Five best loyalty programs

To give you ideas for your own loyalty program, we selected five best loyalty programs that have increased customer satisfaction and company profits. These programs are:

  • Sephora
  • Starbucks
  • Waitrose
  • Amazon
  • Gilt

Here we’ll take you through who these companies are, what their programs are and why they are successful.




Sephora is a large American retailer that sells cosmetics online and instore. They sell products that are available in other stores so needed a way to compete without lowering their prices. Which is one of the main benefits of a loyalty program – covered in a previous blog.


Their specialized Beauty Insider reward system, enables different customers to choose benefits that suit them best. Members earn one point for each dollar they spend. These points are redeemable for standard rewards like gift cards and the like. However, they can also redeem points on products that are exclusive to members of this program. Some examples of these are limited edition products, in-store beauty tutorials, as well as a variety of products not available to the public.


The slick branding, coupled with personal customization has seen Beauty Insider’s membership grow to a staggering 10 million people.





Coffee behemoth, Starbucks, has been on a rollercoaster in the last decade. They became the most successful coffee franchise in the world, only to lose ground almost as quickly due to saturation followed by the recession.


Starbucks have clawed their way back up to the top with its innovative loyalty program, My Starbucks Rewards. It tracks customer buying behavior and recommendations into usable data, allowing them to modify their products according to demand.

They have outpaced the competition too, by offering payment options via a mobile app, making it easier for their customers to consume their product and cornering a niche in the market.


Figures show their loyalty program doubled in a year and a half, going from 4.5 million in 2012, to 9 million at the end of 2013. According to Starbucks, they have seen a 26% rise in its profit margins and an 11% bump in total revenue.





Giving M&S Simply Food a run for its money, Waitrose is John Lewis’ supermarket in the UK. With Waitrose offering the public more in the way of deluxe food products in their local shopping centre, it is currently the high-end grocer of choice in Britain.


With a focus on service, the myWaitrose program offers immediate rewards to the customers that sign up. Deals on their products can only be claimed through their own reward system, meaning that only their loyal customers benefit from savings. Extras like a free newspaper and coffee/tea that can be claimed in-store makes it easier for customers to justify the additional spending at this upmarket grocer.

They have recently offered cooking courses and trips to their organic farms that add to the program’s exclusivity.


This added element has cemented their brand as one that prides themselves on quality products and customer care. They are seeing the benefits, with 50% of their customer base now buying products through their loyalty program.




One of the best loyalty programs is from one of the largest online retailers in the world, Amazon. They are the current poster child for ecommerce loyalty programs with its own offering, Amazon Prime.


Consistently reevaluating their business model to stay on top of the competition, Amazon rolled out its rewards system in 2005. Their aim was to combat customers abandoning purchases because of high or unexpected shipping costs. For a fee, customers can expect unlimited 2-day shipping with no minimum amount on purchase.

But the real benefits here are their online rewards in downloadable free digital content provided to their members every month.


It is estimated this rewards system has resulted in their Prime members spending on average 4 times the amount than non-members.





An online fashion and accessories retailer that specialises in designer labels, Gilt offers up to 70% off in-store retail prices.


Conducted entirely online, Gilt has set up a loyalty program where members can redeem points for their current purchases, gain extra discounts and free shipping. However, possibly the biggest loyalty incentive for Gilt members is early access to their sales.


The Gilt Insider program has boosted engagement to such an extent that they are regularly cited in marketing how-to guides as a primary example of how to run a successful campaigns.


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