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The Right Way to Run a Rewards Program

Choosing the right gift card is just the beginning.

We all know a successful rewards program engages and retains customers while driving sales.

That’s a given. And with over 75% of millennial consumers participating in loyalty and reward programs, they do a lot of heavy-lifting. But how do you create a well-designed rewards program that packs a serious punch? Make it innovative, personalized to your customers and uniquely your own.

Howard Schneider, senior consultant for Kobie Marketing, summed it up nicely in a Forbes article earlier this year:

“Customers will remember their experience with a brand long after they’ve forgotten a discount. Companies cultivate true customer loyalty by making customers’ lives easier and making sure each engagement – whether in-person or in-app – is valuable for them.”

In other words, once the gold’s glitter is gone, customers are only left with the memories of their experience. That’s why you should launch your program from an intelligent platform, while ensuring that it’s unique to your brand and tailored to your customers.

 

Personalized and Relevant Rewards

Every brand has its own DNA, which means its customers and the rewards they want are just as unique. In a recent study we conducted with GRIT, we found that virtual cards were the most preferred reward option for respondents in North America. A Nielsen report from last year also confirmed that 79% of global respondents enjoyed the ability to choose among several types of rewards.

Virtual cards offer endless choice — making them a more personal option than other rewards. And that’s key. To add an extra layer of personalization and relevancy, refine your rewards messaging to customers in a way that makes them feel like they belong. (We can help with that — check it out. )

 

Belonging to Your Brand

Customers don’t want to be a nameless person in your database; they want in on it. Inviting them into your inner circle solidifies brand loyalty like nothing else. Launching a custom-branded rewards program is one way customers can experience that sense of belonging. It should feel exclusive and one-of-a-kind. This is particularly effective for millennials, who stick with companies that reflect uniqueness in their branding.

One proven idea many brands have adopted is creating a nomenclature that speaks their language. Think of the “Stars” (AKA points) in Starbucks Reward or Adidas’ “3Stripes” program.

The type of rewards you offer should be an extension of your brand’s DNA. A premium fashion company may want to focus on a point-earning system. A sporting good store might reward repeat customers with gift cards. A discount grocery outlet may prefer coupons or discounts. It all depends on what you want your rewards to say about your brand.

These days, customers expect more from the brands they pledge their allegiance to — and that includes their rewards programs. Together, we can give them everything they want, and then some. And it all starts by creating a positive, personalized and on-brand experience.

 

 

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