I’ve talked in a few guides now about how running paid ads is becoming more expensive and more challenging to scale with decent profit margins, due mainly to competition.
Whilst paid ads will always be part of the marketing mix for brands to scale, many are not focusing on tapping into existing customers to extract more revenue, and hence, are missing out on a big opportunity to really increase CLTV and overall margins without relying just on paid media.
The benefits of this marketing initiative are as clear as day, and plays a big role in achieving long terms scalable and sustainable growth for stores and brands. Here are numerous benefits I’ve listed as to why brands and stores need to be all over this strategy.
When it comes to implementation, there are many 3rd-party solutions that can help you set up all the critical elements fairly quickly, and fairly cheaply. If you’re on Shopify, there are some amazing options that make it super easy to have as part of your store, including the likes of Smile.io, Growave, and Yotpo.
When going through these examples of loyalty programs I breakdown in this guide, look out for some of these best practices that you can use as inspiration:
Many of these brands do a stellar job with the above best practices.
It’s time to dive into these examples. Over to you, and I hope you enjoy this guide. :)
By the way, all the links go straight to the references for you to explore further.
Mukti is an organic beauty brand that is known for its award-winning formulations using native Australian extracts, with its moisturiser being a particular best seller. Nonetheless, they have a wide range of products, from cleansers and serums to deodorants and perfumes, at an average of around $50 per product.
People fall in love with the brand for a reason, and their beauty bonus program has even more perks:
Princess Polly is an Australian fashion brand that ended up taking the world by storm. They are on top of the latest trends, and are particularly popular among Millennials and Gen Z markets. They have an awesome program which is certainly an attractive additional offering to retain loyal customers:
Homeleon believes that slipcovers are one of the best, cheapest, and easiest ways to transform a room. By changing the way the sofa looks, the whole atmosphere changes, and this is made even better by the fact that Homeleon slipcovers fit sofas to a tee. No more awkward tucks, no more ill-fitting corners. And because you may want to keep changing your sofa look every now and then, signing up to their program is a great way to build brand loyalty. Lets take a look at their page:
Health-Ade is known to create arguably the best kombucha in town, as their brand initially grew through sheer word of mouth. From their humble origins in the farmer’s market to being featured on Business Insider, their mission is to help people have healthier guts. In an attempt to encourage this, they’ve set up an attractive VIP program for their customers:
My July is a natural beauty and body brand, designed to nurture even the most sensitive of skin. Their products are free of gluten, soy, and parabens, and everything is made by hand in small batches to ensure quality. At an average price of $30 for their face oils and body balms, it’s a good deal. This is made even better by their rewards program:
Bronze Snake was founded in 2006, and they quickly grew famous for their in-house production of their own clothing lines. This means unique designs that couldn’t be found with other brands, an assurance of quality, and a lower price point. For high-quality clothing at an average of $80, we say that’s fair value. To make things even better for consumers, they have put a new loyalty program in place called 'Bronzy Benefits':
Sunday Citizen is a family textile business, now in its fourth generation. They are known for creating cashmere-soft blankets at affordable prices, initially marketed toward hoteliers. They eventually went into retail, making their textiles available for everyone.
