Loyalty Beyond Transactions: Creating Experiential Connections with Customers

Loyalty Beyond Transactions

Creating Experiential Connections with Customers

Money may not be able to buy love, but it can accrue some serious affection. Many retailer and brand loyalty programs have had great success offering perks like free shipping, free samples, or savings coupons to reward their higher-spending customers.

But what about the brands and retailers who want to be loved just as much for their scintillating personalities and great product offerings as for their spend-to-save models? When it comes to loyalty, how can they supplement or move past the transactional with a different kind of value proposition?

One solution is to provide exclusive experiences that make their customers’ hearts beat faster. More loyalty programs have begun to offer advantages that go beyond savings, with a focus on special access and personalized attention.

Following the lead of credit card companies, who often give elite customers access to free concierge services, retailers have begun offering top-spending customers special access to personalized advice on products and services. Outdoors retailer Backcountry, which has a spend-to-save model, also offers its two highest loyalty tiers increased access to its in-house gear experts. REVOLVE, a clothing retailer that focuses on Millennial and Gen Z consumers, offers savings as well as a session with a stylist for loyalty program members at its higher levels, and for its highest loyalty category, offers invitations to exclusive parties.

Other retailers combine more traditional savings-based rewards with invitations to trunk shows and early notice of sales. Outdoors and lifestyle brand L.L. Bean, for example, gives loyalty members advance word about product launches.

Rewards that feel experiential and exclusive can help brands romance customers and keep them loyal.

Personalized perks that complement savings can:

  • Drive lifetime value
  • Build brand advocacy
  • Help improve customer segmentation

Starting or Expanding a Loyalty Program

Here are a few things to consider when scoping a new Loyalty program or adding experiential rewards to an existing model:

  • Ensure you use data to make decisions and build models
  • Set KPIs
  • Determine if your team and budget is scoped to launch and run the program
  • Make sure your technology stack is ready
  • Get buy-in from all stakeholders

Loyalty programs with experiential rewards can help differentiate your brand and increase your customers’ lifetime value.

Need help? OSF Digital Strategy can assist you with all aspects of Loyalty program design and operations, including Competitive Assessments, Customer Insights, Strategy, KPIs, Financial Modeling and Change Management.

Robin Kamen

Author: Robin Kamen, Sr. Consultant

Robin Kamen is a senior consultant of OSF Digital Strategy. She is a digital marketing and strategy leader with experience building global brands and driving customer engagement and ROI across many verticals.