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What do the most effective online consumer loyalty programs have in common?

What do the most effective online consumer loyalty programs have in common?

by Epsilon India October 14, 2019

Effective Online Customer Loyalty Program

It is a general trend that the top products or services in any domain share a set of common features that make them comfortable and relatable to their customers, along with an innovative approach that sets apart each of them.

Customer loyalty programs are no exception to this.

Also, with 80% of customers in the United States admitting being loyal to specific brands and the cost of retaining existing customers being much, much lower than the cost of acquiring new ones, having an effective loyalty program has become more a necessity for any brand than just a marketing gimmick.

Let’s go over a few attributes shared by some of the best loyalty programs around the world:


A loyalty program that’s difficult to use for the customers serves no purpose in gaining their loyalty, and may even have an adverse effect on brand perception by annoying the customers.

Preferably, the time that an average customer has to spend in the process of reaping his loyalty’s rewards should only be a fragment of the time he spent earning them.

An example of this is Dunkin’ Donuts’ highly effective DDPerks program that makes the whole process extremely easy for the customers and regularly surprises and delights them with membership perks.


Nothing connects a business with its customers better than feeling that their brand really knows them and cares about them. Even something as simple as incorporating the customers’ names into their reward can do wonders to the way they associate with the brand, but of course the level of innovation that can be done with personalizing is virtually limitless.

For example, Sephora’s Beauty Insider loyalty program with more than 17 million loyal customers, uses the available data about their physical appearance, like eye color, or skin tone, to make personalized product descriptions.

Similarly, Designer Shoe Warehouse supplements and boosts their loyalty program with reminder emails to members for continued engagement.

The emails are carefully crafted to deliver a personal touch by addressing the customers by their names and telling them:

  • The number of points they need to get their next ‘$10-off Certificate’.
  • The deals for which they are currently eligible.
  • A recap of their interactions with the brand, including how long they have been a member, the number of points they have earned, and the money they have saved in the past two years.


A very much sought-after feature in a loyalty program by its members is the ability to use their rewards at the maximum possible number of places.

American Express Plenti Rewards program is a great example of implementing this flexibility in a loyalty card program because it opens up the places where customers can both earn, as well as redeem their loyalty points.


To gather the insights necessary for designing an effective loyalty program you need data from your customers. The My Starbucks Rewards program which requires Starbucks customers to make orders and payments through their app acknowledges this and manages to successfully hit two birds with a single stone.

It provides the customers with an easy-to-use program that requires no card and no sign-in, while at the same time this centralization of customer transactions creates a goldmine of data about customer preferences and behavior.

Another brand whose loyalty program supports itself, albeit in a way very different from Starbucks, is the cosmetic retailer Tarte, who uses its loyalty program for boosting social media engagement.

Under Tarte’s customer loyalty program, customers can earn reward points for doing things like posting a selfie with Tarte products, writing online reviews, and video tutorials.

This serves the dual purpose of keeping the customers engaged through an interesting, playful approach and making them brand evangelists.

Based on these examples, it is clear that an effective loyalty program gives maximum importance to providing customers real value, and doing it in a way that captures their attention.

That’s something that specialized solutions like Epsilon’s Agility Brand Loyalty can help you deliver with brand loyalty strategy, insights, software and services that are designed to convert even the most casual customers into lifelong fans.

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