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7 Engaging Holiday Rewards Program Ideas for 2018

The holidays represent the most important retail period for the year. It’s a time of increased foot traffic, website visitors and customer acquisitions. Building a holiday rewards program strategy is one way to maximize the success of the peak season and engage the new customers you acquire during the peak period into the next year and beyond.

According to BigCommerce, the season typically sees retailers getting 59% more new customers. Here are seven ways that you can engage customers and turn holiday shoppers into returning customers:

1. Introduce a Lean Loyalty Program

If you don’t already have a loyalty program in place, there is still time to introduce a new holiday rewards program for the peak season of 2018. Depending on your brand and strategy, we often recommend starting with a soft, invitation-only loyalty program to get started and get customer feedback. This can be a great way to test the program and promote a secondary launch during the second half of the 12-week holiday season.

Promoting a loyalty program during the holidays is a great way to get customers registered and promoting rewards, services and exclusive savings opportunities, will help you increase holiday sales, while helping you collect data about your customers that will allow you to reach out to them far beyond the peak season.

Simply Be Perks has holiday rewards program.

Antavo client, SimplyBe, introduced their Perks program to a selected group of customers, to make sure it was precisely what their customers needed – before making a public announcement.

2. Provide Holiday-relevant Services

Providing free services year-round as part of a holiday rewards program is something we wholeheartedly recommend at Antavo. During the holiday season, there are a few relevant services you can really highlight in an effort to get more members to sign up and make use of those services.

Gift wrapping is one of those tasks that could be fun but is actually rather stressful when you know you have 100 other things to do before Christmas arrives. That’s why free gift wrapping is an extra-relevant service that saves customers time and effort. Free engraving, stitching, or other product personalisations are also a great way to offer a personal touch.

Same-day delivery is another convenience you can offer to last-minute shoppers. And consider offering other time-savers, like a separate shopping line or customer service chat function for members only – just during the busy holiday season.

KORSVIP program


Michael Kors’ KORSVIP program offers free gift wrap for most tiers and a reserved VIP phone line for top-tier customers. These are the kinds of services that provide stand-out convenience during the peak retail season.

3. Give Customers Early Access

Harness the omnichannel possibilities inviting local customers who usually shop online to your in-store events. Welcome your customers to invite a friend for an in-store soiree to show off the new season’s designs.

Or keep the party online by giving members a chance to get their hands on discounted season favorites before the public promotions begin.

LuisaViaRoma runs Black Friday Club

LuisaViaRoma runs a Black Friday club for the holiday season, where customers can spend a small number of points to receive a special promotion code hours before the official Black Friday promotion starts.

4. Help Customers Reach Their Holiday Goals

If your customers get excited about getting (or staying) fit through the holidays, you can reward them for using a fitness tracking app or wearable, like Fitbit.

If you want to help customers keep their shopping list in order, you can reward them for using the wish list or an external to-do checklist app.

Assisting loyalty program members in reaching their goals is an effective way to build a relationship with customers. Lending a helping hand during the stressful holiday season is a great way to be remembered.

Chico's Holiday Rewards Program

Chico’s ran a giveaway for those who used their wishlist and Pinterest to keep organized and create their dream wardrobe for the holidays.

5. Offer Memorable Experiences

Give customers a chance to see or do something unique – perhaps even something they’ve never experienced before!

Offer loyal customers the opportunity to see how your products are made, or meet the people who make them. Or even let them get involved in their own design ideas.

Create a sweepstake to win a luxury shopping trip to a hot fashion destination or offer a private tour of your flagship showroom. Experiential rewards are a huge draw to loyalty programs, and are a great way to build interest and get new signups.

Offer Memorable Experiences

Express gave away a trip to New York City as a part of their their 2016 Black Friday promotions.

6. Grab Attention With Freebies

A free low-value item is a great way to drum up a bit of excitement. Give the item away with a minimum purchase amount during the holiday season, or give it to all new members once they make their first purchase. This trick helps you save on shipping costs, since you can include the gift with their first online order.

Offering a free gift during the holidays is a great way to say “here’s a little something for you” when most customers are concerned with what they’re buying for others.

Victoria's Secret

Victoria’s Secret highlighted their Pink line by offering new members a free panty by signing up and making a Pink purchase.

7. Use data gathered during holiday season in 2019

By encouraging actions such as sign-ups, profile completions, or having customers answer questions about their favorite product categories within the holiday rewards program, you’re building up an incredible base of information which you can use to create special promotions and personalised communications well into the next year.

Consider what you would be able to do with better segmentation in 2019, because by setting up a loyalty strategy now, which will help you get the right information, you’re setting yourself up to incentivize repeat purchases for the long-term.

Lancome Team's Holiday Rewards Program

Once you have new members enrolled in the holiday rewards program, you have the chance to make offers, feature products, and request customer feedback (like Lancome USA does) for a long time to come.

Ready for the holidays?

If you’re interested in introducing a holiday rewards program or redesigning your VIP loyalty program for the holidays, to maximise on your peak season successes, reach out to our team to learn how Antavo can help you reach your goals.

Zsuzsa Kecsmar
Zsuzsa Kecsmar
Zsuzsa is CMO and co-founder of Antavo. She manages the marketing team, talks with experts all over the world, holds webinars, and edits all kinds of content (it’s really a lot of editing, but she loves it). She is a mother, likes working out, and making edible cosmetics.