The best rewards programs in 2020 [round-up]

What a year we’ve all had! COVID has changed ecommerce more than any other time in history. It’s even experienced a 129% increase in the US. Across the globe, consumers are changing their buying habits. Thanks to lockdown, more are forced to shop online – some for the very first time.

Of course, this huge shift has caused greater competition. As many merchants work to guarantee their revenue and retain customers, loyalty programs have taken center stage for many brands (including Mango and Uber).

In this blog, we’re taking a look at eight inspirational rewards programs in 2020 that all have their own unique features. Keep reading to see how these brands are using their programs to build longer-lasting relationships with their customers and increase revenue.

  • Skinnydip (Fashion and accessories)
  • Cupshe (Fashion and apparel)
  • Urban Outfitters (Fashion and apparel)
  • Missoma (Accessories)
  • Starbucks (Food and drink)
  • Vitabiotics (Health and wellness)
  • Sephora (Beauty and cosmetics)
  • Arctic Fox (Beauty and cosmetics)

Let’s start!

See what makes an award-winning loyalty program by downloading 2020’s LoyaltyLion Hall of Fame.

Skinnydip 👜

Started as an online boutique, Skinnydip is now one of London’s most unique accessories brands. Having a strong base of loyal customers already, Skinnydip wanted to reward this close-knit community for their dedication. As a natural extension of their brand, Skinnydip designed a fully-customized loyalty program and named it “Skinnydip Airlines”.

What do we love about Skinnydip Airlines?

First of all, they have incorporated airline archetypes into the set-up of their program. To prepare members for the “take-off” position, Skinnydip created a tiered loyalty program structure. Members can progress across four levels: “Check-in”, “Departure Lounge”, “Boarding” and “Take-Off”. 

First, they ask members to check-in. In other words, to create an account for the loyalty program. Members then earn exclusive rewards and benefits for each tier, encouraging repeat purchasing further. For example, customers who reach 500 points in the “check-in” tier receive a 15% discount on their purchase. Members in the “Boarding” tier and that have more than 2,500 points have access to secret sales and promotions.

To communicate about the benefits of their rewards program, and increase brand engagement, they have also created an Integrated Loyalty Page customers can access through the footer.

Knowing that 68% of customers are willing to spend more when they have an uninterrupted experience, Skinnydip also implemented In-Cart Rewards. This feature lets customers access points and rewards, and use them against products they can add to their cart at any stage while shopping.

Cupshe 👙

Next on our list is Cupshe. As a swimwear brand, Cupshe addresses people who want to live life on the beach. In 2020, they also wanted to reward their existing customers and increase their revenue. To achieve this, they created an on-brand loyalty program that directly reflects their brand ethos, and named it “the Sunchasers Club”. Pretty cool right?

Cupshe won our hearts this year by first implementing a tiered loyalty program structure that complemented their brand identity. Just like walking around the beach and chasing the sun and sea, they allowed members to move across four levels respectively: “Shore”, “Sand”, “Sea”, and the “Sun”.

To motivate new customers to become loyalty program members, they give members early access to sales and exclusive discounts. And, to make their most loyal customers feel like VIPs, they give members who are in the top two tiers access to special member events.

By integrating with Klaviyo, Cupshe now delivers targeted communications to its members. Once a customer becomes a member, they send them a welcome email and explain the benefits of their membership. To turn reviewers into referrers, they also have referral prompt emails that are sent to all members who have left a review. They also offer 20 points for writing a review and 1,000 points for a referral.

Urban Outfitters 👖

Urban Outfitters has become one of the most inspirational brands for Millennials and Gen-Z. Having a brand community of more than nine million, they built UO Rewards to enhance this community feeling. Similar to what we have seen in the previous examples, Urban Outfitters also implemented a tiered loyalty program structure. Yet, what we like about UO Rewards is its unique benefits and ways to earn points.

Firstly, once customers become a member, they can then start earning points by signing up and visiting the store. And, as 66% of global consumers and 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for ethically produced goods, Urban Outfitters made sure their loyalty program was connected with their customer’s beliefs. For instance, they started a new sustainable-fashion line called Urban Renewal that offers recycled vintage clothing. With their rewards program, they enable customers to earn five points if they shop on Urban Renewal. This helps establish an emotional connection with their customers as they know shopping with Urban Outfitters means working together towards the same goal.

We found that 65% of consumers were motivated to shop with a brand by personalized offers. Urban Outfitters knew this. So, instead of offering early access to sales, they let members choose their own sales days. Shoppers are looking for these kinds of personalized interactions to become and continue to be loyal to a brand.

