Reward Program Strategy
Program Case Studies

Important Elements of Every Successful Rewards Program  


If you’re looking for the features that create a cutting-edge rewards program, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated the brands who are doing it right to give you the inspiration you need to repair your customer retention problem. Each of these features are being used by some of the biggest brands in the world to retain their best customers.

Find out how the best brands create successful loyalty programs.
Strategies like creating exclusivity and a personalized experience can easily be implemented in your own program.

Exclusive VIP Tiers

Sephora's Beauty Insider is well-known for being one of the most successful VIP tiering systems in the world.

Sephora Beauty Insider VIP Tiers

Sephora sets their milestones by dollars spent, and purposely created an upper tier that is very exclusive. Top tiers in a VIP rewards program should be tough to reach but still attainable to provide the right amount of motivation for customers. Reaching the VIB Rouge level in Sephora's Beauty Insider is seen as a symbol of social status and many customers are proud to share their accomplishment.

Tweets about Sephora's VIB Rouge

If you need even more inspiration for what great VIP tiers look like, here are some more great examples:

An Engaging Mobile Experience

Just like your ecommerce store, your rewards program should be optimized for mobile. Otherwise, you are leaving money on the table. This is evident from the fact that Starbucks generates $6 million in sales each month from their mobile app alone.

Stabucks Rewards Mobile Experience

This doesn't necessarily mean you need to create a dedicated mobile app, but serving up an experience that is as good (or better) than your desktop experience is key to ensuring you don't exclude a large portion of your customer base.

Here are a few other companies who put a focus on the mobile experience:

Variety of Ways to Earn Points

Giving your customers a number of different ways to earn points ensures they stay engaged with your rewards program. Gap’s rewards program makes it easy for customers to earn points by rewarding them for making purchases at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta.

Gap Rewards Explainer Page

Owning multiple brands isn’t the only way to diversify how customers can earn points, though. You can also expand your earning portfolio by rewarding customers for reviewing your products online, sharing your store on social media, or creating an account with your store.

Here are other companies who give customers plenty of ways to earn rewards:

Valuable and Tailored Rewards

People don’t earn rewards just for the sake of earning points. The real motivation behind a rewards program lies in the rewards that are offered. For example, Microsoft Rewards offers the potential to win brand new Surface laptops and Xbox gaming consoles each month. That being said, they also offer lower priced items such as Xbox Live subscriptions that still carry a high perceived value to their customers.Microsoft Rewards Potential Rewards to Redeem

This is a fantastic example of what it means to truly understand your audience. If your customers don’t find the rewards you’re offering valuable, they won’t be motivated to participate in your program. At the end of the day, a truly successful program offers rewards that its members care about, regardless of the price tag attached.

Check out other examples of companies who understand how to motivate their customers with valuable rewards:

Simple and Visual Explainer Page

Even if your your rewards program provides amazing value for your customers, don’t assume they automatically see it that way. An explainer page gives you the opportunity to quickly show customers why they should be joining your program with a fully branded experience.
Nintendo Rewards Program Explainer Page

Nintendo’s explainer page teaches customers how to earn and spend points, which allows them to decide if it’s valuable before they join. This explainer page not only makes it easy to understand the program, but also makes it seem fun. With this two-for-one special, Nintendo makes it high up on our list of the best explainer pages.

These other companies also know how to make a killer explainer page:

Consistent and Beautiful Branding

The last thing you want to do is create a rewards program that doesn’t match the rest of your brand. This signals that your rewards program is not that important to your business and customers won’t be as likely to join. Consistent branding signals it’s worth the effort to sign up because you’re committed to providing a good experience.

The branding in LEGO’s reward program makes you feel perfectly at home, basically guaranteeing a great experience even before signing up. LEGO Rewards Program VIP Card

Everything from the beautiful VIP card package that’s mailed to you to the online portal where you check your balance screams LEGO from head to toe. The result is a program that feels familiar and easy to get on board with.

LEGO Rewards Program Points Balance

Get inspired by these other companies clearly know how to brand a rewards program:

Find out how to brand your rewards program like a pro.
Follow our step-by-step guide on branding to make all the designers at LEGO jealous of your rewards program.

A Gamified and Challenging Experience

You can prevent your rewards program from becoming stale by adding an element of gamification to it. Adding a challenge to your rewards program will increase how engaging it is, eventually driving more people back to your store.

Through the use of progress bars and milestones, Nintendo’s Rewards Program uses elements originally designed for video games to keep customers hooked.

Nintendo Rewards Points Panel

Staying true to their gaming nature, Nintendo has taken the concept of gamification to a new level by also including literal games in their rewards program. By providing free minigames to earn extra points, Nintendo has created a program that is sure to attract and engage their target audience.

If you want to see another example of gamification, check out this rewards program:

Incorporate these elements into your rewards program

To recap, here are the fundamental elements that should become a part of your own rewards program:

  • Exclusive vip tiers
  • An engaging mobile experience
  • Variety of ways to earn points
  • Simple and visual explainer pages
  • Consistent and beautiful branding
  • Valuable and tailored rewards
  • A gamified and challenging experience

Incorporating these elements in your rewards strategy will ensure that you’re offering a cutting-edge program that your customers actually want to join. At the end of the day, you want your rewards program to be about your customers - not about your business. These 7 program features will keep that focus in mind, allowing you to create a rewards program that fosters true customer loyalty.

What else goes into making a world-class loyalty program like Sephora’s?
Discover the other program elements that gave Starbucks, Sephora, and Amazon the edge in customer loyalty.

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