Loyalty Differences Between Men and Women

March 2, 2018

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on March 2, 2018.

The difference between men and women has been a widely-debated topic for years.  History has revealed that men and women were often separated into different social groups, with men acting as “hunters” and women as “gatherers”.   

Whether they are true or not, stereotypes about the differences between men and women exist and they are largely caused by mainstream advertisements. As a result, you need to be careful not to make assumptions based on stereotypes when building your loyalty program.

Men and Women in Loyalty Programs

Loyalty marketing is an industry where gender can play a very important role.  Even if your brand is designed exclusively for women, it’s integral that your loyalty strategy account for those men who may be exploring your products for somebody else.  These types of behaviours make them potential repeat customers, which in turn make them extremely valuable to your business.

So what are men and women looking for?

Build a rewards program that’s perfectly tailored for men or women.
Learn how you can craft a program that appeals to men, women, or both!


Comparing Gender Loyalty

Men and women want different things in loyalty programs,  which can be explained by the way each group defines “loyalty”.

men and women compare loyalty

Women associate the concept of “loyalty” with words like “trust”, “devotion”, and “commitment”.  Men, on the other hand, define it as “honor” or “doing the right thing”, and compare it to a contractual commitment.  This makes it clear that women see loyalty as more of an emotional experience than men do.  

The gap between genders continues to grow when you start comparing loyalty program engagement behaviors.  While women like to take their time and compare their options, men are extremely focused and want to complete their shopping in as little time as possible.  Women also tend to appreciate storytelling and personalization more than men, who are simply looking for quick solutions and easy-to-see value.  

men and women compare characteristics

Finally, men are typically more independent and gravitate towards programs that allow them to publicly show off their status, whereas women tend to identify more with groups and opt for more subtle demonstrations of elitism.

When you compare these characteristics, they look like polar opposites.  Not only are men and women completely different when it comes to shopping behaviours, but they also don’t seem to want to participate in the same types of loyalty programs. However, it’s still possible to design a rewards program that satisfies everybody.  


Loyalty Solutions for Men and Women 

men and women both love

I know it might sound impossible, but here are the elements you should focus on when building your loyalty program in order to satisfy all crowds.   


1. Program Visibility

If you want customers to join your loyalty program, they need to know it exists!  While you can promote your program in a number of ways, one of the most effective is with an embedded rewards launcher.

Jones Soda Rewards Program Launcher

Jones Soda’s rewards program launcher scrolls as the customer moves through the web page, ensuring that the program is highly visible at all times.  This level of visibility is a huge incentive for men because it makes the program extremely easy to join and requires minimal work to discover and explore.

On the other hand, women are known as notorious browsers.  This means that will be exposed to the “Free Soda” button on more pages, increasing the likelihood of exploring and joining the program after browsing different parts of the site.Jones Soda Rewards Program CardsWith one click, they’re given all the information they need to weigh the pros and cons of joining the program – all without being distracted from their original purchasing mission.  This mission-oriented design allows them to make quick decisions by focusing on value and simplicity.men and women muscle and strength button

Muscle and Strength took a slightly different approach by using a button in their navigation menu.  This method is less flashy than a scrolling rewards tab, but is still highly effective – particularly for customers who tend to browse.  

By appearing subtly on every page of a store, this method of promotion greatly improves the chance of being noticed during the browsing process and encourages customers to click-through to learn more.  This enables both men and women to make an informed decision about whether joining the program will benefit them in the future.

Long Story Short:

men and women love it tab

Why Men Love It:

Rewards program launchers are highly visible and minimize the amount of time required to learn about the program’s benefits.

Why Women Love It:

They are consistently exposed to the rewards program as they are browsing for information - which ultimately reinforces their motivation to join.


2. Explainer Pages

Loyalty program explainer pages are an essential ingredient when you’re designing a program for men and women.  Not only does it give you the opportunity to explain the benefits of your program, it also allows you to show your customers how to engage in order to receive those benefits.

Women love explainer pages because they provide a tremendous amount of information in a highly visual way.. With instructions on how to enroll, what you can earn, and how you can earn it, women are treated to lots of information that assists them in their browsing and decision-making process.

