a coffee shop rewards cardholders with a free coffee after they purchase 200 drinks, the customer may not perceive the reward as obtainable or worth signing up for. But if the shop offers a free beverage after the customer purchases 25 drinks, the customer may be more inclined to sign up because the reward seems feasible and within reach.
Provide an Incentive to Sign Up
To encourage new customers to enroll in your loyalty card program, provide an incentive when they sign up.
An upfront incentive is an effective way to inspire more interest in your loyalty cards. Whether you extend a limited-time discount or a freebie product, you can leverage your sign-up incentive to intrigue and thank people for enrolling.
Listen to Your Customers
Turning to your customers for feedback is highly beneficial for businesses looking to implement a new loyalty card program.
Ask them what type of rewards they would be motivated by and what they would like to see from your business. You can utilize email questionnaires or ask in-person shoppers for their thoughts.
To get ideas for your new program, inquire about your customers’ thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of loyalty cards from your business. Use their feedback to formulate a membership suitable for your unique business and customer base.
Reward the Most Loyal Customers
An effective way to enhance a new loyalty card program is to create specific membership tiers customers can choose from. Having multiple membership options allows your business to reward its most loyal customers with the best incentives.
For instance, your business could have three tiers. The first could offer members exclusive discounts, and the second could feature those same discounts plus early access to new merchandise. The third membership tier could extend discounts, provide early access to products and include special bonus point days.
Having different incentives for each membership tier helps your business give back to its most committed patrons. Ultimately, you’ll inspire other customers to become more loyal to your business because they’ll enjoy greater benefits.
Incorporate Surprises and Special Events
Another tip for implementing a new customer loyalty program is to incorporate surprise rewards and special events. Consistently offering your members new benefits keeps them engaged and interested in your latest offers.
Hosting special events, such as offering double rewards points for a weekend or hosting a week of buy-one-get-one-free deals for members, can pique the interest of prospective members and encourage them to sign up for the limited-time offer.
Surprise incentives help your business deliver more value to loyalty program cardholders and keep people coming back for more.
Share Positive Loyalty Card Member Testimonials
A wonderful way to demonstrate the benefits of signing up for your business’s new loyalty card program is to share the positive experiences of existing members.
Ask your cardholders for testimonials and share the positive feedback with your other customers to encourage them to sign up so they can reap the same advantages.
Utilize the Latest Technology
Today’s consumers do not want to deal with antiquated customer loyalty programs. New technology and digital tools will help your business step into the future and impress your members.
PLI Card Marketing Solutions can help your business implement a new loyalty card program with the latest technology.
Contact PLI for Loyalty Program Cards
If your business is interested in starting a rewards program using loyalty cards, turn to PLI Card Marketing Solutions. We can help you with everything from card production to packaging to fulfillment.
With our guidance and services, your business and its customers can reap many loyalty card benefits. We provide speedy delivery, and our customer service team is here to help you with any questions along the way.
Are you ready to get started? Contact PLI Card Marketing Solutions to learn more about implementing a loyalty card program.