When setting up a great first impression on your eCommerce site, you have to wow your visitors and engage them to convert them into customers. On a positive note, 57% of consumers are willing to shop with new brands and new stores for the first time.
This is encouraging when getting customers to shop at places they have never heard of before and try new products. Once you get a customer in through the door (online and offline) and shopping, you are ready to introduce them to a loyalty program designed to benefit the customers.
What is a Loyalty Program?
A loyalty program aims to turn customers into repeat customers and build a loyal following. Loyalty marketing involves retaining customers through incentives that keep them engaged. With the integration between Sendlane and Smile.io, you can sync your rewards program customers with your email and SMS within Sendlane to connect with your best customers directly. Find out more information about the integration in our help article.
Loyalty programs are a great way to turn one-time shoppers into repeat customers and loyal brand champions. A successful program keeps your customers engaged and rewarded for their loyalty. That loyalty translates into other business areas, such as building a community through social media, positive organic reviews, and an increase in revenue.
How long have Loyalty Programs been around?
Loyalty programs are a marketing strategy that has been used by businesses since the 18th century, while some scholars have reported loyalty and rewards programs were introduced as early as ancient Egypt. It was reported that American retailers began to give customers copper tokens with their purchases that they could redeem for products on future purchases. This ultimately evolved into stamps, coupons, and what we know and use today as points.
Loyalty programs now work to give incentives to customers. After all, according to BigCommerce, “repeat customers have a higher lifetime value, meaning that over the course of a customer’s projected buying time with your brand, you can predict a high return on investment.” Some rewards and incentives include:
- Access to new and unreleased products
- Membership level points
- Free products
- Access to exclusive events
And whatever a business deems as a benefit or perk for rewarding loyal customers.
Using email to maximize loyalty
Email is a great and easy tool to communicate with your customers and grow your loyalty program. Many incredible BigCommerce merchants across all industries use emails within their welcome flow to introduce everything about their brand, including their loyalty program and how it works. This introduces site visitors and customers to ways to earn points and how they can be redeemed. Introduction and marketing emails have proven to help increase loyalty, convert first-time customers, and keep them coming back.
Using email can effectively build a community around your business and keep customers engaged year-round. By giving customers and potential customers all the information needed to go through their buying journey, you make it easy for customers to shop. They don’t have to think twice about clicking ‘add to cart.’ All contribute towards building a community and maximizing your loyalty program.
When promoting your loyalty rewards in an introduction or marketing email, several key factors to include in an email are:
- Points balances in every related email
- Mention your loyalty program
- CTA to join the loyalty program
Success with loyalty and email:
BigCommerce merchant Sunfoods Superfoods, hits all major points in their welcome email that’s triggered to send when users sign up for their emails. After a “Welcome to the Sunfood Family” header and 20% off for first-time customers, users are given recommendations on which superfood packs to try out first.
Following this is their loyalty program called “SunPoints.” This example includes a simple view of how to sign up for their program, how many points customers get for shopping, and how to redeem SunPoints.
Using explainer pages to maximize loyalty
An explainer page highlights all the details of your loyalty program and breaks down each step, from how to earn points to how to redeem them. An explainer page eliminates the guessing for your customers and gives them one page that directly talks about all aspects of your loyalty program.
There are two things your explainer page should be:
- Simple to understand
- Accessible to any customer
Meaning it should be easy to find. The explainer page should tell your customers exactly how your loyalty program works, how they can earn rewards, and how to redeem points.
Most BigCommerce merchants add explainer pages to their menu bar, footer, or header. The explainer page should be accessible to any site visitor regardless of whether they sign up for your loyalty program.
Success with loyalty and explainer pages:
Wild Poppies, a floral shop in New Zealand, uses loyalty rewards and points in-store and online. Wild Poppies uses explainer pages to show how to earn points and redeem reward points. The explainer page is located on the top right corner of their homepage, where it’s easily accessible to any site visitor.
The page shows ways to earn, such as earning 4 points for every dollar spent online or earning 500 points on your birthday and shows how someone can spend the points they collect.
Promoting your program to maximize loyalty
One major way merchants promote their loyalty programs is through social media.
Instagram has been a popular way to grab users' attention to shop or be introduced to your brand. It now serves as a place to search for products, find customer reviews, and shop without ever leaving the app. We have seen successful merchants utilize Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories to show how their loyalty program works in real-time while showing a behind-the-scenes look into the benefits members can earn.
- Post to your Instagram highlights how rewards and loyalty work
- Leverage Instagram Reels to show how users can redeem their points, either online or in-store
- As another channel to shop, ensure your Instagram is shoppable, and users can check out within the app.
TikTok is the newest social platform to intertwine with social media and eCommerce. The popular hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 10.7 billion views, with many TikTok users organically sharing their purchases. TikTok is a powerful social media platform that can help small and medium-sized businesses grow at an organic rate that rivals any other platform. With the growth potential and acquiring new customers through TikTok, you can also expand and promote your loyalty program. Engaging potential customers in every aspect of your business.
According to TikTok for Business, “67% of users said TikTok inspired them to shop even when they weren’t planning to do so.” Use TikTok to promote and grow your business:
- Show behind the scenes content and educate users on your business or product
- Show what your customers can earn when they shop with you
- Share product tips and tricks
Another great way to promote your business is through SMS marketing with Sendlane. You can create loyalty and keep users coming back to shop by leveraging the convenience of text messages. Capture your audience and send individualized messages about your loyalty program, showing how many points the user has, or ways to redeem points.
Success with loyalty and promotion
Sweet Lounge is a vegan and plant-based candy brand and is just one example of the hundreds of brands using TikTok to promote their products and grow. Sweet Lounge uses TikTok to promote its candy products by jumping on trending sounds and unique content. One of their TikToks takes users behind the scenes with a “pack with me” video and appropriate hashtags for the small business. Another fan favorite is their video on celebrating milestones like having their products in store for the first time.
Loyalty programs = loyal and returning customers
Loyalty programs are a great way to get your customers to turn into repeat customers and loyal ambassadors of your business. According to BigCommerce, “50% of consumers said they increase their spending or change their purchasing behavior to get a higher tier status in a rewards program,” meaning shoppers are more incentivized to buy when a loyalty program is in place. A successful program keeps your customers engaged, rewarded for their loyalty, and overall see the loyalty translate into other areas of your business.
Smile.io helps brands create powerful rewards programs. With over ten years of experience in customer loyalty, Smile.io allows you to boost sales from your existing customer base. To learn more about loyalty programs, contact us at [email protected]
BigCommerce merchants can use the Sendlane and Smile.io integration so you can sync your rewards program customers with your Sendlane account. Connect with your best, most loyal customers directly. Find out more information about the integration in our help article.