7 Examples of Successful Loyalty Programs
Whether you sell special wines through your webshop, manage a gym, or run a catering business, a loyalty program can work wonders for your company.
If you do it right, new customers will keep coming back to you and loyal customers will turn into true ambassadors.
Nice extras or discounts increase the positive association with your company. And by rewarding certain customer behaviors like repeat purchases, the chances are many times greater that they will return to you. In fact, 66% of people spend more when they can save points.
That is why loyalty programs are a powerful marketing tool to not only attract customers, but to increase retention and loyalty by allowing your customer base to earn rewards, redeem points, and have an overall better customer experience.
In this blog, you’ll find 7 loyalty program examples that all highlight different tactics and approaches, but are all successful in their own right.
First, let's start with what a loyalty program means and what benefits it can deliver.
What is a loyalty program?
The purpose of a loyalty program is to increase customer loyalty. By rewarding customers with discounts, points or rewards when they are loyal to your company, you can enhance your customer experience and encourage return visits.
What is the benefit of customer loyalty? Well, customer loyalty means not just higher customer retention, but also higher average order value and purchase frequency among those customers.
But there are even more advantages.
Why a loyalty program?
In the end, no business will survive without satisfied customers who buy products or services from you.
When your company only relies on new customers, you have much higher costs. Recruiting new customers through marketing campaigns over and over again is costly and they spend less than loyal, repeat customers whose trust you have already gained.
Loyal customers also stay with you longer, which increases customer lifetime value. Existing customers are more likely to try new products than new customers and spend 67% more. This is logical, because you have already gained confidence.
Moreover, they are more likely to recommend you to others.
In short: loyal customers are the foundation for growth. Successful loyalty programs increase the number of loyal customers and thus also the growth of your company.
Another advantage is that a digital loyalty program can directly build a customer database with valuable insights into customer behavior. Moreover, setting up a loyalty program is relatively simple and cost-efficient, while the impact on your brand experience and turnover is often very large.
Examples of loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are so effective because they respond to powerful psychological mechanisms, such as conditioning (punishment and reward), social identity, or gamification.
Below we discuss 7 successful examples of loyalty programs that all respond to and reward customer behavior in a different way.
1. Paid loyalty program - Amazon Prime
Paid or premium loyalty programs are powerful but rare. The Amazon Prime program is a good example of a loyalty program that uses a paid loyalty model.
How does it work? Customers pay EUR 5.99 per month for Amazon Prime. In return, they receive "VIP treatment" where they enjoy various benefits that make the program very attractive, such as:
Extra discounts on popular products
Returns collected without collection costs
Exclusive access to entertainment and other content
These programs work well when you can actually provide significant benefits.
Extra benefits such as free shipping costs, but also exclusive content or access to events, lend themselves well to a premium loyalty program. Thanks to these benefits, members will only order from you.
A paid membership program also leads to extra guaranteed turnover.
2. Savings points system - Sushito
One of the best-known examples of a loyalty program is the points system. The loyalty points system is based on the principle the more you spend, the more points you get back.
Because customers are rewarded with points for a purchase every time, according to the psychological principle of conditioning, they tend to repeat this behavior over and over again.
An example of a customer loyalty program that offers a point program is Sushito.
How does it work? Sushito is connected to Piggy's loyalty platform. Sushito's rules are clear: every Euro is worth one savings point.
Every time a customer makes a purchase, they collect points. In this case, by just scanning the mobile app, or online, by simply adding points at the checkout.
With Piggy, you get your very own app with custom designs, where customers can then view their loyalty points, see the rewards for which they can save, and claim their rewards. This way you can save for extra dishes, but also for a Sushito gift card worth 25 euros.
Because every purchase is immediately rewarded with points, you keep motivating customers to buy from your company.
A loyalty app makes it extra attractive for customers to save points both online and in the shop. With Piggy, you only pay a low monthly subscription to start your own loyalty program and customers can collect points via any channel.
3. Reward in values - The Body Shop
Not every loyalty program is about discounts or gifts.
