What is your favorite customer loyalty program? What makes it so great?
To help you compare and draw inspiration from popular customer loyalty programs, we asked marketing experts and CEO’s this question for their best recommendations. From tiered loyalty programs to paid subscriptions, there are several suggested programs that may help you gain insight into what comprises a successful customer loyalty program.
Here are 13 examples of customer loyalty programs:
- Tiered Loyalty Programs
- E.L.F’s Beauty Squad
- Mission-Driven Customer Loyalty Programs
- Personalized Rewards
- Dropbox’s Referral Program
- Marriott Bonvoy Benefits
- REI’s Co-Op Program
- Free Point-Based Programs
- Punch Cards
- The North Face’s XPLR Pass
- Doterra Loyalty Rewards Program
- Paid Subscriptions
Tiered Loyalty Programs
The best loyalty programs have three qualities: great value for their members, additional revenue streams for the business, and potential for growth. That’s why a tiered program is my favorite. Many loyalty programs are one size fits all, meaning they have one level of reward to the customers, providing limited value, and eliminating the exclusive nature of being part of a business’s VIPs.
A tiered program sets its rewards for reaching benchmarks based on dollars spent or membership years. As these various metrics grow, the customer moves up in status, providing them greater access to deals, while generating more revenue for the business. In addition, membership numbers in each tier can be publicized, creating a gamification aspect in order to achieve greater status. By implementing a tiered loyalty program, you can create a better customer experience while growing revenue on a continual basis.
Omid Semino, Diamond Mansion
E.L.F.’s Beauty Squad
Because e.l.f. Beauty Squad allows you to earn and unlock e.l.f. reward points on purchases, I believe this is my all-time favorite customer loyalty program. Members of the program can earn points by recommending friends and engaging with their brand on social media. Customers are more likely to join the program if they receive an enrollment reward. They are also given early access to sales and new products, redeemable products, complimentary beauty kits, and various discounts as part of the program. There are three tiers, each with its own set of benefits: EXTRA, EPIC, and ICON.
Veronica Miller, VPNOverview
Mission-Driven Customer Loyalty Programs
Mission-driven customer loyalty programs are my favorite. It helps develop social consciousness as businesses encourage customers to spend for a cause. Some inform customers that a portion of their sales will go to organizations that carry out programs for environmental sustainability, health-compromised individuals, or disaster-stricken areas.
Mission-driven customer loyalty programs communicate how a company intends to go beyond earning profit to helping people or social movements. This way, they can contribute to creating a better place to live in. Note that aligning your loyalty program with a cause can build a stronger relationship with customers. Along the way, it boosts customer engagement and encourages repeat sales.
Michael Haas, Angry BBQ
When it comes to setting up a loyalty program or a marketing strategy, understanding the needs of your customers will be crucial. When you have an eCommerce store, pay close attention to the data, and see how and when your customers are currently spending. Then, take that information and devise a campaign that rewards your customers in the way that is most beneficial to them. That may be a percentage of a particular type of item, a “points” program, or drawing their attention to new products or services that they may appreciate.
Lauren Kleinman, The Quality Edit
Dropbox’s Referral Programs
As an entrepreneur and CEO, I am also a very active consumer and always find that the best customer loyalty programs are referral programs. Look at Dropbox for example. Their customer referral program actually provides rewards related to the overall product as opposed to simple monetary benefits. When referring a friend to Dropbox, you receive 500MB of extra storage space. This keeps the referring customers engaged in the actual service Dropbox is providing, while still building audience and loyalty. The key to a good customer loyalty program is to reward customer loyalty with further engagement or perks related to the products. A simple monetary prize may be nice in the short term, but won’t build that lasting brand loyalty.
Peter Robert, Expert Computer Solutions
Marriott Bonvoy Benefits
Points Programs are very successful and popular. They not only keep customers loyal, they’re also attractive enough to draw new customers in. In modern points programs, customers can track their points online with a mobile app to always know where they stand. Marriott has an immensely popular customer loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy Benefits. Patrons can redeem their points for free hotel nights, dining, or other experiences. They can also earn points through car rentals and flights and can even share their points with friends and family. The flexibility of this program makes it so easy to use, and the fact that they can share points will attract many more customers to the program. Marriott has become an expert in knowing their customer’s preferences, and they can offer travelers even more personalized rewards.
