4 examples of B2B Loyalty Programs
As a customer, you probably come across loyalty programs on a daily basis. From using your Albert Heijn keycard, to discount codes from Zalando on your next order.
However, B2B loyalty programs are still comparatively scarce - which is actually quite surprising.
Business customers, in particular, usually base their purchasing decision on the relationship they have with a company. The price is often secondary to a pleasant experience and a relationship with the supplier.
Of course, it's crucial that your company delivers a good product, but a loyalty program can further strengthen the bond you have with clients - and even encourage repeat purchases. Rewarding customers for their loyalty makes them feel more valued.
For example, check how often your loyal customers ask for a discount. Surely that shows that your customers expect something in return for their loyalty? But how do you convert this into a well-functioning program? In this article I share several examples of successful B2B loyalty programs.
Why a B2B loyalty program?
Perhaps you are familiar with the term 'reciprocity'? It’s a simple concept. When we get something from someone, we feel a certain pressure to "give something back."
For example, research shows that people spend more in a restaurant if they receive a gift on arrival. Think of it as an emotional bank account that people subconsciously share.
This same reciprocity principle also works in B2B. A reward strengthens the emotional bond, creates a positive association and makes customers feel special. In short, it replenishes your customers' emotional bank account, making them less likely to switch to your competitor.
You can also encourage repeat purchases with the right incentives. Compared to B2C companies, B2B companies often have higher order values. With a loyalty program, are you able to increase the purchase frequency even slightly and keep customers with you longer? If so, that will have a direct impact on turnover.
Another advantage of B2B loyalty programs is that they collect valuable insights about the purchasing behavior of your customers.
Examples of B2B loyalty programs
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for loyalty programs. The type of program that will work best for your company will depend on your product, target audience and objectives.
Are you thinking about a loyalty program for your company? Then let yourself be inspired by these 4 successful examples.
1) Rewards Programs
A rewards program is one of the most used forms of B2B loyalty programs.
Just like consumer programs, you reward customers with gifts or perks after a certain number of purchases. This is often based on a points savings system. Has the customer reached the total number of points after 10 purchases? Then they will receive a reward.
These types of programs are especially successful for businesses with a lot of repeat purchases, such as hospitality suppliers and office supplies. But reward programs can also work well for a company like Truckwash.
Truckwash takes care of the cleaning of trucks and other large vehicles. To combat the competition and distinguish themselves, Truckwash started a rewards program that allows drivers to save points with every wash.
The rewards themselves are also based on clever insights. For example, truck drivers are often away from home for a long time, so Truckwash offers children's toys as rewards, which means their clients always have a gift for their little ones when they get home.
This kind of original thinking was well received by drivers - Truckwash saw sales increase by 12% thanks to their rewards program.
Does your organization need to distinguish itself from competitors? Then a rewards program can be an effective tool.
Like Truckwash have done, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what rewards will really make them happy.
2) Benefit programs
With benefit programs, customers are rewarded with discounts, instead of gifts.
Benefit programs have been around for a long time in B2B - but there are many different forms. For example, many organizations already work with graduated prices. The more the customer spends, the higher the discount. By including these kinds of benefits in an official loyalty program, customers know exactly where they stand and you encourage higher spending.
Benefit programs work especially well for business subscriptions such as software or communications, but also within B2B ecommerce and retail.
For example, IT giant HP started a unique program whereby customers receive discounts or gift cards for returning their ink and toners. A great way for HP to build a sustainable organization, while at the same time saving costs by reusing the toners - and attracting more customers.
With benefit programs you increase the order value per customer. And by rewarding them with a gift card, you ensure that they also place their next order with your organization.
Also consider whether you can reward customers for returning or reusing products. This saves costs and contributes to the sustainability objectives of your organization.
3) VIP programs
Another effective example of a B2B loyalty program is the granting of status levels, which allow customers to earn extra privileges. People often end-up really wanting to become VIPs, and they will apply (sometimes unconsciously) extra effort to achieve the next status.
Good examples of VIP programs can be found in the hotel industry, such as the Marriott loyalty program. Every time business or private guests spend money at one of the hotels, they get a better status.
There are about 8 different levels, such as Member, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Different privileges are associated with each status level. At level 1 you get a discount on bookings, while at level 3 you also receive free room service and a welcome gift.
Piggy customer Hotel Ruimzicht has also set up a similar B2B loyalty program with status levels on the Dutch market.
Does your organization have a service or product that lends itself well to extra privileges? Then take a look at a VIP program. Also make sure the privileges on each level are attractive enough to save for.
4) Knowledge programs
By rewarding customers for their purchase, you can encourage repeat purchases. But some services also benefit from motivating and rewarding customers for acquiring additional knowledge.
Software companies, for example, have been known to reward customers when they attend workshops or webinars. If they understand even better how your solution works, that saves a lot of extra questions for customer service. Customers also achieve their goals even faster, because they can handle your tools and devices better. In the long run, this has a positive effect on customer loyalty.
One example of this is Lenovo. They have set up a special knowledge portal. Every time customers read articles, attend a workshop or watch a video through this portal, they get points. Customers can convert these points into discounts, gifts or outings.
Do you want to motivate customers to increase their knowledge of your product? Then you have to provide the right incentive with a knowledge program.
Knowledge programs work well for software companies, but can also be effective for catering wholesalers, logistics suppliers and a whole range of other B2B examples.
B2B loyalty software
The best B2B loyalty programs can increase your order values, encourage repeat purchases and build stronger customer relationships.
They also let you choose the rewards yourself, which gives you the chance to leverage how well you know your clients and create a rewards list that not only appeals to your customers - but actively incentivises them.
If your rewards don't match their needs, a loyalty program probably won't have the desired effect. The secret is continuing to monitor and adjust, so that you see what works and what doesn't.
At Piggy, we help more than 8,000 organizations grow daily with successful loyalty programs. Our loyalty system is specifically designed to let you set-up an run an effective loyalty programs yourself:
- Get started in under an hour
- Create and adjust rewards and rules with ease
- Automatically collect data with every transaction
- View statistics and customer database in real-time
- Generate professional email marketing campaigns and newsletters
If you’re curious whether a B2B loyalty program will be efficient and effective for your company, click here for a no-obligation consultation.