Millennials are lazy, have short attention spans, expect the world to be handed to them, and don’t value hard work! These are likely all stereotypes you have heard about millennials (my generation) but often times we are just misunderstood.

Millennials just want different things than previous generations did. The same holds true for loyalty programs. Many people think that loyalty programs are not effective for millennials, but that is just not true! A study by bond loyalty found that 68% of 20 – 34 year old’s are willing to change where they shop for more rewards points.

millennials quote bond loyalty

So, if you are targeting millennials there is a huge opportunity to use a loyalty program to your advantage. You just have to be sure you are structuring your program in a way that speaks to your millennial audience.

As a millennial myself and a loyalty program expert I will share with you how to best structure your loyalty program to reach millennials!

How to Structure Loyalty Programs for Millennials

A loyalty program is a great way to increase repeat customers and overall profitability. In fact, 51% of the top 100 retailers are currently using a loyalty program. But a loyalty program is as effective as you make it. You need to tailor your program to match what you sell and the customers you target. Here are some best practices if you are targeting millennials with your loyalty program.

1. We Want Two Way Communication

That old style of marketing, the shout loud enough and often enough (Mad Men Style) just isn’t as effective on millennials. We want to have a conversation with brands, not just be sold what they have.

We like to feel like we have a say in what a company is doing. We want that same luxury with loyalty programs. If we think something sucks we want to tell you, and if something is awesome we want to let you know.

What your program should do: Be sure that you make it easy for us to share our thoughts about your loyalty program. You can do this by having a link to leave feedback in your loyalty emails or having a section that allows customers to share feedback.

2. We are Social and Proud of It!

As a generation we are well connected and love our social media! According to Marketing Land social media is the best way to reach my generation, and I would have to agree. Millennials love to share and consume information via social media. 60% of us agree that social media is an important source of news and information.

millennials quote digiday

We consume information from all sorts of social media channels like Facebook (88%), Youtube (83%), and Instagram (50%). Basically we love to share and see what others are sharing, and your loyalty program can take advantage.

If you want millennials to be aware of your program you need to showcase it where they are looking. Promote your loyalty program through your social channels and encourage your customers to do the same. If you want a strong program adoption you need to allocate your marketing to the right channels, and for millennials it is social!

millennials social sharing

You should also have social sharing as a rewarded action in your loyalty program. Allow your customers/shoppers to share your store over social media in exchange for points. This gets them hooked on your program while also expanding your reach in their preferred consumption channel.

What your program should do: Start promoting your loyalty program through your social channels and encourage your advocates to do the same. You should also incorporate social media into the structure of your loyalty program by rewarding for social sharing.

3. We Move Fast … So Be Visual

We have had access to the internet for the majority (if not the entirety) of our lives. We have grown up with quick access to information and expect everything to move quickly. This has lead us to have little tolerance for unnecessary effort.

We are not lazy, as many people label us. We just have come to expect things to be done in a different way. We don’t want to read if it can be shown in a visual and we expect things to be intuitive.

millennials visual communication

Being visual is not just for millennials though. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster than written communication and are the preferred way to take in information by just about everyone.

You should keep visual in mind when designing your loyalty program. This is especially important when explaining the details of your loyalty program. Your shoppers want to know what they get points for, how to redeem them, if they expire, etc… But what they don’t want is to have to read through pages of explanations.

millennials other ways to earn

Example visual explanation

The best thing you can do for your loyalty program is to have what I call a loyalty program explainer page. This is a page that explains all the details about your program in a visually appealing way.

What your program should do: Replace long chunks of text with visuals where possible across your site. You also should create a loyalty program explainer page for your program if you are focusing on millennials.

4. We Value Status

Most people view a loyalty program as a program where you collect points for a discount. This is a very narrow minded view of loyalty programs. In fact, many  luxury brands use loyalty without offering a discount at all.

These companies instead offer free products and status based rewards to encourage customer loyalty. The two most famous examples of this are “My Starbucks Rewards” and “Sephora’s VIB.” These two loyalty programs are also very popular among millennials. Just check what people are saying (on twitter because we are so social) about the status based rewards in these programs.

Sephora’s VIB Rouge:

millennials sephora

Starbucks’ My Starbucks Rewards:

millennials starbucks

Click to see Sephora Tweets or click to see Starbucks Tweets

79% of loyalty program members identify a discount as the number one benefit in a loyalty program can provide, but millennials are more likely to be influenced by status based rewards than any other generational cohort.

What your program should do: Look to incorporate status rewards into your program where possible. This could be in the form of loyalty tiers or a vip club for your best customers. Millennials love a challenge and we love being recognized. Status based rewards are the perfect reward for millennials.

5. We Use Brands to Reflect Our Personality

According to Statista 61% of millennials say it is important to find a brand that reflects their personality. As a millennial myself I definitely fall into that 61%! This is an important statistic to be aware of when you are crafting your loyalty program.

millennials quote statista

Millennials want the brands they choose to reflect their personality and your loyalty program is a part of your brand image. If you want strong adoption from your millennial audience you need to make sure your program is a good representation of your brand and the personality you are trying to portray.

The easiest way to do this is by naming your program and points in a creative way that reflects your brand. Creative names give your program a creative edge over all those other programs that just have “points.”

What your program should do: Your loyalty program should be an extension of your brand image. Millennials will be much more likely to join your program if the program matches the personality they wish to portray. The easiest way to do this is with creative names for your points and program. But there are other tactics as well.

Your Millennial Focused Loyalty Program

An effective loyalty program focuses on creating an experience that is aligned with its intended audience. If your audience is millennials then you will want to follow these steps to create a successful loyalty program.

  1. Allow members to share and voice ideas
  2. Share your program over social media
  3. Encourage members to share through social channels
  4. Be visual and use a loyalty program explainer page
  5. Offer status based rewards
  6. Align your program with your brand and create a personality

There you have it, a loyalty program that will appeal to millennials! As a millennial myself it is easy for me to identify what will work for my generation. What isn’t as easy is recognizing if a loyalty program will work for your store. That is why we have put together the free loyalty assessment you can access below. Cheers, and good luck with the loyalty program!