Daily Insights

The Evolving Incentive

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Jun 10, 2019

As loyalty programs proliferate, marketers must find new ways to augment their program visibility as well as grow member engagement. While brands fight for awareness by increasing loyalty prominence on digital assets, opportunities to support loyalty programs remain. Here are two ways the incentive has evolved to better embody a holistic loyalty strategy.

Monetary Benefits: Nearly all loyalty programs by brands tracked in Gartner L2’s report on the topic offer some variation of monetary benefits, from product discounts to cash rewards. In the last year, the number of programs offering free ground shipping and a points multiplier notably increased. Additionally, the number of loyalty programs offering free standard shipping increased from 39% to 49% within the last year as retailers continually set a high bar with robust fulfillment services, even if fewer offer free expedited shipping. To incentivize engagement further still, one-third of brands offer specific periods with points multipliers — a 36% year-over-year increase.

Experiential Benefits: Over the past year, experiential benefits shifted from a distinguishing factor to a table stakes feature of loyalty programs. A number of industry players either introduced exclusive experiences for top-tier loyalty members or enhanced existing experiential benefits to go beyond transactional loyalty. 78% of studied loyalty programs now offer experiential-based rewards compared to last year’s 61%. Experiences, however, do not necessarily mean free to the brand; 39% of loyalty programs offer invitations to exclusive events and 27% supply free services that range from dedicated customer service lines to product consultations.

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