How rewards-based marketing influences customer engagement

In 2020, it’s not enough for brands to simply be visible. The average American is exposed to anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 marketing messages a day. To stand out, brands and retailers need to sustain shoppers’ attention for an extended period of time and encourage interaction. Rewards-based marketing is one of the ways to drive this deeper level of engagement. 

Rewards-Based Marketing Statistics

Brands and retailers should think of rewards-based marketing as a simple formula: ability + motivation = performance. Your company finds someone with the ability to perform a desired action such as making a purchase, then you provide the “reward” to motivate the purchase, which improves your company’s performance. The most-coveted rewards include discounts, free products and services, priority customer service, surprises, exclusive products, and members-only events.

Here are a few reasons to leverage rewards-based marketing to boost engagement:

  • Rewards matter to the vast majority of shoppers. Less than 8% of customers say rewards are “not at all important” to purchasing decisions. Yet, over half of customers say rewards are “important” for both big and daily purchases.
  • Rewards provide a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. Incentives sway 33% of shoppers to switch brands “often”; 42% are persuaded “sometimes.” 
  • Rewards offers are more profitable than discounts. Companies using rewards-based promotions saw an average of 36% year-over-year revenue growth, whereas companies using discount-based programs reported 28% growth. The profit margin per person was 8% higher for rewards program companies too.

How Rewards-Based Marketing Influences Customer Engagement

Research indicates, after having a positive omnichannel rewards experience:

1. Almost 70% of consumers will visit your retail location.  

You will want these retail shoppers to have a positive experience once you’ve gained their attention. Be sure you have either a mobile-enabled website, a standalone rewards app, or a partnership with a popular shopping platform to cater to mobile shoppers, as over 80% of customers use their smartphones in-store. Consider how to alleviate potential bottlenecks in the shopping process, such as allowing mobile checkout or providing sales associates with checkout-capable tablets so there are no obstacles to purchase. Advertise your rewards offers with prominent signage. Create fun, interactive displays to keep shoppers coming back for more. Think of your store as a place to “experience,” not just a place to buy. Many retailers are experimenting with food, music, VIP services, and events to make their physical locations more enticing. Rewards will likely get shoppers through your door, but the experience will bring them back.

2. Over 40% will follow your brand on social media. 

Social channels are a great place to update your brand’s following on the rewards you’re offering. If you’re not incorporating social media actions in your rewards program, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. One social media post has the power to reach 5,000 people on average, which can help you build a substantial following. Reward customers for following your brand on social media, sharing your content, or participating in your social contests. 

3. Over a third (35%) will go out of their way to view your branded content. 

When a person signs up for your rewards program, you are given access to their phone number, email, and possibly one’s address, too. With permission, you can use all of these channels to deliver email drip campaigns, newsletters, informative articles, helpful videos, and personalized correspondence. Content is a great way to nurture all your new leads. Maybe someone chose your brand because you used the right incentive to entice. Personalize content for different target audiences. Use content to describe your values, earn their trust, and set yourself apart from others.  

4. Over 30% will subscribe to your newsletter, if you have one. 

leverage rewards based marketingYou can use your newsletter to broadcast the benefits of your rewards program and help new members get the most of their membership. Furthermore, newsletters provide an effective way to track customer behavior. Once they open your newsletter, you can see what they view, click, or purchase next. You can trigger automated emails based on desired engagement behavior and link it to your rewards program. For instance, a user who has made three purchases in two months can automatically receive a free gift or reward tier upgrade. 

5. Another 15% of shoppers will attend one of your exclusive members-only events.

Events take engagement to the next level. Events drive sales due to psychological principles of “scarcity” and “FOMO” (the Fear of Missing Out). The sense of exclusivity generally puts people in the buying mood. You may decide to hold an event to re-engage inactive customer segments, combat off-peak declines, drive new signups, or encourage point redemptions. You can also hold an event to celebrate a company milestone, introduce a new product, show customer appreciation, or encourage holiday spending. By encouraging people to maximize their rewards, they’ll likely see greater value in your program and brand.

Partner With Shopkick to Influence Customer Engagement

Rewards create an opportune opening for brands to wedge their way into shoppers’ psyches and sustain long-term engagement. In a world driven by bargain-hunting and persuasion from outside influences, a well-designed rewards program puts brands in the driver’s seat. 

If you haven’t designed your own program yet, you can partner with a popular rewards program platform like Shopkick. Here’s how the rewards platform works: Shopkickers begin their purchase journey by browsing engaging in-app content from several brands and retailers, whether they’re at home or on the go. This content includes curated lookbooks, informative video ads, and more. For partners, this content helps build pre-shop awareness and consideration and puts products at the top of shoppers’ minds. 

Users can check the Shopkick app to see which brands or retailers offer “kicks,” or rewards points, which incentivize shoppers to visit a store or browse online. In-store, Shopkick utilizes an engaging gamification strategy that drives shoppers to products at-shelf and encourages physical product interaction in exchange for kicks. This allows brands to boost product awareness when it truly matters most—in aisle, with the product in hand. By offering users an additional kick incentive for making a purchase, Shopkick closes the loop and drives sales. Eventually, Shopkick users redeem their kicks for free gift cards, which builds a positive affinity and loyalty for the brands and retailers that awarded them. 

Even if you have a loyalty program of your own already, why not use all the modern tools at your disposal?

Even if you have a loyalty program of your own already, why not use all the modern tools at your disposal? By partnering with Shopkick, you increase your footprint, potentially to a brand new audience, and cultivate better engagement through a rewards-based incentive, rather than by racing to the bottom to compete with others on price point. 

Find out how Shopkick’s rewards-based marketing has worked for our partners. We work with top brands and retailers. Contact Shopkick to learn how easy it is to engage consumers with your first campaign.


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Image courtesy of Daria Chichkareva



Shopkick is the fun and easy way to earn free gift cards for the shopping you already do. Download the app now!

How rewards-based marketing influences customer engagement



Shopkick is the fun and easy way to earn free gift cards for the shopping you already do. Download the app now!

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