Rather than collecting all information possible, most men are looking for quick solutions.  A less-is-more approach to information is very important in this scenario.

men and women barrys overview

Barry’s has done an excellent job of catering to both men and women with their explainer page. When you first access their ClubBarry page, you can understand the program in a matter of seconds through a combination of imagery and bold headlines. This information is accompanied by a call-to-action button that gives you the chance to enroll without navigating away from the page.  These elements make it an all-in-one loyalty solution, make it very appealing to men.

men and women earn

By scrolling down even further, you’re treated to a more in-depth look at the earning and redemption process and the program’s various customer tiers.  This information equips customers to make informed decisions and encourages them to explore, once again satisfying women’s desire to make informed decisions.

Through a balanced combination of images and text, Barry’s has created an explainer page that appeals to any type of customer looking for additional information about their loyalty program.  The scrollable nature of the page appeals to men and women alike, and gives the ClubBarry program an air of accessibility that may not exist otherwise.

Long Story Short:

men and women love it explainer

Why Men Love It:

Extremely visual information arranged in bite-sized chunks that highlights only the most important information.

Why Women Love It:

Additional information is easily accessible and reinforces their decision to participate in the loyalty program and continue doing business with the brand.

Need more inspiration for your explainer page?
Explore more beautiful explainer pages and additional tips on branding your rewards program.


3. Customer Tiers

Everyone wants to feel special.  Tiered loyalty programs are a highly effective way of fulfilling this desire that bring customers back time after time due to their ability to establish exclusivity. Additionally, giving your customers ranks to aspire to draws upon their emotional desires, inspiring a sense of community within women and prestige within men.

Elf Cosmetics Beauty Squad Rewards Program VIP tiers

However, men and women like to display their status differently: men are flashy while women are usually more reserved.   

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Crown and Anchor society uses six different tiers to allow customers to display their status however they wish. For example, a personalized lapel pin, priority seating, and access to exclusive member lounges will appeal to men who want their status to be noticed by other people.  On the other hand, advance notice of sales, exclusive discounts, and additional cruise points are more subtle acknowledgements of member status, and will be more appealing to women.

Exclusivity is a great tool for encouraging customers to engage with your loyalty program and, when done correctly, can be equally attractive to both men and women.

Long Story Short:

men and women love tiers

Why Men Love It:

Highly visible way of demonstrating their social dominance and independence.

Why Women Love It:

Gives them the opportunity to build community with like-minded customers and develop a stronger relationship with the brand.

Make all of your customers feel special with VIP tiers.
Get everyone engaged with your rewards program with our expert VIP advice.


4. Diverse Rewards

One of the largest reasons people enroll in loyalty programs is the rewards themselves.  Since their inception, loyalty programs have rewarded customers with points for each purchase.   

Scene Points Program rewards

At its core, the Scene Points program encourages members to collect points in order to redeem them for free movie tickets at select theaters.  However, customers aren’t limited to this redemption method.  In addition to movie tickets, customers can redeem their points for meals at certain restaurants, receive discounts on athletic equipment, and win free tickets to live events.

This redemption model is appealing for both men and women because it offers both personalized and standard monetary rewards. Giving customers the option to expand their definition of “value” broadens your program exponentially, and ensures that men and women alike can find rewards that meet their needs.

Long Story Short:

men and women redemption

Why Men Love It:

The cut-and-dried rewards available are as easy to identify as they are to redeem.

Why Women Love It:

Multiple ways to redeem give them the opportunity to find the reward that best suits their lifestyle, with the potential for personalization and customization


Please Everyone with Your Loyalty Program

While men and women have dramatically different characteristics, there are ways to bridge the gap. Using a visible rewards program tab or button allows customers to quickly access a balanced explainer page that provides them with program information to help them make informed decisions.
men and women components round up

Use VIP tiers to play play to customers’ emotions, satisfying their competitive streak while placing them in a community that shares their goals and interests.

Offer multiple ways to redeem your rewards so your customers can tailor the program to their needs.

By designing a loyalty program that covers each of these bases, you can rest assured that your program will be attractive to both men and women. 

Please every crowd with your own rewards program.
You can build a program that appeals to men, women, or everyone - find out how!