loyalty program

Acquiring customers is a challenge for any industry, yet retail shoppers are particularly fickle and may not regularly return to sites where they made a one-time purchase. Thus, many retailers find themselves continuing to pay to re-acquire customers they had already acquired.

Loyalty programs are one tactic that retailers use to provide a hook for customers to keep coming back. According to the 2016 Bond Loyalty Report, 81% of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs. And 73% of members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs. Clearly, these programs help to convert your shoppers from occasional browsers to steadfast customers (and even brand advocates).

Appropriate timing and targeting are critical to encouraging signups to loyalty programs. A first-time browser on your site hasn’t decided if she wants to purchase from you yet, so a pop-up asking her to sign up on the first page she visits may not result in a positive (or relevant) experience for her. However, a repeat visitor, especially one that has purchased from you in the past, might be receptive to that same message. Understanding the differences between each persona on your site is critical to reaching them with the right message.

Let’s explore some examples, focusing on the needs of first-time visitors vs. repeat customers.

Convert First-Time Browsers into Loyalists

While a pop-up message shown to a first-time visitor before she has demonstrated any intent to buy may be disruptive, a message that gives her compelling reasons to sign up for your loyalty program while she is considering a purchase would not be.

One way to provide this timely content is to feature inline messages on your product detail pages for visitors who fall into a first-time visitor persona. Messages within these pages can nudge a shopper to purchase and join your loyalty program simultaneously.

loyalty program

An inline campaign, like in the example above, should provide relevant context to your program’s benefits and appeal to browsers that have already expressed some intent to buy. Note that the message is displayed above the fold so it’s featured, yet does not detract from the checkout function.

Convert Repeat Buyers into Loyalists

Once a customer returns to your site after making a purchase, she is matched with a different persona. Now she’s a repeat buyer and different messages will appeal to her.

For example, you can personalize her experience with content on your homepage. Emphasize points or benefits that she missed during her last purchase to encourage her to take advantage of them this time, and continue to reinforce your value.

loyalty program

The two messages above — the callout on the top and the free shipping message on the right — do just that. Note that the message at the top does not appear for visitors who have never purchased before because that offer would not apply to them.

Additionally, neither message should appear for customers that are already members of your program. For them, you could focus instead on the benefits they do receive by already being members of your program, and how they will continue to benefit if they keep shopping.

Wrap Up

Targeting relevant messages to each shopper persona on your site at the right time can help you to drive sign-ups to your loyalty program. But after you get those loyal shoppers, you need to continue to provide value to ensure that they return time and again. Shoppers expect personalized experiences with their loyalty programs, given how much data they know you have about them. And the 2016 Bond Loyalty Report found that only 22% of shoppers feel very satisfied with the level of personalization they experience with a loyalty program, down from 28% in 2015!

Clearly there is room for more personalization in loyalty programs, both before and after sign-up.

For more tips and ideas on how to increase conversions and drive loyalty with personalization, download our eBook Great Ideas and Examples for E-Commerce Sites.