If you or anyone you know has a pet, you’ve probably noticed that pet owners have very close relationships with their furry friends. They view their pets as members of the family, which means they only want to be giving give them the highest quality toys, food, and treats they can find.

This dedication to quality, combined with the strong bonds pet owners share with other pet owners, makes them extremely loyal to their favorite pet supply brands. As a result, pet suppliers need to take extra care when designing their brand experience to make sure customers choose (and stick with!) them first.

A rewards program plays a huge part in providing the exceptional experience dedicated pet lovers are looking for. Reward programs are retention rocket fuel, helping form bonds between customers and brands to keep pet owners coming back again and again.

Here are 3 ways you can use a rewards program to build a brand community that satisfies your customers’ needs just like a good scratch behind the ears.

Reward customers for social sharing

If you look at any one of your social media feeds, you are certain to see a disproportionate number of pictures of cats, dogs, and every other cute animal in between. Pet owners can’t seem to help themselves from sharing them, so if they’re going to be sharing anyways why not use that opportunity to reward them for it?

How to build a rewards program in pet supplies - best bully sticks facebook

This tendency for social sharing is exactly what prompted Best Bully Sticks to reward their program members for sharing their brand on social media. On top of that, they also re-share their loyal customers’ great pictures with their over 100,000 followers. After all, they’re not going to let that valuable user-generated content go to waste!

Giving points for mentioning or tagging your brand in posts and showing off how your customers (or their pets), are enjoying your products are great ways to use their social sharing to your advantage. You can the give your customers the joy of being publicly recognized by your brand on social media and give yourself incredible social proof of the value of your brand.

Use VIP tiers to inspire achievement

Everyone thinks their pet is the best. Take me, for example. My cat is the best cat. She’s fluffy, weird, and cuddly, but I know that my friend thinks his cat is the best.

While there’s no clear test to prove once and for all that my cat is the best in the world, VIP tiers are an effective way to separate your proudest pet parents from the rest. Instead of just letting every pet owner think they are at the top you can use a tiered rewards program to let them earn their way to actually being top dog (or top cat in my case).

How to build a rewards program in pet supplies - honest paws tiers

Honest Paws knew the drive to be the best would work with their health and vitality minded customers, so they made tiers the highlight of their rewards program. With names like Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, their tier names make it easy for their customers to understand the increasing value of moving up through their program.

As their customers spend more, accumulate more points, and move up the ranks, each new tier comes with a points earning multiplier to allow them to reach new rewards faster. This accelerated earning, combined with the valuable status of knowing they’re the best, gives their customers something to brag about on every pet-focused Instagram post. Now that’s what I call two birds with one stone — or one treat!

Encourage referrals from loyal customers

As more pet supply brands that started with a focus on one type of product branch out into other segments of the pet industry, competition is starting to heat up in ways it never has before. Competition is getting tough, and that’s not even considering the big box and international pet supply chains that you’re already trying to win customers from.

That’s why customer referrals are one of the strongest tools in a pet brand’s marketing arsenal. As members of pet loving communities, your customers have more power to bring prospective customers to your brand and convert them into repeat purchasers than you could ever have on your own.

How to build a rewards program in pet supplies - kitty poo club

Rewarding loyal customers for making referrals is an extremely valuable tool for growth  for brands like Kitty Poo Club. With a brand new spin on an old pet product, their referral rewards show customers how much they appreciate them and their part in sharing the Kitty Poo Club community with others.

Shoppers who have positive experiences with your brand are primed to share your message, but often need a gentle nudge in the right direction to actually make the referral. A rewards program with referrals is the purr-fect way to turn your happy customers into empowered brand advocates.

Using a rewards program is paw-sitively easy and impactful

Whether you’re a brand new pet supply brand or simply looking for ways to improve your brand experience a rewards program is just what you need to turn casual shoppers into dedicated community members.

Your customers care about deeply their pets, and a rewards program will help you show them that you not only care about them but their fur-babies, too. Your brand might not replace man’s best friend, but your community can become their next favorite thing.