This is a guest blog post by ShopSocially, a Demandware Certified LINK Technology Partner. 

Like everything else the Internet has disrupted profoundly and forever, loyalty programs have been revolutionized by social media. Where once consumers earned perks simply by making a purchase, retailers are leveraging their customers’ social media prowess (and their networks) and rewarding them accordingly.

It’s yet another example of the Democratization of Retail, where the center of power has shifted almost entirely from the retailer to the consumer.

It’s no secret that shoppers love the chance to earn dollar rewards or points to be redeemed for products, services, and brands relish the stickiness and loyalty that these programs inspire. According to Bain & Company, even a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%.

Brands are fast realizing the power of their customers’ social actions, which can generate brand virality, shape perception and yes, even drive sales via social networks. A 360-degree social loyalty program allows retailers to reward points to customers not just for purchases but for every social action, such as likes, positive mentions and reviews, and email sign-ups. According to Bain, the customers who engage with brands on social networks feel more connected to them and tend to spend an average of 20% – 40% more with that brand.

The value of social loyalty not only lies in its ability to drive greater brand awareness but also in increased ROI. According to ShopSocially, leveraging social media to build loyalty can enhance Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) fivefold, boost repeat purchases by up to 26% and year-on-year sales by an average of 24%.

For example, FSAstore.com, a leading ecommerce site providing Flexible Spending Account (FSA)-eligible products and services, has launched a 360-degree loyalty program called FSA Perks™. This program allows FSA customers to earn points with purchases and non-purchase actions such as referrals, reviews, uploading photos, subscribing to emails and so on. Customers can redeem these points against exclusive discounts on FSA-eligible online products.

Tips To Create A Winning Loyalty Program

Creating a winning social loyalty program is all about rewarding your customers and registered site visitors for becoming brand ambassadors. The strength of your program lies in creating a customer-centric experience that allows modularity and gives your customers a chance to be heard. Here are few tips to draft your social loyalty program:

  • Incentivize every social action by incorporating milestones such as signing up as an email subscriber; referring a friend; writing a product story/review; sharing a purchase selfie/photo on social media; and making an online/offline purchase.
  • Make the rewards for engagement clear and offer different reward options for different actions. For example, a “like” would earn fewer points than a referral or positive review.
  • Pay attention to your customers’ needs and suggestions, and respond accordingly to build brand trust.
  • Give customers the opportunity to raise their social status. Tieed programs are a great way to motivate social engagement by offering unique benefits that can’t be obtained elsewhere, such as limited edition products.
  • Introduce a ‘delight’ element through innovative promotions or by taking advantage of available profile information, such as rewarding extra points for achieving the most referrals in a month.

A modern day loyalty program empowers your customers to give your brand greater momentum and enhance your brand’s visibility exponentially. This 360-degree loyalty approach is altering the landscape of customer retention and connecting the dots for a holistic marketing approach to boost sales.

Read more about loyalty app features that drive repeat business here.