Building a Competitive Loyalty Program with AIQ 

In today’s highly competitive retail space, with hundreds of businesses offering similar products and services, customer loyalty plays a crucial role in ensuring consumers choose your brand over others. Implementing a loyalty rewards program is a strong way to build long-term relationships with your customers, increasing their loyalty, retention and profitability. With AIQ, you’re free to design your own innovative, strategic program that speaks to the character of your brand, backed by reliable tools to power your experience.

Building an effective program

A valuable membership program fosters a loyal customer base while continuing to drive sales. Where do you start?

1. Establishing a system of core rewards: The most important layer to a successful loyalty program is the rewards system it’s built on. An effective program should target customers during key moments in the retail journey, like the first time a customer joins your program.

Other examples include a bonus offer once a customer completes their first purchase to incentivize a return visit, rewards triggered when points & spend milestones are reached, a special birthday bonus and membership anniversary gifts. All touch points are designed to keep the customer connected to your brand by personalizing the retail experience through automated rewards.

2. Create a two-tier system: A two-tier loyalty program separates customers into two groups: (1) customers who signed up for your program and (2) customers who signed up and opted in to receive direct notifications from your brand.  

The reason? Having immediate access to notify your customers directly with unlocked rewards, targeted campaigns, and promotions gives you the platform to achieve optimal returns on your marketing & sales activations. 

Using AIQ Sign Up forms is an easy way to achieve this, and can be strategically displayed on a kiosk in-store, embedded into your website, or accessible via QR code to ensure the process is simple and generates opportunity for customers to opt-in post sign up.

3. Individualized treatment to drive retention:
Maintaining loyalty becomes a top priority once a customer has joined your program. To do so, retailers must treat each shopper as an individual, not just a faceless number. This builds an emotional connection between the brand and customer, which is key in establishing long-term loyalty. 

Using AIQ’s Audience segmentation capabilities, you can reward customers based on their purchases, target them when established milestones are reached, and generate campaigns centered around customer buying behavior like favorite product, average basket size, and total loyalty points among many, to ensure you have the necessary tools to accomplish an individualized approach.

4. Exclusive experiences generate interest: Traditional loyalty programs based solely on transactions (earning points, redeeming rewards) are no longer enough as membership programs become increasingly popular. Customers compare membership programs, and it is vital yours has clear value and connects to your base. Strong loyalty initiatives focus on retention across all touchpoints with exclusivity incorporated throughout to ensure joining your loyalty program is beneficial. 

What does this look like? Examples include exclusive shopping rights to extended sales, early access to deals, and pop-up rewards available only to loyalty members, making customers feel special for being a part of your membership program.

A great way to accomplish this is incorporating AIQ’s Ongoing Campaigns throughout your shopper journey, automating the process to ensure it’s sustainable, and effectively reaching your base during valuable, key moments without any manual work required.

The benefits

  • Increased customer satisfaction: Customers feel valued and appreciated when they are rewarded for their loyalty. They are more likely to perceive and recommend the brand to others positively.
  • Increased customer retention: Customers are more likely to stay loyal to a brand that offers them rewards and incentives. They are less likely to switch to competitors or look for alternatives.
  • Increased customer spending: Customers are more likely to spend more when they are part of a loyalty rewards program. They are motivated to earn more rewards, redeem them, and take advantage of exclusive offers and discounts.
  • Increased customer referrals: Customers are more likely to refer their friends and family to a brand that has a loyalty rewards program. They can share their rewards, invite others to join, and spread the word about the brand.
  • Increased customer data: Customers are more willing to share their personal information, preferences, and feedback when participating in a loyalty rewards program. This allows the brand to collect valuable customer data and use it to personalize its marketing campaigns, products, and services.

Ready to create your own?

Here’s some best practices to follow as you begin strategizing with your team to develop your loyalty program: 

  • Define your goals and objectives: Before launching a loyalty program, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you will measure your success. For example, do you want to increase customer retention, spending, referrals, or data? How will you track and analyze your results? Defining these key metrics with AIQ’s Analytics tool ensures you will be able to effectively measure your successes, and see where improvement could be made. 
  • Know your customers and their needs: You should design your loyalty program based on customer segments, behaviors, and their preferences using AIQ’s Audience Builder. With this, offer rewards that are relevant, valuable, and appealing to your customers, using AIQ’s Discount Builder to populate customer profiles with these available rewards, communicated to customers using our campaign tool to optimize visibility. 
  • Make your loyalty rewards program simple and easy: Ensuring your loyalty program is easy to understand, join, and use helps staff better market your program to customers which in turn, helps customers see the value and want to sign up. Avoid complicated rules, restrictions, and expiration dates so the customer doesn’t feel confused or shorted by the program. Make rewards easy to earn, redeem, and access using AIQ App Wallets to bring this experience to life, with clear and consistent messaging + branding across all channels.
  • Make your loyalty rewards program unique and differentiated: Your loyalty program needs to stand out from your competitors and offer something that they cannot. Using your brand identity, values, and story to create a distinctive loyalty program helps build that customer connection to ensure they prioritize your membership over others. Great ways to stand out are using gamification, like AIQ’s Prize Wheel, and personalization throughout the program, which can be accomplished through AIQ’s Personalization Macros and AIQ Audiences.

Interested in learning more on how to leverage the power of AIQ to run your loyalty program? Check out AIQ’s Academy or schedule a demo today