Attracting customers and retaining them is not an easy task, especially in such a competitive market. Every brand is trying to offer its customers something better than the competitors in order to retain its loyal customers. Businesses are doing this through loyalty programs that are aimed at retaining customers by rewarding them for every purchase they make. Running and managing a loyalty program is not as easy as it might seem to be. From choosing the right program to running it effectively, you need to take every step carefully.
Most of the successful brands are running a loyalty program in India. Looking at some best types of programs can help you understand how different programs work and what can work for your customers.
What is a Loyalty Program?
A loyalty program is a marketing and promotional strategy businesses use to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Under a loyalty program, brands offer rewards, incentives, or other type of benefits to their customers in return for their loyalty. The more a customer purchases, the more rewards they earn. Businesses run many different types of customer loyalty programs based on their objectives and requirements. The primary goal of a loyalty program is to boost repeat business by retaining loyal customers. Its secondary goals include attracting new customers, improving brand reputation, and increasing customer satisfaction.
With every passing year, brands are coming up with new innovative ideas to run effective loyalty programs. The way loyalty programs used to be a few decades ago is too different from the programs that work today. Now, you cannot cheer up your customers just with warm greetings, but they expect a lot more in return for their loyalty.
Top Loyalty Programs of 2022
Here is the list of some top customer loyalty programs that were most effective in the year 2022 and are expected to remain effective for more coming years:
1. Community-Based Loyalty Programs
Community-based loyalty programs, as you can understand from the name, are programs that focus on creating an online community for people who share similar interests. Along with rewarding customers for their purchases and loyalty, a community-based loyalty program aims to retain customers by making them feel like they are a part of the brand’s community. Sephora’s Beauty Insider program is one of the greatest examples of this type of loyalty program.
2. Rewards-Based Loyalty Programs
Be it 2022 or 2023, rewards-based loyalty programs have always been in trend. These are among the most widely used programs where customers earn some sort of reward points after every purchase they make. These points are also known as loyalty points. Customers can redeem these points against a host of options offered by the respective brand. However, a rewards-based program is only effective when the points you offer are valuable and are redeemable against some useful options. Running a rewards program without understanding the interests of your customers can be quite risky.
3. Mission-Based Loyalty Programs
With Mission-Based loyalty programs, brands provide their customers with an opportunity to give back to the community without paying anything extra from their pocket. Many companies run these types of loyalty marketing programs that are not just unique but are also very effective in making customers feel good about a brand and retaining them. Mission-based loyalty programs are similar to rewards programs, where customers earn rewards after every purchase and redeem the earned points for charity.
For example, suppose a customer has earned 10,000 points with the monetary value of each point being Re. 0.25. Now, the customer can choose a charity option to redeem the points and an equivalent amount, i.e. Re. 2,500 gets donated to the selected charity in the customer’s name.
4. Subscription-Based Loyalty Programs
Subscription-based programs are quite different as customers need to pay a fee in order to participate in the program. Many top brands run paid loyalty programs, where customers can get exclusive benefits by paying a nominal annual or monthly fee. These programs can be designed in many different ways. Some subscription-based loyalty programs have different levels with every level having a different fee and different benefits. A level with the highest subscription fee has the most premium benefits and the one with low or no fee has basic benefits. These programs can be considered as the paid version of tiered loyalty programs.
5. Cashback-Based Loyalty Programs
Cashback-based programs are loyalty marketing programs where customers earn some percentage of cashback after every purchase they make. The cashback percentage may be the same for every purchase or may vary based on the amount of purchase. Some brands offer a fixed percentage of cashback to every customer irrespective of the amount they spend. On the other hand, other brands offer cashback on the basis of the amount spent by a customer. The more a customer spends, the higher the percentage of cashback he/she earns.
Top Trending Loyalty Programs in 2023
The programs that were run by brands earlier in 2022 are still running effectively. However, the following are some best loyalty programs in India in 2023 that you can consider if you are planning to run a new program for your customers:
1. Tiered Loyalty Programs
Tier-based or level-based programs are among the most popular retail loyalty programs in 2023. In a tiered loyalty program, there are multiple tiers with different rewards and benefits. With each higher tier come better rewards and incentives. These are quite different from subscription-based programs as subscription-based programs allow customers to choose a level by paying the respective fee. On the other hand, tier-based programs promote customers to higher levels as they make more and more purchases. These types of programs encourage customers to make purchases more often in order to earn better rewards.
2. Coalition Programs
Coalition programs are loyalty programs that a brand runs in partnership with other businesses. As a brand owner, you can partner with a loyalty program company, which runs and manages the loyalty program for your customers. RewardPort is one of the best loyalty solution providers to consider. Based on your business requirements, goals, and your customers’ interests, RewardPort can run a loyalty program that works effectively for your customer base.
3. Gamified Loyalty Programs
The concept of combining loyalty programs with gamification strategies has become quite popular these days. Most of the successful retail loyalty programs in 2023 have some sort of gamification that makes it interesting for the customers. Some best examples of gamified loyalty programs include ‘Scratch to Win’ contests, top spenders leaderboards, badge-based programs, referral contests, etc. Gamification is a great way to build healthy competition among your customers and encourage them to spend more on your brand.
4. Hybrid Loyalty Programs
Many companies also run hybrid loyalty programs, where customers can earn regular rewards as well as some additional benefits. In simple words, it is a combination of multiple loyalty programs with different types of rewards and benefits. Running a hybrid program is a great way to stand out from the competition and attract more customers by offering multiple benefits. Though these programs can be quite expensive, you can retain most of your loyal customers if you implement the program in the right manner.
5. Store Credit-Based Loyalty Programs
Store credit-based loyalty programs are similar to cashback-based programs, where customers earn store-specific rewards. For every purchase a customer makes, he/she earns some sort of points that can only be redeemed against future purchases from the same brand. Instead of offering multiple redemption options, these programs allow customers to redeem their points against the brand they have purchased from. When customers have some rewards to redeem against a particular brand, there are high chance that they will return back to the brand and make a purchase.
Why Choose RewardPort as Your Loyalty Program Partner?
To run an effective loyalty program aligning with your business objectives, you must have a thorough understanding of how these programs work and what can make your customers come back. Many top brands that are running the best loyalty programs in India already trust RewardPort. This is what RewardPort’s marketing experts team can do for you. They analyze every small detail of your business and look at your customers’ interests to find out what works best for your brand. With rewards starting from as low as Rs. 10, you can start a loyalty program that is affordable yet effective.
Frequently Asked Questions: -
First, you will have to define the goal that you want to achieve with a loyalty program. Once you identify the goal, you can choose a type of program that you want to run and partner with loyalty solution providers like RewardPort to run and manage it.
Customer loyalty can be defined as a customer’s willingness to return to a store or brand after making a purchase from it. You can understand it as a behavior where a customer makes repeat purchases from a brand and chooses the brand over and over again.
A loyalty program helps a brand retain loyal customers, boost repeat business, increase customer satisfaction levels, and stay ahead of the competition.