Here’s a look at their loyalty program:
Who doesn’t know Lego? Forever heralded as one of the classic toys that both children and hobbyists can enjoy, people spend a large amount of money each year collecting the latest variations and designs. So, to make the most of these expenses, it’s best to become a Lego VIP member. Here’s the layout of their page:
Beginning Boutique is an online fashion retailer in Australia what caters particularly to a female audience.They feature trendy pieces leaning into the younger market, with prices usually hitting an average of $100. Their customer loyalty program represents this aesthetic well:
Frank Body is a body care brand best known for their scrubs. The brand name itself is a persona that the creators have made, with a personality and vibrancy that matches their intended audience. Think: Quirky, playful, and fun, which is just as evident on their loyalty program page:
Ballsy creates a well-loved body wash called Ballwash, named aptly because this product is made primarily for men. It uses a mix of natural ingredients, which is a prime selling point as businesses catering to men rarely venture into this product type. This is a great rewards points structured program that’s worth looking into:
Premama is a company known for producing high-quality prenatal supplements to ensure the health of both mother and baby through pregnancy. They make sure that their products are clear for possible irritants, and that the tablets are easy on the stomach. They also have three ways through which customers can earn points and save money in the long run:
Famous for their tasty and classy rose, Summer Water believes that the famous summer go-to drink can be enjoyed all year round. With their award-winning mix, great branding, and affordability at just $80 per bottle, their rose is definitely something to look forward to. Then there’s loyalty program, aptly named as Societe for that fancy touch:
Nike is arguably the biggest sports sneakers brand in the world, and for good reason. They have continually stayed on top of their game, from product releases to collaborations to marketing efforts. One of the ways they continually cultivate customer loyalty to their brand is via their customer loyalty program, also known as Nike membership:
Merlo is a coffee brand that has been around for over 30 years. Though most known for their high-quality, freshly roasted coffee, they also set themselves apart with their standard of customer service and attentiveness. They now also sell coffee equipment and tea, starting at an average of $15. The more you purchase and drink, the more rewards you get when you join their loyalty program called the Friend of Merlo:
Deeto believes that living healthy can be something that people enjoy, starting with the food choices they make. The brand is primarily created for women, with organic and sustainable powdered drinks at an average of $35 a pack. As a small business, they openly bank on the loyalty that can be formed through their rewards program:
H&M is an internationally known fast fashion brand, particularly famed for their classic pieces at cheaper prices. Given that the very purpose of the company is to spur people on to continuously buy the latest clothing items, it makes sense for them to have their own program called H&M Membership, which rewards loyal customers that keep buying.
Picky Bars creates the perfect balance between a real food bar and a performance bar, using great ingredients that are meant to energise athletes and runners. They are best known for their granola and bars, priced at an average of $15 each. More purchases rack up points with their loyalty program:
Love golf? TaylorMade Golf has been in the industry for decades now, and they are known as the company that first introduced metal woods to the market. They also sell a plethora of other golf items, including putters, wedges, and balls, all designed to meet specific needs of players.
Here’s their customer loyalty program:
Happy Way takes pride in their natural supplements, and they are best known for its great-tasting protein powders in different variations. They also sell bars and snacks at an average of $25 per pack. With their loyalty program, they aim to spread happiness:
Pet Culture is an online pet store selling hand picked products and brands, to ensure that your beloved animals only get the best of the best. It is actually a joint venture between PetSure and Woolworths, so though the brand is fairly new, pet lovers can be assured of legitimacy and safety. They’re also attempting to build their brand through their loyalty program:
Esther and Co. is a women’s clothing brand known and loved for their silhouettes and romantic dresses. Their items typically cost around $80, and they have a wide range and sizes to choose from. A lot of ladies could definitely take advantage of their Royal Rewards:
Marcs is a well-known fashion brand in Australia with a range of clothing and accessories for both men and women. They’ve done a superb job with their setup and are a good benchmark for anyone looking for examples of tiered loyalty programs.
Farfetch is a luxury company committed to making designer fashion easier to access, wherever you may be in the world. They sell a wide range of products and serve as the link between the customer and the merchandiser. With customers spending well into thousands of dollars on the site, it makes sense to have a loyalty program set up:
Mecca is a beauty company that has three different branches, each featuring a certain tier of brands. But regardless of which category your beauty products fit in, all three branches are included in their rewards program called the Mecca Beauty Loop.
Williams Shoes has been around for over a century now and is known for being Australia’s go-to brand when it comes to footwear. Given that they’ve been around for a while, people are likely to make a purchase with them somewhere down the line. Let's see what they’ve done in this loyalty program example.
