Four Ways to Level Up Your Program’s Loyalty Rewards

Even though it feels like the year has just begun, 2023 is ending, and as such it’s important to reflect on successes and failures from the year in review.

For many B2B loyalty or reward programs, this includes seeing what clicked with your participants and what didn’t out of your reward offerings. These selections are integral to the success of your program – if the prizes aren’t aspirational and directly modelled on what your expected target audience wants, why would they be interested?

Luckily, we’ve collected four important things to consider in leveling up your loyalty program’s reward selection, just in time for your end-of-year review. If you’re looking for more insight into how to push your program to more competitive heights, reach out – we’ve been creating B2B loyalty and reward programs for Australian and New Zealand businesses since 1996, and we’ve turned around many struggling programs into great success.

1. Set Expectations with Communications

The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market has revolutionised the B2C delivery experience but has also created difficult expectations around delivery times. Likely, your rewards will not be able to match the same-day or next-day timeframes that individuals have come to expect, which has created warped perceptions around reward delivery timeframes.

As such, your program needs to be up-front about setting clear timeframes for fulfillment deadlines. Having the expected timeframes for receiving a claim to delivery and redemption readily available to your participants can remove disappointment from the process, reduce stress from your customer service team, and allow you to position the program and participants on the same level.

By working with those who redeemed from the program, you can alleviate any headaches around unrealistic expectations and increase satisfaction – exactly what you need to keep customers coming back for more!

2. Retain Engagement Through Reward Goals

When reviewing, it’s possible that you may see customers with points totals shy of achieving the top rewards. There could be many reasons for this – they didn’t have a need to purchase your product again within the timeframe, they lost interest, or simply forgot. On the flip side, this generally points to a lack of communication from your business.

One of the lesser-recognised benefits of a loyalty program is the amount of customer data you receive. This gives your business knowledge around the frequency of purchases and the annual times they generally occur.

By providing communications around these purchase habits, advising the participants of how far they are away from a great reward (targeted communications to the next reward level to their points), you provide a reminder and a welcome communication, which allows the customer to keep your brand front-of-mind when they’re next purchasing – and providing them with an incentive to keep buying your stock!

3. Change Behaviour with Physical Merchandise

We’ll aim not to get too deep with this, but there’s a popular psychological theory called expectancy theory which posits that people believe that their effort will lead to an outcome or reward that they desire. This provides motivation that works well with physical rewards.

Receiving a reward that they can physically have, and hold reinforces the connection between the effort they’ve put into the program and the reward that came from it. This also supports the discussion around trophy value included earlier – customers will proudly state when their efforts have paid off, considering this reward as a personal accomplishment which increases the likelihood of turning them into brand advocates.

The other benefit of physical merchandise rewards is the ability to be flexible in cost, allowing your business to tailor a program around any budget. This will let your rewards offering speak to a variety of different customers and the ways they individually interact with the program.

4. Build the Excitement with Reward Bundles

As with any successful loyalty rewards program, your pool needs to come from a deep analysis of your client’s customer demographics. This creates a selection of rewards that speak to the customer and reduce potential waste on taking chances on products that are unlikely to make an impact.

However, within these selections is the ability to take it to the next level with bespoke reward bundle selections. These can be formed out of thematic selections from your existing pool, providing discounts while increasing the perceived value of your program.

What we like to do is, in addition to putting together the bundle, include a congratulatory letter from the program, inclusive of branding to drive the connection between the business and the reward. Again, this creates a feeling that can’t be evoked with a purely digital selection, because the ritual of opening the package itself creates a sense of joy and excitement that cannot be replicated through email.

Alongside the increased perceived value, presenting larger bundles of items that resonate with your audience will increase retention and uptake of the program, causing the participants to stick around longer than they may already have if they had just purchased an individual item.

While many of these tips may lead you to believe that digital options lack impact, that’s not entirely true – just that physical rewards may serve purposes that digital selections may be unable to replicate. There are likely customer segments that will connect with the convenience and ease of availability that digital offers, but these options lack the human connection element that comes from a physical reward.

It’s important to consider your business goals and the pain points that caused your business to initially consider taking up a B2B loyalty or rewards program in the first place – and if you need help with working out the best way to proceed, turn to us. We know what your B2B customers want.

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