Personalize Your Loyalty Program With Birthday Points

November 17, 2015
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Imagine it is your birthday. What is the first thing you expect when you wake up? I always hope for breakfast in bed… but that has still yet to happen. But, if you are like most people you are awaiting people to wish you a happy birthday. It is human to want people to recognize you on a special day!

If you are like me (I know you are) you will constantly check Facebook and other social media to see who is wishing you the best on your day of birth. Getting a “happy birthday” is exciting and definitely gets our attention. It is a level of personalization we are obsessed with, so why not take advantage of it in ecommerce?

 

Knowing a Birthday is Powerful

We all know about the power of personalization in today’s online world. That is why you are putting a customer’s name in your emails, and giving recommended products based on past purchase information. These are great and helpful, but they don’t create the same type of emotional connection as a happy birthday. You pay attention when someone addresses you by name, but you feel amazing when someone says happy birthday.

When we are happy we are more likely to spend. Well when we are emotional we are more likely to spend. When we are on an extreme of any emotion (happy or sad) we spend more. Which makes us spend more? That is up for debate.

When we are happy we are more likely to spend or save depending on the cues we are shown. This is because of an increase in Oxytocin produced in the brain. Who isn’t in a good mood after some birthday wishes?

 

Personalize Your Loyalty Program with Birthdays

Now that we know your customers are happy, and likely to spend, we can look at how to make that happen. We all love a “happy birthday” but a present is even better! We love getting gifts on our special day.

A ton of companies will send a happy birthday email to their customers. Sometimes these have an offer in them, sometimes they don’t. If you are just sending a happy birthday email with no offer, you are missing out.

birthday points incentivize

Many retailers solve this by giving the customer a coupon. This is better than the previous email, but still not ideal. In your customer’s mind you have not given them a gift, you have given them an invitation to spend money. They may decide to take your invitation, they may not, but if they don’t you have not provided them with a “true gift.”

I say a “true gift” meaning something they they will have regardless of if they make a purchase in the next day, week, or month (whenever your coupon expires). If you have a loyalty program as part of your online store, you can give points to your customers on their birthday. They can use these points on their own time, and they have value whether they use them now or not. I however recommend you entice them to use them today :).

birthday points gift

Adding birthday points into your loyalty program is an amazing way to give a loyalty program a touch of personalization. Adding in birthdays is easy to do with Smile.io’s Magento, Bigcommerce, and Shopify loyalty integrations. Your customers will love the gift and you will love the repeat sales they provide, a true win-win!

 

How to Implement Birthday Points

Once you have decided to reward your customers points on their birthday, you need to actually decide a few things. The two most important are: how many points will you give on a birthday, and how will you stop abuse/fraud.

How Many Points?

Birthday points are an amazing way to connect with your customers. They help you establish a bond between you and your customer that is rare in ecommerce. It helps you create a positive emotion that keeps them coming back.

However, this is not directly tied to a profitable action to your store like: rewarding for purchases, referrals, and account registration. That is why I recommend setting your birthday points less than these actions, but still enough that they see value. A good rule is 25% of what you reward for an account registration.

birthday points percentage rule

Obviously the amount you reward is totally up to you, and you can decide that with loyalty software like Smile.io. 

How to Stop Abuse!

You are a smart marketer and I am sure you have spotted the immediate question mark when rewarding birthdays. How do I stop shoppers from using a fake birthday just to get points?

birthday points smart

This is a great question, and while it is impossible to stop people from using a fake birthday, you can discourage it and prevent abuse. With Smile.io we recommend that you have a 1 month blackout period from today’s date (done for you on Shopify and Bigcommerce).

This blackout period means that you will not reward a birthday that falls within a month of today’s date. If a customer has a birthday in that time they will be rewarded the following year. People can still use a fake birthday but they have to wait a month to see the benefit of it. Most loyalty program abusers are looking for quick easy wins, not one month gaps.

birthday points discourage

Just remember that you want to focus on the 99% of people that are using your program correctly not the 1% that are trying to abuse it. A one month blackout period is sufficient to stop general loyalty program abuse.

 

Start Rewarding Birthday Points

I hope this has given you all the information you need to start rewarding birthdays in your loyalty program. Just ask your loyalty software provider how to get started. If you haven’t started a loyalty program yet, you can read “Is a Loyalty Program Right for You?” This is a check-list of what makes a store a good candidate for a loyalty program. You can also checkout the resource center for all sorts of free loyalty program advice.

As always happy rewarding, and let me know if you have any loyalty questions @alexmcea!