Country Road is a clothing brand that caters to all genders and ages, with designs that are well crafted and appear effortless. The average price for their clothing is $150, and they are made to last seasons. You could also join their customer loyalty program and receive many perks which are on offer:
Holy Energy is a startup brand created by Dutch Bros, and is named as such because they seek to create drinks that seem like soft drinks but are actually healthy for the body. Their website only comes in Dutch and French, but this page can be accessed by anyone:
The Sephora Beauty Pass program is a well-known example in the world of eCommerce. Sephora hosts some of the biggest brands, events, and they have millions of customers. So, with so many happy fans, it's no surprise that they’re unlocking more revenue through their loyalty club members. Here are some things I like with their page.
Sheridan is a brand known for their high quality textiles for the home - from bed sheets to bath towels to baby wraps. They’ve been around for more than 50 years, and the only continue to solidify their legacy and place in the industry.
Here’s a look at their Sheridan Rewards:
Elf is a famous drugstore beauty brand that makes good quality makeup and sells them at a low price. They are known for their lippies, primer, and blush, all of which can be bought under $10 each. It’s no surprise that many people are loyal to the brand, and they have a great rewards program too:
Bras N Things, as the brand name implies, sells women’s underwear, along with other items such as sleepwear and swimwear. They are known as Australia’s leading retailer when it comes to underwear and have since branched out to different countries like South Africa and the US. People love the variety that they offer and have a great loyalty strategy in place.
Treenery is a fashion brand that leans into sustainability, simplicity, and classic pieces. They primarily source responsible fabric and are committed to using quality materials for all their clothing, regardless of the line. A piece of clothing with them costs an average of $150, but given that their made of natural fibres, we’d say it’s worth it. They also have a really good rewards program in place:
Get huge discounts like $50 off when you spend $150 or $100 off when you spend $300.
Muscle and Strength is a supplements store catering to athletes, bodybuilders, and generally just people who work out. They also offer a database for healthy recipes, workout routines, diet plans, and more. With the way it’s set up like a gym club, it also makes sense that they have a program to reward customers to make future repeat purchases.
Jeans West has been in the clothing industry for over 45 years now, and they are most known for their lasting and great quality denim at fair prices. At an average of $80 per pair of jeans (and they have some good sales worth keeping an eye on), people definitely consider Jeans West as a staple in their closet here in Australia. Here’s what I like about their layout.
Ren Skincare is a popular skincare brand that is known for its clean and effective formulas. They especially cater to sensitive skin and choose to use gentle, bioactive natural ingredients for their products. Their best seller is their AHA tonic at $30, with most of their items going at that price range. They also have what they call the Clean Rewards:
Koh Living primarily sells artsy, unique gifts that can easily be given to your friends and loved ones. Built under the premise that looking for gift options shouldn't be so difficult or expensive, they make great, beautiful products at affordable prices, with most items under $50. They also have a great rewards program for their customers:
Target is a go-to for basically anything and everything people need to buy, and they have been established well enough that it is considered a trusted brand. Everyone is bound to make a purchase at Target, and it makes sense of them to have a customer loyalty program to not only encourage customers to keep coming back, but also for them to spend more each time.
Black Pepper is an Australian fashion brand, considered iconic by many as it has been around for over 40 years now. They are most known for their print designs, which are largely fresh and fun, at less than $100 apiece. Like many others, they also have a loyalty program:
Summer Fridays is a skincare brand founded in the US. They are fairly new in the industry but have grown big over the past years as they banked on influencer marketing and stood by their effective collection of products. They also have a great loyalty program:
Nutrition Warehouse is said to be Australia’s leading website for sports and bodybuilding supplements and materials. They have over 90 stores across the country and are continuously expanding their operations. Apart from their great and fairly priced products, they are also loved because they have a great rewards system that make people come back:
Minimax has been in the marketplace for over 50 years, and they are considered Melbourne’s original homeware store. This means stuff for the kitchen, the living room, and even the bathroom. Some people cover their entire houses with this brand, which is great because they have a loyalty program that gives out rewards:
Dulux is an international paint brand, known across the world for their high quality and standard. They offer a plethora of services with experts that are aligned with this market, such as painters and colour designers. People are rightfully loyal to the brand, and they get rewarded for this:
Mathers is nearly a century old already, yet customers continue to love them for their classic quality shoes. Based in Australia, they have a plethora of brands in stock, that can cater to different needs and design preferences. They are a partner company of Williams and have a similar customer loyalty program in place:
Ikea is an incredibly popular Swedish brand, now synonymous to the idea of DIY furniture. They have huge warehouse stores in different countries and are considered a widely affordable brand by many. They also offer food in some locations and are well known for their meatballs, even beyond their shelves and tables. Here’s a look at their customer loyalty program:
Sukin Naturals is an organic skincare brand, and they consider themselves to be a leader in the natural health and wellness industry. This is because they were one of the very first brands to venture into this, and they have since grown to become trusted in that area. Naturally, they also have rewards:
As the brand name itself says, Home Hardware sells hardware for the home, such as hammers, garden tools, and electrical fixtures.They’re considered a top brand in Australia and are trusted by many, which then follows that they have proved their loyalty to their customers - and vice versa.
