The top five reasons your loyalty program hasn’t taken off

Do you have a half-written plan for your loyalty program that hasn’t quite made it off the back-burner? Or perhaps you started building out your program, but never quite got to launching.  If any of the above sound familiar, then it’s worth reading through our breakdown of why loyalty programs don’t always take off, and how to navigate those blockers.

1️⃣ You tried to build Rome in a day

One of the most common reasons that loyalty programs either don’t get launched or struggle to get off the ground, is that they are too complex from day one. With so many potential ways to allow customers to earn points or redeem rewards, it’s easy to get caught up building something highly sophisticated, rather than starting out simple. This approach requires more immediate attention and means that launching takes longer. As a result some people never get to hitting go, or when they do launch, their customers require more guidance.

Clearing the blocker: Cut your launch strategy right back, and focus on rewarding one or two simple actions at the start. You can then build your strategy out strategically over time.

2️⃣ Your program didn’t feel a part of your brand

Your loyalty program can only take off if your customers know that it exists. However, they also need to fully understand how it works and how they benefit from it. This can be daunting and many assume that they need a full promotional strategy to get their loyalty program out there. This may not fit with your marketing calendar, or you may just not have the time to implement it.

Clearing the blocker: Work your loyalty program comms into the messages you’re already sending. Use post-purchase emails and newsletters to let customers know that your program is there, and use banners and pop ups on your site to capture the attention of visitors and get more members initially. You can then look at a fuller launch plan later.

3️⃣ You didn’t communicate the program to your customers

A loyalty strategy can feel like a very separate initiative, but the truth is that the most effective programs are the ones that look and feel like a natural extension of your brand. If you’re considering an entirely separate brand identity for your program, then you may cause confusion for your customers and in turn, hinder program adoption. You may also slow the launch process considerably.

Clearing the blocker: Use the statement colours from your existing brand palette to accentuate your loyalty program. Thinking of a name for your program is also much easier when you ensure that it ties back to the name of your store.

4️⃣ You looked for results too quickly 

As marketers we are all the same – we launch a new campaign, initiative or strategy and want to see the results immediately. We are both driven and measured by success, however in the same way that you cannot rank number one on Google overnight, or build a social following of millions in a week, your loyalty program will take time to deliver results.

It’s easy to get demoralised when you don’t build a big member base immediately. However, as soon as you have even one member, you have somebody you can nurture and encourage to act as an advocate. 

Clearing the blocker: Launch a simple version of your program and allow it to run in the background for a little while as you focus on building out your plans further. That way, when you start to build out your program, you will have collected more data that you can use to create an informed strategy.

5️⃣ You weren’t sure what success looked like

It’s also easy for marketers to become overwhelmed by data – dashboards can offer lots of numbers but it’s not always clear which ones are important or how to use them. One of the most common mistakes we see when people are building up to launch their programs, is that they haven’t thought about what success would look like. Whether it’s an increase in average order value, a higher purchase frequency, or an influx of new customers via referrals and advocacy, it’s important to understand your KPIs. You can then gauge the impact your program is having more successfully over time.

Clearing the blocker: Don’t try to measure everything at once. Pick one or two metrics that match the stage of your loyalty journey you’re at. If you’re just launching, look simply at how many members you acquire, and how their average order value changes compared to non-members. You can then add to or change these success metrics over time.

If your program wasn’t quite where you needed it to be in order to launch, or you simply didn’t have time to get to it, then check out our guide to launching a program quickly and efficiently.

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