How to use aspiration and exclusivity to drive brand loyalty

“Customers are king” might be an age-old business mantra, however, today’s competitive business landscape makes it more important than ever. Customers are demanding a seamless experience and value from retailers. And, if the experience doesn’t meet their demands, we are fearless to make a switch. 

When we asked thousands of customers about what made them loyal to a brand, we found out that aspiration and exclusivity are two of the key drivers. To build long-term relationships with consumers, it’s essential to make your customers feel like VIPs and to give them something to work towards. To grow the advocates you have, focus on making your most loyal customers feel special. This is especially important as our research showed that 74% of customers become loyal to a brand if they have something to aspire for.

In this blog, we will show you how you can foster loyalty by giving your customers an exclusive experience that gives them something to aspire for.

Let’s begin!

Up Close And Personal

Understand their motivation

Firstly, you need to understand your customers’ motivations to offer the right rewards and benefits that build loyalty. When we spoke to modern-day shoppers, 79% said that they are motivated to engage with a loyalty program if they receive financial incentives, while 66% of them are looking for experience-based rewards. It’s clear that experiential benefits can lure in long-term customers.

We also found that 79% of customers feel that they are motivated by accumulating points that they can benefit from later.

When it comes to building a loyalty program that plays to these motivations, think about creating a tiered based program that includes both financial and experiential rewards in exchange for loyalty points. Here’s how to do it.

Exclusive levels

Loyalty tiers also give your customers something to aspire to, always showing them more exclusive rewards on the horizon. Allowing customers unlock elite perks at higher levels, encourages them to engage more frequently so that they meet the points threshold.

The natural beauty brand, 100% Pure created a tiered loyalty program called Purist Perks that enables members to progress up three levels: “Enthusiast”, “Activist” and “Revolutionist”. The increasing rewards and status at higher levels provide an ultimate feeling of exclusivity. Members who reach the “Revolutionist” tier gain early access to new products and priority customer service. Experiential rewards like this will show your customers that they’re special to you. As a result, they’ll keep returning, become advocates on your behalf and contribute to positive conversations about your store.

Read 100% Pure’s case study.

Exclusive access

Exclusive access is one of the most common approaches to please a VIP customer. Through tiers, you can offer your customers exclusive access to new products or seasonal sales. You can also create promotional campaigns to surprise your loyal customers with luxe rewards on their birthday or anniversary of being your customer.

Skinnydip uses “exclusive access” to encourage members to repeat purchase and spend more frequently. They offer early access to sales and promotions to their members who spend more than £500 a year. Through this strategy, they demonstrate their gratitude to their loyal customers whilst encouraging other members to spend more to unlock exclusive access.

Consumers are willing to pay up to 21% more if they know they will receive extra-special treatment. This is why more and more brands are turning to the subscription business model to generate more revenue. Mirenesse’s team knew that they needed to extend this VIP feeling further to drive conversions. To achieve this, they created a tiered loyalty program that includes a VIP tier customers have to pay to access. 

Thanks to their paid membership tier, members feel that they are part of an exclusive club. They can subscribe to “Gold” treatment for a $10 monthly fee. In return, they receive access to secret sales, tester panels and new collections. See more examples of tier-based loyalty programs.

As a result, Mirenesse’s loyalty program members spend 73% more than guest visitors. Furthermore, loyalty program members generate 54% of the brand’s revenue.

Exclusive gifts

Research shows that 70% of buying decisions are based on how customers feel they are being treated. This is why offering exclusive gifts will increase your revenue whilst building longer-term customer connections.

To encourage your at-risk customers to return to your store, surprise them with exclusive gifts or points on their birthday. This will show how much you value them and strengthen your relationship.

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To encourage your regular customers to repeat purchase and spend more, offer exclusive gifts as they move up your loyalty program tiers. For instance, Never Fully Dressed offers “surprise gifts” to their members who are in the “Supremely Sassy” tier. NFD rewards its most loyal members with elite gifts to make them feel extra special. Today, their loyal members spend 56% more regular customers.

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Exclusive experiences

Today customers are yearning for an experience. 91% of customers exhibit more positive emotions towards the brand after an event. So, to keep your customers loyal, invite them to an exclusive experience, such as a new collection launch.

What’s also interesting is that when customers attend an event, 98% of them share content on social media. This means that your loyal members can become brand advocates and increase your visibility on social media. Over time, this lure new customers in. This is why brands like Lively and Cupshe are rewarding their most loyal customers for following them on social media with invites to exclusive brand events. 

Read Lively’s case study.

Key takeaways

  • 74% of customers become loyal to a brand if they have a goal to work towards:

Design a tiered loyalty program that encourages your customers to repeat purchase while making them feel special

  • 79% of say that they will engage with a loyalty program if they receive financial incentives:

Encourage your customers to repeat purchase and spend more by offering them discounts and gifts

  • 66% of them are looking for experience-based rewards:

Strengthen your relationship with your customers by providing access to exclusive events or product launches

How does your customer retention strategy stack up?

Are you leading when it comes to loyalty, or are the gaps in your customer relationships costing you? Get your customer retention score to find out.

About the author

Mollie Woolnough-Rai

Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After graduating from UCL in 2016, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources about customer loyalty and retention.

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