In our second edition of Retail Recap 2019, we saw a prevailing theme around the power of loyalty programs. Whether newly launched or revamped, loyalty programs can entice elevated customer engagement and achieve competitive differentiation. Here’s what stood out to us in the second quarter:
By Jim Tierney, Clarus Commerce
Reebok to “Unlock” Greater Customer Loyalty
As more retailers rethink their loyalty strategies, Reebok unveiled a new program called, “Unlocked.” Unlocked hits on some key themes that include enhanced experiential benefits and customer experience. The Unlocked loyalty program is a tiered offering that includes free shipping and returns, VIP customer service, events, training sessions, and additional personalized offers.
Reebok’s new loyalty program comes on the heels of Lululemon’s premium loyalty test program that mixes transactional and experiential benefits. It also launched a revamped website to enhance the overall customer experience. Reebok officials hope that combining a new loyalty program with a new website will create a win-win situation.
Cinemark Free Program with Premium Loyalty Tier
Adding a premium tier to an existing free loyalty program can do wonders for your customer engagement and brand advocacy. Just ask Cinemark.
Cinemark Movie Rewards combines Cinemark Connections, Cinemark’s existing free loyalty program, and Movie Club, the monthly membership program, and allows loyalty members the choice to choose between two tiers: Movie Fan and Movie Club.
After extensive research, Cinemark launched Cinemark Movie Rewards which gives members greater access to free tickets, special events, and food and beverage rewards. Cinemark Movie Rewards is a great example of how a premium tier seamlessly complements a free loyalty program through an attractive mix of transactional and experiential benefits.
Dunkin’ Tests More Payment Options for Loyalty Program Members
Members of Dunkin’s popular DD Perks loyalty program now have more payment options that will make the customer experience more seamless. Program members can now pay with credit and debit cards, and cash and earn points at more than 1,000 test stores. Our CEO, Tom Caporaso, called this a “smart move” in a Digital Transactions article.
“Today consumers want loyalty programs that seamlessly fit their current lifestyle and habits, so it’s important for brands to understand their customers and build their program accordingly,” Tom said. “Dunkin’ clearly recognized an opportunity to expand payment options, and by being more inclusive to all customers Dunkin’ is set up to drive loyalty across its entire customer base.”
Godiva Café Launches in U.S.
Godiva officials are confident in their plans for growth. They opened their first café in the U.S. The 1,200-square-foot café is located on Manhattan’s East Side and offers a menu of sandwiches, salads, specialty beverages, and, of course, a delicious array of sweet and savory treats. Godiva officials plan to open 10 more cafes in New York state by the end of 2019. Long term, the plan calls for 2,000 locations worldwide, which includes 400 in the Americas. Tom believes this is a smart strategic move because it plays to Godiva’s strengths.
“One of the greatest assets that brick and mortar brands like Godiva have is their physical real estate and adding a refreshed component to the in-store experience will create renewed excitement for both long-standing and new customers,” he said. “The chocolatier has already established itself as a premier brand for special occasions, but these eateries now also allow it to be a staple in its customers’ everyday lives. This will help create a deeper, more meaningful connection to the brand, and build consumer loyalty over time.”
The Enhancing Loyalty Theme Continued at CRMC
At CRMC (The Customer Relationship Management Conference) this common theme continued.
Hope Tannenbaum, Senior Director – CRM, Loyalty & Research, at Foot Locker, talked about the company’s revamped loyalty program and overarching goal of solidifying customer relationships and rewarding those customers in new and unique ways. Foot Locker has achieved this nicely by offering activities where you can earn Foot Locker points and a rewards catalog with member-only items, merchandise, and experiences.
Meanwhile, Frank Neumann, Senior Director of Consumer Lifecycle Management at Vans, shared insights about Vans Family and its unparalleled loyalty program that includes personalized experiences, exclusive members-only products, and unique rewards to support Vans’ overall company vision.
Vans, the original action sports lifestyle sports brand and one of the largest youth culture marketers in the world, launched its first-ever customer loyalty program titled, “Vans Family,” in early 2018. Frank also spoke about the significance of the company’s philanthropic efforts in giving back to its Vans communities.
Vans Family is an interactive and intuitive loyalty program designed to recognize, reward, and celebrate Vans fans for who they are and what they like to do.
How Loyalty Programs Will Impact 2019
Tom talked about the power of retail loyalty programs and their potential impact in this BizReport article.
“We’re also seeing an increasing number of brands and retailers adopt a paid loyalty strategy, either as an added layer to an existing points system or as a standalone program,” Tom said. “For example, brands like Lululemon, Wayfair, and CVS already offer these, where customers pay a monthly or annual fee to unlock exclusive perks like VIP express checkout, private workshops, bonus products and more. Since they target a brand or retailer’s top customers, marketers are realizing a paid strategy can be a key differentiator for driving long-term loyalty.”
"Smart technology will create loyalty moments for consumers."
“For example, Nike holds the gold standard of this with its NYC store,” Tom explained. “The flagship engages consumers by offering advanced digital capabilities, such as the Nike App to help them discover, learn and find the products they want with ease and speed, and a Sneaker Lab where they can customize shoes and view fittings in-store. These technology offerings, coupled with white-glove service, fresh in-store design, and NikePlus member-only experiences help the brand create emotional experiences that attract customers and keep them engaged over time.”
The Best Loyalty Programs Focus on Your Customers
Launching new or modified loyalty programs dominated the second quarter from our perspective. And many retailers realize a well-conceived loyalty program that combines transactional and experiential benefits will lift their customers to new heights.
Understanding your customers’ pain points and addressing them through a series of appealing program benefits will help your brand inspire true loyalty.
Jim Tierney is a Loyalty Content Specialist at Clarus Commerce, working closely with the B2B Marketing team. Aside from cranking out loyalty-related content, he is the proud father of two beautiful daughters, an avid runner and an old movie fanatic who calls Alfred Hitchcock his favorite director and Claude Rains his favorite actor.