With soaring ad costs and rising competition, building and maintaining brand loyalty is a top priority. In a fast-moving world where customers are in the driving seat, successful brands are rewarding their most valuable customers with loyalty programs that deliver exceptional experiences.
While many brands simply focus their loyalty programs on transactional loyalty to drive sales, there is an opportunity to harness emotional loyalty that is often missed. A Gallup survey found that customers with emotional ties to brands spend 45% more money, and are 31% more likely to visit a store, than brands that don’t leverage consumer sentiment.
How a customer feels about your brand is one of the leading indicators of if they will transact again and again. Let’s explore three unexpected ways you can increase customer loyalty by driving a deeper emotional connection to your brand:
1. Surprise and delight with gift cards. One way to keep customers buying from you is by providing attractive incentives. For instance, creating a point-based reward system without big redemption hurdles has shown to enhance purchase behavior. You can even take it a step further and issue a gift card soon after the first transaction to encourage the next sale. A gift card may sound basic, but it’s actually pretty unexpected. In a sea of promo codes, a gift card actually feels like a gift. According to First Data’s U.S. Prepaid Consumer Insights, 68% of consumers expressed that gift cards are their preferred type of incentive, with coupons and bonus bucks lagging behind. When you reward your consumers with something they really want, they’ll keep coming back. Because not only are you meeting your customers’ needs and wants — you’re providing them an exceptional customer experience, too.
2. User generated content. It’s great to know you have happy customers, but it’s even better when the world knows it, too. When you provide an outlet for your customers to share their experiences with your brand, or show off their latest purchases via a forum or a social media hashtag, you instantly create brand ambassadors. Think of popular brand hashtags like #AerieReal or #WayfairAtHome. They not only generate a ton of buzz, but serve as free advertisements for your products that influence prospective buyers. To get this type of content, include your hashtag in your order confirmation emails or mail inserts. You can gamify UGC by selecting a Winner of the Week to receive a prize, or a simple shoutout on your channels. You can even partner with a company like Bounty to provide cash back for quality content. Sometimes, a little recognition goes a long way in creating a fan for life.
3. Branded resale: According to a recent report from Depop, Gen Z’s shopping behaviors are ‘strongly influenced’ by brand commitments to social and environmental sustainability. Out of the 2,000 Gen Z consumers surveyed, 60% are driven by a brand reducing its carbon footprint. In order to connect with younger consumers, brands are turning to resale, since each item resold reduces its impact by 82%. Companies like CUTS, Maaji and JuJuBe have partnered with us to create branded resale shops that allow their customers to buy and sell pre-loved clothing and accessories from each other. With Treet, brands get a cut of each secondhand sale and the seller can choose store credit back to the brand to shop something new. In fact, 40-65% of our customers opt for store credit and spend 175% more with the brand. Meeting your shoppers’ demands for sustainability makes them feel great about shopping with you for years to come.
Brand loyalty can be built in various ways and a great program that drives an emotional connection will undoubtedly drive repeated engagement. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!