Missoma ✨

Offering a contemporary statement with their designs, Missoma is a personalized, demi-fine jewelry brand for the everyday woman. This year, they created an on-brand loyalty program called “the Stack”. Why? Because they wanted a new way to reward their customers and increase their lifetime value. Missoma is on this list because of its fully-customized loyalty page and the way it communicates to customers.

With their Integrated Loyalty Page, Missoma can clearly communicate the benefits of their loyalty program and provide a loyalty destination for its shoppers. Once customers become a member, they can then see their current points balance, ways to earn more points and how to refer a friend – all from one page.

Now, let’s see what did they do differently in terms of communication. As you can see from the image below, they designed a countdown campaign for their loyalty program launch on every social channel. As a result, they have encouraged both their guest shoppers and followers to become loyalty program members. When they sign up, shoppers automatically receive a welcome email.

For the ones who haven’t enrolled in their loyalty program, Missoma launched a retargeting campaign on social to motivate passive customers to become members.

Starbucks ☕️

Covid-19 definitely couldn’t prevent some from grabbing a take-away coffee from Starbucks. Since there is at least one Starbucks in every tenth of a square mile and millions of Starbucks addicts – including Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada – it was inevitable that Starbucks would have a loyalty program.

But what makes their loyalty program so special?

Well, to align with its iconic brand identity and logo, Starbucks created a tiered loyalty program that consists of two levels: “Green” and “Gold”. To award their customers, they enabled them to earn “Stars” with each purchase. Through earning stars, customers then earn free products or top-ups along with personalized rewards.

Customers can also download the Starbucks Rewards app to their phones and use it as a digital card in-store. On the app, they can access the menu and place orders before they even get to the cafe. 

To encourage customers to return to the store, the app also sends push notifications advertising promotions. Members can even send gift cards to other members and friends through the app! This is an effective way to do referrals. And, as you can guess, you also receive free food or a drink on your birthday!

Vitabiotics 🏋️‍♂️

Vitabiotics is on our list of the best rewards programs for the second year in a row! Vitabiotics is the UK’s number one vitamin and supplements brand, and their user-friendly loyalty experience is one to marvel at.

To encourage shoppers to engage more with the brand and increase their spend, Vitabiotics include the benefits of their loyalty program in every email. They also run double points events and promotional campaigns on a regular basis to reward their best customers for their loyalty.

To increase engagement across the customer journey, they also show how many points a product is worth on every single product page. This encourages guest shoppers to become members and start earning points whilst boosting customer spend.

Sephora 💋

It wouldn’t be appropriate to give a rundown of the best loyalty programs in 2020 if we didn’t mention Sephora’s “Beauty Insider” program. We even did a webinar about it!

In 2020, Sephora knew that many might not be ready to be shopping in person yet. So, they decided to run a huge promotional campaign on media. Firstly, they chose the platforms that their target audience follows. Then, they provided a summary of the benefits of their loyalty program and how customers can earn points. Afterward, they provided all the promotional details for each tier to the most popular online platforms: including Refinery29 and Allure. So as you can guess, once again, Sephora’s loyalty program is a winner in our eyes! 

Arctic Fox 💇‍♀️

Established in the US, Arctic Fox is a vegan and cruelty-free hair dye brand with a remarkable brand community. Arctic Fox already had high volumes of traffic coming to their site. But this year, they realized that they needed to build longer-lasting relationships with their customers to boost repeat purchase rates and spend. With this in mind, they created a loyalty program called “Fox Fam Rewards” that enhances the community feeling.

What we have loved most about their loyalty program is that they allow members to buy products with points only. You may ask what’s the difference from a regular “free product” reward, which uses a 100% discount voucher. Well, with this approach, customers don’t need to apply a voucher or copy and paste codes. With only one-click, the product is added directly to the cart for free.

We’re ready for 2021 – are you?

The global pandemic has led to more and more businesses joining the ecommerce world, changing the behavior of millions of customers, and accelerating the ecommerce industry’s growth more than ever before.

This year also showed us how important it is to increase the lifetime value of a customer so you can generate more revenue and have steady growth into the new year.

Ready to start your own loyalty program? Book a call with a member of our team today.

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About the author

Ipek

Ipek is a Product Marketing Consultant at LoyaltyLion. Before doing her Marketing masters at the Queen Mary University of London, she worked in top global advertising and marketing agencies providing creative strategies for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Ipek makes sure our readers get the best content about LoyaltyLion's features and how it can help to power your ecommerce businesses.

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