They can also be a powerful way to emphasize certain values. After all, people often unconsciously - or consciously - derive a certain social identity from the brands and products they choose.
When you choose rewards that are in line with certain values, it makes for real ambassadors and also strengthens your brand identity.
The Body Shop is a company that does this well by making animal welfare part of their program. Their program, Love Your Body Club, allows customers to redeem points for products and treats, but customers can also donate points to certain charitable organizations if they're feeling philanthropic.
Business associations also often opt for this remuneration structure in the Piggy platform. In addition, the points you donate to a charitable organization are also worth more, which provides even more motivation.
When your company stands for something and shares these values with customers, donating points to a charity organization can add extra strength to this.
Let customers choose which rewards they want to save points for.
4. Reward per visit (BodyResults & TrainMore)
Gyms also benefit from motivated and returning members. That is why fitness chains such as TrainMore and Bodyresults work with rewards per visit.
At TrainMore, you get a one euro discount on your subscription in that month every time you exercise. Gym Bodyresults is affiliated with Piggy's loyalty platform and opts for rewards per visit that customers can redeem in the gym, such as smoothies, protein shakes, and merchandise. They also give all loyalty members a 40 minute personal training sessions every two months.
These types of loyalty programs help members achieve their goals and provide an effective psychological trigger.
Members are not only rewarded with a fitter body, but they also receive a discount or nice extras. This increased motivation ensures that members come more often, see results faster, and are therefore more satisfied with their gym.
Because members visit more often, they stay motivated, they see results sooner and they will continue to exercise longer at a gym.
Members who exercise often feel extra appreciated and rewarded, which gives them an extra positive attitude towards their gym.
5. Employee Loyalty (3WO)
Loyalty programs are not only effective for customers but can also increase employee loyalty.
When you let employees take advantage of discounts and save points for nice rewards, you can increase involvement and keep people with you longer.
For example, the owners of 3WO and all their catering businesses are connected to the Piggy loyalty platform.
Every time employees order something from one of the businesses, they earn points that they can redeem for extra drinks and snacks.
Is staff turnover higher than you would like, or do you want to keep people with you longer? Then a loyalty program can be a powerful way to bind employees to you.
Not only does it create extra bonding, employees also spend more with you, which increases your turnover.
One way to reward employees can be based on hours worked, using a scheduling program like Shiftbase.
6. Artificial lead (Carwash)
In the well-known American study "The Endowed Progress Effect" it becomes clear how powerful a loyalty program can be when you respond to both conscious and subconscious motivations.
In this experiment, 300 visitors to a local car wash all received a stamp card. Every time they had their car washed, they got a stamp. A full stamp card meant a free wash.
They were divided into two groups: the first group was given an empty stamp card with 8 empty squares. The second group received a stamp card with 10 squares, of which 2 were already stamped. Can you guess what happened?
The second group with the "false lead" turned out to return almost twice as often and they also filled their card in a shorter time.
Use your rules and rewards to respond to (unconscious) behavior. Find out how you can use psychological mechanisms such as The Endowed Progress Effect to increase motivation.
Find a loyalty program that gives you a good insight into the statistics, so that you can experiment and research what works best for your customers.
7. Gamification (Marriott)
Another form of reward is recognizing and rewarding customers through status levels, which allows them to earn extra privileges.
Adding gamification ensures that people make even more effort to achieve and maintain a certain status. In other words, it keeps customers engaged, which is about as valuable as anything you could achieve with any marketing tool.
A good example of a loyalty program that responds to this is the Marriott Hotel. Every time customers spend at one of the hotels, they get a better status. There are about 8 different levels, from Member to 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.
Loyalty programs can work wonders for your business and work in any industry. So take a good look at successful examples within your industry or get advice from loyalty experts, such as Piggy.
Piggy is a Plug & Play loyalty system that gives you complete freedom at low monthly costs to set up your loyalty program as it suits your company.
The unique thing about Piggy is that customers not only collect points with you, but also with thousands of other companies. Instead of all kinds of separate rewards cards, customers only need the Piggy App, or swipe card, to save points at every company.