Shein is fashion brand that's been around for a while and experienced rapid growth in particular during the pandemic. They are a favourite by many, with people continuously going to shop with them for fashionable and trendy pieces. You guessed it, they have a rewards program, which isn’t always offered by fashion brands.
However, it's certainly not one of the 'prettiest' experiences I've seen. I did want to include this though as does show that even as a multi-million dollar brand, they keep things simple (and it works).
Lenovo is a tech brand most well known for their laptops, though they also sell tablets, PCs, phones, and other smart devices, Given the normally high expenses on their products, they have set up a program that is worth looking into:
Elite Supplements says that it’s Australia’s biggest retailer of health and fitness supplements, with the success organically brought about by a passionate group of workers and loyal customers. Understandably, even in their rise, they enjoy rewards these very customers that have paved the way for their growth:
Razer is a tech brand most known for their gaming equipment and software. Even their laptops and mouses are designed for gaming, though they also have laptops that are good for school, work, and other purposes. Esports professionals and hobbyists particularly love them, and provide a great way to encourage repeat customers through their program.
Staples is a brand especially known for their supplies and traditional home products, but they also sell furniture, tech items, and cleaning materials. They are basically a hgousehold name, similar to Target or Walmart, and people only grow more loyal to them as they increase their Staples Rewards:
1800 Flowers is, as the name implies, a flower distribution company that offers a wide range of products, from bouquets to wreaths to plants. However, they are most known for their gift baskets, which feature a good mix of their product selection.
Their membership program comes at a cost, but there are a lot of benefits waiting for those who join.
Taking Shape is a fashion brand that particularly caters to curvy women. This means more accessible sizing, a great range of designs, and a vibrant community. I really love the loyalty program they have in place, where women can get rewarded every time they shop. It’s a win win!
Frockaholics is a fashion company that sells the best and most beautiful dresses from different brands. Beyond this, they also sell other pieces of designer clothing. They source their outfits from a range of coveted names, and they make them accessible to the people. The prices for their items go well into the hundreds, but they have a great rewards program that could make it worth your while:
Muscle Nation is a fitness supplements brand that also sells activewear and workout items such as gym bags and socks. They have only been in the market for 6 years but they quickly became a trusted brand because of their quality and service. With a brand emphasis on community, it’s unsurprising that they also have a loyalty program:
Lowe’s is a classic, well-known home improvement retailer. More than the range of products they sell, they are loved for their associate experts who are able to provide guidance and advice as the customer needs. They handle millions of transactions each week, and are known to give back to the community - not just through charity, but also to their loyalty members through their own rewards system.
Best Friends is a petcare brand that caters to a wide range of animals, including birds and fishes. They also have a grooming salon in store, along with vet service clinics that make expertise and healthcare more accessible to our favourite animals. There is what they call a VIP pet care club program, designed to help customers maximise their benefits with the brand:
Noni B is primarily a women’s clothing brand that features classic and timeless pieces, but they have since branched out to men’s clothing, beauty, home, and lifestyle products. Nonetheless, they are still best known for their feminine pieces, priced at an average of $150 a piece.
