“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh! what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.” That’s right, with the Black Friday craze over, we’ve officially reached part two of the Golden Quarter, the three-month-long retail rush that generates a large chunk of revenue for brands and retailers. Mind you, the competition is extra fierce this time of year, so you’ll need a sound holiday loyalty campaign that relies on more than just discounts.

I’m talking about gamification, personalization and exclusivity: the holy trinity of 21st-century customer experience. Here are five companies that have really outdone themselves with holiday loyalty campaigns. So, if you wish to make your own campaign feel extra Christmas-y, don’t hesitate to get inspired by these examples.

1. DSW VIP – Free Shipping During the Holidays

Customers love free shipping. It’s a great incentive for any loyalty program, because you’d most likely offer it anyway, but featuring free shipping as a loyalty reward motivates shoppers to enroll. DSW took this concept one step further by tying the shipping speed to various tier levels.

Entry-level loyalty members receive access to the standard free 4-7-day shipping. Reaching the Gold tier unlocks free shipping on product returns, another highly requested service. And, at the highest tier, customers are eligible for free 2-day shipping, unlocking the maximum level of convenience.

And where does the holiday spirit come into play? Well, during the height of the Christmas shopping period, DSW extends this offer to non-loyalty members as well. This move is equal parts generous and brilliant.

On one hand, customers usually get excited when they can save money during the most expensive month of the year. And as mentioned, getting free shipping may encourage them to join the program and stick with DSW for the rest of the year, too.

Besides the allure of free shipping, DSW also capitalizes on FOMO by reminding customers that the offer is available for a limited time only.

2. JD Williams Rewards – 12 Days of Treats

Who doesn’t love advent calendars? As a kid, the thrill of opening the small compartments and finding a differently-shaped piece of chocolate each day made the anticipation for Christmas Eve so much greater. And thanks to loyalty programs, adults have finally something to be eager about, too.

UK-based fashion brand JD Williams introduced a similar concept for its loyalty program, which is powered by Antavo. Each day a new kind of reward category is unveiled. What makes this holiday loyalty campaign truly genuine is that it focuses on the experience, not just the transaction.

Instead of giving a coupon or a discount every time, JD Williams adds in additional gifts for purchases that reach a certain volume, such as free biscuits from a partner, or unique members-only content, like beauty tips. Doing so makes customers invested in the campaign, as they’re returning day after day to see what kind of surprise awaits them.

Making the rewards available for a limited time only has other benefits besides FOMO. It also keeps you from hurting your profit margin when too many customers request the same offer.
Making the rewards available for a limited time only has other benefits besides FOMO. It also keeps you from hurting your profit margin when too many customers request the same offer.

3. Rewards by Harvey Nichols – An Unforgettable Experience for Christmas

Today’s customers are more interested in partaking in memorable experiences than material ownership. From their perspective, the item they purchase is most likely owned by thousands, if not millions, of other people, which devalues the unique nature of the product. Experiences, however, are personal and unrepeatable.

Experiential marketing is oftentimes challenging, but Harvey Nichols finds a way to break new ground each time. This Christmas, for instance, it prepared an enchanting holiday getaway on the fifth floor of its Knightsbridge store. Complete with an ice-cream cocktail bar and a pocket movie theater, the Secret Forest is the ideal location for couples looking for a romantic evening.

Partaking in such an outstanding experience generates brand love that can last for years, subsequently leading to a higher lifetime value among loyalty members. The only downside is that such events are only available in a handful of locations. Still, if you have a flagship store with the room for it, then make sure to organize a Christmas experience at least once.

Harvey Nichols even offers a menu of Nordic treats, making their movie screenings an experience for all the senses.
Harvey Nichols even offers a menu of Nordic treats, making their movie screenings an experience for all the senses.

4. LVR Privilege – Holiday Game

Nothing sparks interest easier than gamification. Simply put, we love games. We love to engage with them. The simple notion of handing out random rewards in a loyalty program is much more interesting when it’s done as part of a game-like experience.

Case in point: holiday games. Italian-born luxury giant LuisaViaRoma managed to impress members of their LVR Privilege program with a limited-time holiday campaign, called the Magic Ball. Each week during the Christmas holidays, customers receive two attempts to ask the Magic Ball for a reward. If they have Lady Luck on their side, a loyalty point bonus is added to their balance.

Gamified holiday loyalty campaigns are a must-have. They are great differentiators, and creating a game that’s tied to your brand image isn’t difficult,either. Winners share their experiences on social media, creating great word-of-mouth advertising, plus giving out loyalty points increase the odds of customers making a purchase before Christmas.


5. Marriott Bonvoy Moments – Bidding for Holiday Deals

The holidays aren’t just about presents, most people seek to rest and relax, or to celebrate with friends. Popular hotel chain Marriott’s Bonvoy program ties those two elements together. Customers earn points for staying in the hotel. Then they use the points to bid on live events, auction house-style.

Naturally, the list of available packages in the loyalty program reflect on the season, with various “Moments” offering events for Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

The takeaway from Marriott Bonvoy? Always reserve some holiday-themed products, events or services for your loyalty program. People are very interested in seasonal rewards, and willing to increase their spend to earn more points, which can later be used toward their dream reward.


It’s Time to Spread the Holiday Spirit

This should be plenty of material to help you start planning your holiday loyalty campaign. Missed the date? Don’t worry, instead you can start preparing for Valentine’s Day.