Retailers frequently ask customers to enroll in a loyalty program at point of sale — especially during the holiday shopping season. In fact, 61% of consumers have joined a loyalty program to get discounts for holiday shopping. For retailers, the challenge isn’t getting consumers to enroll in loyalty programs, but keeping them enrolled and engaged after the holidays are over.
According to Clarus Commerce data, 28% of consumers say they enroll in loyalty programs for immediate benefits, with the intention of unsubscribing at a later time. Clearly, it’s time to create loyalty programs that inspire consumers who enroll during the holiday shopping season to stick around long-term.
With a comprehensive engagement strategy and loyalty programs that include personalized benefits, retailers can better meet customers’ needs and motivate them to stay engaged, even after the holidays.
3 Steps for Inspiring Customers to Stay Engaged
To encourage customers to stay engaged after the holidays, you first need to examine the factors that motivate consumers to join loyalty programs and then determine how your program can meet those needs.
You shouldn’t have to expect those new loyalty program members to lose interest right after the holiday season ends. Instead, you can convert short-term shoppers into lifelong customers with these tips:
- Do research on top motivators for customers.
Dig into the data on the perks and incentives your loyalty program members are responding to so you can better determine what benefits they find worthwhile. According to Clarus Commerce data, during the holidays shoppers cared most about product discounts, special expedited shipping, better return policies and free samples with purchase. Often, these are the same benefits that keep them engaged throughout the year. For example, when surveyed outside of the holiday season, shoppers ranked free and faster shipping, instant discounts, free giveaways and surprise rewards as benefits that motivate them to stay or renew a loyalty program membership. Look at what your customers value the most and make sure your loyalty program is delivering.
- Create benefits that inspire action, like social kickbacks.
Loyalty program benefits that inspire action are a great way to engage customers post-purchase and identify and stimulate brand advocates. For example, with social kickbacks, you can run a promotion that provides a call to action, such as inviting customers to post on Instagram with a branded hashtag. From the posts, you can then select a few winners to surprise and delight with free prizes or sweepstakes opportunities. For long-term engagement post-holidays, you can encourage shoppers to share their favorite holiday purchases on social media for the chance to get money back in the form of a rebate. Well-timed special incentives, like social kickbacks and rebates, can inspire customers to re-engage with your program after the holidays and cement their role as brand evangelists.
- Offer personalized benefits that evolve with customer needs.
Personalization is critical to a comprehensive loyalty strategy and customer retention. It’s no longer just a nice-to-have — it’s an expectation for consumers. By analyzing purchase data, you can create more relevant offerings for customers, whether it’s tailored VIP experiences, exclusive deals or free giveaways. To gain lasting loyalty, make your customers feel like their unique needs and interests are recognized. Your loyalty program benefits should constantly evolve alongside customers’ needs and desires. Stagnant and stale benefits are uninspiring to customers — benefits need to adapt according to trends in customer data. For example, identify which benefits are used the most, and evaluate if there are ways you can build on them or personalize them further to continually add more value to your program.
It’s Time to get Creative
To foster long-term loyalty and engagement, you need to create benefits that challenge the status quo and inspire customers. With the holiday season over, it’s time to get creative in your approach to loyalty. By doing your research and creating more personalized and exciting experiences, you can ensure customers stay engaged and enrolled even after their holiday shopping is done.
Tom Caporaso is the CEO of Clarus Commerce, a leading provider of customizable end-to-end loyalty solutions. He has been in the loyalty and subscription space for over 25 years, empowering brands to build better relationships with their top customers for the long term. A solidified thought leader across the retail and loyalty sphere, Caporaso has been quoted in national publications like CNBC, Reuters and U.S. News & World Report. In addition to his loyalty expertise, Caporaso also received a 2020 leadership award from The Hartford Courant and has helped Clarus Commerce earn the Connecticut Top Workplaces award every year since 2013.