Loyalty Programs. Not just for coffee shops. #marketing #brandloyalty

Some of my favourite loyalty programs are low tech and simple. Take the local coffee shop example. You have a great product, have brought in the customers and want to show appreciation and keep them coming back. So what do you do? Give a free coffee or product after the customer buys 10. If there is a good coffee shop near my work I will always go back, every day (a few times a day usually), to the coffee shop that rewards me for my loyalty.

But loyalty programs are not just for coffee shops. A while ago I did a little review on Frank & Oak, a brand that I have been following over the years. When I first found out about Frank & Oak I was driven by a number of things:

  • The quality and price of the product
  • The fact they are a Canadian brand
  • Their loyalty program, Hunt Club

I love companies with good loyalty programs, done well they are simple, rewarding and build brand loyalty. Sadly Frank & Oak has pivoted many times over the last few years with the Hunt Club. A few months ago they revamped the program and I cancelled my membership.

Did that affect my loyalty? Well over the last few months my purchases slowed down a bit but I still found myself ordering the occasional product. In true Frank & Oak spirit they noticed this and began sending more targeted offer and eventually convinced me to re-join their new loyalty program, re-named Elevate. Do I like the re-branded name? No-so-much but it seems to have gone full circle to their previous program, including waiving the enrolment fee.

That fee takes me to a few points that I believe are important to loyalty programs:

  • FREE is best with loyalty programs
  • If there is a cost the cost to benefit ratio needs to be apparent
  • If it starts out FREE never add one later
  • If it isn’t broken don’t fix it (change it), consumers hate it when you revamp a successful loyalty program
  • Keep it simple to use and understand
  • Use technology to improve the loyalty experience

 

One of these days I will review some of my favourite loyalty programs and talk about a few that used to be great (Starbucks comes to mind). What are your thoughts on loyalty programs?

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