Paul Moody, ProMoverReviews
REI’s Co-Op Program
One of my favorite customer loyalty programs is REI’s Co-Op program. These days, we’re seeing more and more consumers, especially environmentally conscious consumers, rethink how they approach bigger companies. They’re worried about everything from how companies source products to how they treat their employees. REI’s Co-Op program seems to really see that trending customer behavior and has used it as the cornerstone of its Co-Op program. With a one-time membership fee, Co-Op members get access to discounts on products, expedited shipping, rental programs, and trade-in programs through the company. By providing these in-demand services, REI keeps its customers happy and builds trust by ensuring that they’re always providing services and products that don’t trivialize or ignore what’s important to their customer base. It’s a loyalty program built on core values, which makes it special in the industry.
Kyle Risley, Lift Vault
Starbucks is a great reward program for many reasons. Many companies now use their mobile app to manage their rewards program, but Starbucks was one of the first, and they have led the way in making it easy for customers to gain and spend rewards. You don’t need a punch card; it’s on your phone, so you won’t forget it, and you don’t have to sign in every time you use it.
The simplicity of it makes customers go out of their way to find a Starbucks near them so they can gain and spend rewards. It’s genius; in order to gain points, customers must pay with the app, so the whole process increases customer engagement exponentially. It centralizes customer transactions in a way that creates a mountain of valuable customer data on preferences and behavior. And on top of it, the rewards have actual value. You can trade in stars for actual products, so collecting stars is really worth something. It’s a win-win for both the company and the consumer.
Ouriel Lemmel, WinIt
Free Point-Based Loyalty Programs
Point-based, free customer loyalty programs have two things: perks customers get for free. And the ability to earn more free products from purchasing your products. That’s what makes it so great for companies because customers are more likely to sign-up for free things. Who doesn’t love a free service? But customers will be more excited to continue purchasing from you when they can eventually earn free products after earning so many points. You’ll gain more regular customers and your relationship with customers can grow.
Scott Lieberman, Touchdown Money
Sometimes, the best ideas are old-school ideas. One of the most long-lasting and effective loyalty program models is the age-old punch card. This works at barbershops, sub shops, and other walk-in businesses. This incentivizes people to return and build up visits and purchases – in the hopes, that they will get some kind of reward at the end. It’s incumbent upon the customer to maintain the “paperwork.” All the restaurant has to do is punch the card and provide the reward. It’s a popular type of tactic that still keeps customers coming back.
Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law
The North Face’s XPLR Pass
One of the best customer loyalty programs I have come across is provided by the North Face. What makes their loyalty program so amazing is that they offer rewards that are specific to their customers’ wants. Known as the XPLR Pass program, the North Face allows customers to earn points through making purchases, downloading their mobile app, or attending certain events. The rewards offered are also incredibly unique and include experiences like a trip to other countries, early entrance into their stores and the chance to test products before they are available to the public. This program is so great because it allows customers to choose from a multitude of rewards that are specific to their wants which, therefore, strengthens their bond to the brand.
Colin Palfrey, JollySEO
Doterra Loyalty Rewards Program
Essential oils company doTERRA has a Loyalty Rewards Program (LRP) that provides credits for every purchase. The credits can be then used as cash to spend on your next order. The longer you participate in the program, the more credits you get for the same amount you spend. For example, after a year on the program, you can turn up to 30% of your spending in cash for another purchase. In addition, doTERRA launches a special sale of selected products every month. The sale is only available to members of the program and the discounts they offer range from 50-80%. The doTERRA loyalty program is effective because it offers significant discounts on products and thus stimulates regular purchases.
Georgi Todorov, thrivemyway
My favorite customer loyalty program is the paid loyalty model, which offers free shipping and bonus deals through an annual subscription. This program is especially effective for retail businesses, encouraging customers to spend more to enjoy specific perks upfront. This model also helps businesses gain higher customer value from subscribers. When the benefits outweigh fees, it helps compel customers to sign-up and make purchase decisions more readily to maximize the value of what they paid for. It also improves customer retention initiatives when members experience personalized and exclusive perks.
Nunzio Ross, Majesty Coffee