creative ideas for customer loyalty rewards

Creative Customer Rewards Program Ideas to Engage New Shoppers

While loyalty is important to maintaining a brand’s current market share, pulling in new leads is the catalyst for true growth. Increasing market share is easier said than done, however, as your company’s goal is the same as millions of other companies—and there are only so many consumers to go around. In a crowded, overly saturated marketplace, your brand must find a way to rise above the static and noise.

One marketing approach that companies have employed to successfully gain the attention of consumers is rewards programs. Rewards memberships have traditionally seen a 15% growth each year, but it can still be difficult to gain the attention of consumers distracted by a wide array of options. Companies can create their own in-house customer rewards program ideas, but pushing adoption of them can be difficult if your aim is to venture into new target audiences.

After all, customers who join brand-based rewards programs are usually already engaged with the brand. Creatively executed brand strategies, then, will see the most success when they partner with a third party that offers a unique slant on rewards—and a ready-made, receptive audience.

Novel Customer Rewards Program Ideas

Starbucks is a brand with its finger on the pulse of innovative advertising. With 13 million users in the US alone, the Starbucks app has one of the most used branded customer rewards programs on the market today—and that number continues to grow as features are added and upgraded. Currently, the company is leading the way in the emerging technology of mobile payments. The success of Starbucks’ app can easily be attributed to its:  creative ideas for customer loyalty rewards

  • Branded rewards points system: Starbucks rewards are referred to as stars. This brands their rewards system as their own, making it stand out from other systems that use generic, non-branded terms like points.
  • Easy-to-understand incentives: While they don’t offer a wide array of choices for point redemption, the Starbucks system is easy to understand. After collecting 125 stars, users can redeem them for free drinks or food items. The tracking is done on a relatively automatic basis, so they can easily keep count. They’re also easy to redeem, as users can cash in by phone order or at the counter. And ease of use is important to consumers. About 37% of U.S. consumers participate in a rewards program simply because it requires no effort on their part. If a rewards program is so simple that the customer barely has to do anything to enjoy its perks, it’s surprisingly easy to convert them into a regular user.  
  • Innovative technology: One of the fastest growing payment segments is the mobile wallet. The enabled mobile wallet of the Starbucks app now accounts for 16% of all Starbucks revenue. Using innovative tech and programs allows Starbucks to stay ahead of its fierce competition.

Starbucks app users choose to download the app because it makes the ordering process faster and easier. With it, they can order via phone and pick up their coffee on their way to work, saving time. Their mobile app strategy is highly and successfully targeted to its prime market of busy commuters by making a regular task more convenient for them.

Of course, it needs to be noted that by the time Starbucks rolled out their rewards program, they were one of the hottest coffee shops in the US. While some brands do carry that much clout, many will need to leverage partnerships with engaging third-party apps. And, even if brands are able to successfully implement their own branded app, partnering with a secondary platform can amplify results.

How Third-Party Apps Drive Digital Customer Rewards Program Success

If your company is looking for creative ways to engage new customers with a mobile rewards program, you can reduce costs while improving ROI by partnering with an existing third-party program. This allows your brand to gain access to their pre-existing user base and engage with a new target audience. Choosing an innovative retail mobile app can help your brand:

  • Locate and notify users of your products: Geolocation enabled third-party shopping apps offer the opportunity to reach users in real time and incentivize them to engage with your brand. Shopping app users typically receive notifications while they’re near or in store via beacon technology, informing consumers of potential rewards when they engage with your brand—and turning a routine shopping trip into a scavenger hunt.
  • Connect with a user base with high conversion potential: Mobile shopping rewards app users are already part way down the sales funnel as they’re in the buying stage. By partnering with an app that boasts a high level of active daily users, you’re connecting with warm sales leads on a daily basis.
  • Appeal to tech-savvy consumers: 26% of smartphone users report they’ll abandon a customer rewards program that doesn’t have smartphone capabilities. Inclusive apps that make life easier for consumers are in high demand. It’s not just a matter of allowing them to redeem rewards, consumers want to be able to shop online and locate items in the store with their phones.

If users feel that the customer rewards program app they’re using is tech-forward, convenient, and user-friendly, they’re far more likely to not only download it but also become a frequent user. By partnering with third-party apps, companies can reach a group of consumers that are already engaged, helping your brand to reach new customers at the ideal moment for a conversion.

Starbucks was able to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to tech. By being an early adopter of utilizing mobile rewards apps, as well as location-based advertising, they continue to gain new users even in a crowded industry segment.

Your brand can easily follow this industry leader’s example. Choose third-party shopping apps that offer more than just rewards. Shopkick is a shopping rewards app that offers your brand innovative interactions with a strong base of active users. If you’re interested in learning more about partnering with us, contact our team today.

Image courtesy dolgachov



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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.