They also offer what is called their exclusive rewards:
Bitters and Bottles is a cocktail brand that sells products to help you make your own yummy mixes at home. They have over 2,000 items that allow you to build a home bar that fits to your tastes and preferences, all while leaning into the fun of alcohol. The very name of their points program reflects this: VBP, as in Very Bitter People.
Partake Foods is a dessert and snack brand that sought to make food inclusive for those with dietary restrictions. This means that their products are made for the most sensitive of stomachs, and their ingredient list contains no allergens. No nuts, no dairy, no soy, no artificial preservatives. At $15 a pack, that’s a great offer. They believe their customers deserve only the best of the best, and this shows in their loyalty program:
Pet Barn is a retailer that sells animal products, such as food, treats, toys, and grooming kits. They cater even to reptiles, chickens, and birds, which makes them a great option for less than common pets. They have a reward program nicely named as Friends For Life:
When it comes to loyalty programs, there are five (5) primary program types to choose from which are tiered loyalty programs, points-based, value-based, universal, and paid loyalty programs. Out of the five various types, the most popular/common you will see from the examples of loyalty programs I analysed are tiered, points-based, and value-based. In terms of which one I recommend to focus on, I’d be going for tiered (if you have a larger customer base), or points-based (which can be applicable for both larger and smaller online retailers). Many 3rd party providers can help you set up and give you the various conditions to create these types of programs. Luckily if you use Shopify or Shopify Plus, there are some great apps that you can use which are cost-effective.
I’ve shared a big list of amazing customer loyalty program examples that all store owners should check out for inspiration. Still, I've shared a select handful of them with some of my eComm friends (which I absolutely recommend you check out as well) who have done such an exceptional job from design to promotion. They are, in my opinion, My July Skin, Koh Living, Homeleon, Bronze Snake, and Sunday Citizen. They’re all great in their own right, and there are great learnings that you will pick up.
It’s one thing to get a 3rd-party app or service which you can integrate with you store. But, it’s another thing of making it effectively work and scale. One of the key foundational pieces of making customer rewards programs work is the landing page. I’m going to share some of the key elements that I’ve been sharing with some of my clients and store friends that I know, that you can keep in mind when developing your loyalty program, or can use now for optimising your existing page. The first key element that you will notice in these customer loyalty program examples I’ve shared is that a wonderful job of illustrating and describing how their program works, including how customers earn rewards and earn loyalty points, to how they can redeem their points for products, and other perks they could receive. The second key element is the experience around signup and login. They make it obvious how visitors and customers can do this. The other major element of what can set your page apart is using beautiful imagery and icons. Definitely check out Princess Polly’s landing page, which I talked about earlier in this guide as they’ve done an epic job with their illustrations. Then the final major thing to make sure you add is a good set of FAQ questions that customers may often ask, or you know visitors most likely want to find out more info about. This can include questions about customer referrals, questions about exclusive events you may run for loyal customers, customer data questions, program-specific questions such as if/when points expire, and more which I’m sure you can address. If you do these things well and get inspiration from the designs, copy and layout of examples I’ve highlighted, then you’re on your way to creating something that should resonate with people and convert.
Yep they absolutely can, and it's something that I say many storefronts should be doing. You can always have a customer loyalty program that is offline only (e.g. such as coffee rewards cards - similar to Starbucks rewards), but what about if there’s a way that offline and online can come together? Well, if you use Shopify or considering it as your CMS, I’ve got some good news. With Shopify's POS system, you can collect customer details and purchase data, which means when you collect these details, you can send emails and promotions about your loyalty reward program. It’s something I absolutely cannot recommend highly enough for more physical storefronts to look into the POS solution. Why? Well, it’s because it’s a fantastic way to use customer data to run digital campaigns and promotions, with the goal of encouraging repeat purchases at scale without just relying on and hoping that people will come back.
There are a few solid options available that many Shopify stores use and have plenty of positive ratings. They all have their pros and cons in regards to implementation, design customisations, and other factors that you need to take into account. From my personal experience, I’ve had good success taking into account the above factors with Smile.io, Joy, Loyalty Lion, and the other good option is Rivo.