It Pays to be a Customer: Our 4 Favorite Customer Loyalty Programs

Posted by Robin Johnston on Apr 12, 2018 7:00:00 AM
Robin Johnston

Loyal customers are the backbone of any business. Not only are they the ones driving your sales, their word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations play in important role in spreading brand awareness and expanding your reach. This is why businesses spend time, money, and resources finding ways to not just attract new customers, but to turn those individuals into loyal, repeat customers.  One of the best ways this is done is by rewarding your customers!  

The concept isn't anything new. Just think of the old days of punch cards that reward customers with a 10th meal for free.  As customer buying behavior evolves, customer loyalty programs continue to be improved, with businesses steadily coming up with interesting, innovative programs that retain customers and solve problems, all while providing great customer perks.  Below are four of our favorite customer loyalty programs from 2017. 

Cinemark Movie Club

Disruption is great for innovation, but it does impact the status quo if they fail to keep up.  One of the industries experiencing disruption is the movie industry.  It's not only streaming affecting the industry, but also subscription-based services like Movie Pass that allow customers to see any movies they want for a monthly fee.  Cinemark is competing with its own loyalty program, Cinemark Movie Club.  This loyalty program, for a monthly fee, gives customers one movie ticket per month, a 20% discount on concessions, and additional tickets at a discounted rate for additional parties.  Not only that, but unused tickets roll over to the next month. This program is integrated into the Cinemark brand, including its mobile app. One of the great features of the app involves putting a phone in CineMode and using it for sharing on social media platforms, resulting in more loyalty points.  This is a great way of using intelligent marketing while at the same time rewarding customers. 

Lids Access Pass

Lids, a hat, apparel, and accessories retailer, provides a loyalty program which relies on Wi-Fi analytics.  By downloading the app, and creating an account, customers gain access to rewards points, birthday gifts, and early notifications on special offers.  By paying an annual fee, customers get those same perks in addition to discounts on merchandise and access to special offers.  The app also uses Wi-Fi presence analytics to help customers find the nearest store.  

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My Chili's Rewards

As far as restaurants, Chili's offers one of the best loyalty programs out there.  The program is completely digital and is at the forefront of intelligent marketing by providing personalized offers to customers based on their purchases.  One of the most unique innovations that Chili's has implemented into its loyalty program is gaming.  Based on a customer's preferences, Chili's offers challenges to customers that result in points, such as trying a new menu item.  Chili's also includes small kiosks at its tables, so customers can participate in challenges, earning rewards at their tables.  

Amazon Prime

Amazon provides one of the most popular loyalty programs in the industry.  At first, the Amazon Prime subscription simply provided free shipping for members who paid the yearly subscription fee.  Today, the program has now evolved to include not only free shipping, but also free books, discounts, audio streaming, video streaming, digital storage, etc.  It provides an incentive for customers to not only use Amazon for their shopping needs, but to also take advantage of the other products and services that Amazon offers.  Amazon also combines analytics with its rewards program, looking at data such as most downloaded Prime books and other customer browser data to market exclusive offers for members.  

By incorporating technology and analytics into their loyalty programs, businesses - especially in the restaurant and retail industries - are able to offer unique, custom, innovative loyalty programs that not only pay customers but pay off in the long run.  Customers receive offers, incentives, and deals that reward their loyalty, while businesses are able to collect valuable customer data, boost marketing, and attract and retain customers.  It's an investment that pays off for everyone involved.  

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