It might seem early to be thinking about implementing a holiday rewards program already, but whether you manage a brick-and-mortar or an online store, the holiday season is a great opportunity to connect with your customers and drive more revenue. This time of the year, in particular, customers expect to be treated with outstanding personalized experiences, as well as tantalizing rewards and offers. So unleash your creativity and think of memorable benefits and giveaways for your customer.
Launch a Rewards Program Before the Holidays
The end of the year is one of the best times to introduce or revamp your loyalty program. Research shows that customers spent more than $204 billion online during the 2021 holiday season — that’s an 8.6% increase over the same time period in 2020. That’s why you need to go into the holidays prepared — and now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to leverage the holiday fever.
Promoting a holiday rewards program is a great way to give your holiday marketing a little boost, encourage new registrations, as well as capture customer’s attention with exciting, limited-time rewards, services, and savings opportunities, which will help you increase holiday sales and collect customer data.
11 Holiday Rewards Program Ideas That Spread Joy
Rewarding customers during the holiday season is a delicate balancing act. Though generous discounts, coupons, and other financial incentives are expected, they won’t necessarily make customers stick around, because the competition can easily outbid you. As such, holiday rewards programs need other, more memorable and attention-grabbing benefits or features to entice the holiday crowd.
To help you come up with a unique, holiday-themed concept, we have gathered 11 best practices for creating a dashing holiday rewards program.
1. Free Shipping During the Holidays
Offering free shipping as a reward during the height of the holiday shopping period is a great way to motivate customers to enroll in your loyalty program. Customers usually get excited when they can save money during the most expensive months of the year. For most, free delivery during the holiday season is more valuable than any coupon. And, as mentioned, getting free shipping may encourage more customers to join the program and stick around for the rest of the year.
2. An Unforgettable Experience for the Holiday Season
Today’s customers are more interested in memorable experiences than material ownership. Experiences are personal and unrepeatable. Invite your top-tier members for an exclusive Christmas dinner or organize a holiday fashion show for your VIP club. Partaking in such an outstanding experience generates brand love that can last for years, subsequently leading to a higher lifetime value among loyalty members.
3. Surprise Rewards Program Members With a Mystery Gift
Create an advent reward calendar for your loyalty program members. Adults will finally have something to be eager about, too. Reward calendars are a series of loyalty program benefits that are introduced each day. Each reward is only valid for one day. Not all benefits need to have monetary value, though: you can reward content, videos, and visuals as well. What makes this holiday rewards program campaign truly genuine is that it focuses on the
4. Sprinkle on Some Gamification
Nothing sparks interest easier than gamification. Gamified holiday loyalty campaigns are a must-have. They are great differentiators, and creating a game that’s tied to your brand image isn’t difficult, either. Winners share their experiences on social media, creating great word-of-mouth advertising, plus giving out loyalty points increases the odds of customers making a purchase before the holidays. You can also engage with your loyalty program members by creating a personality quiz to help them select the right gift for their loved ones.
5. Bidding for Holiday Deals
The holidays aren’t just about presents. Most people celebrate the season by resting, relaxing, or celebrating with friends. Always reserve some holiday-themed products, events or services for your loyalty program. People love seasonal rewards and are willing to increase their spend to earn more points, which can later be used toward their dream rewards.
6. Reward Non-Transactional Customer Activities
By rewarding a greater range of non-purchase activities in your loyalty program, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and foster more positive feelings towards your brand. For example, in the athletic supplies or sports apparel industries, you can reward customers for participating in athletic competitions. For example, you might host a holiday running event. These unique experiences can come in handy, especially during peak seasons, when most brands are bombarding people with the same, familiar discounts.
7. Don’t Forget Lifestyle Incentives
Spread happiness and cheer this holiday season through an act of kindness. If there is any special cause that you wish to promote, include it in your holiday rewards program and bolster your positive brand image. For instance, allow customers to donate their loyalty points to a charitable cause. The holiday season is also an emotional time for your customers, so it’s a great opportunity to connect with them on an emotional level and demonstrate social responsibility.
8. Aim for Exclusivity With Early Access
Early access is simple yet effective. Giving high-tier members or your most loyal customers the opportunity to purchase products before anyone else costs nothing. Yet it is a genuinely satisfying perk for members, especially in the holiday rush. Your rewards program members will appreciate not having to stand in long lines or worry about missing out on desired products. Having early access is also seen by many as a status symbol. Those who want this privilege will increase their spend to get the benefit for themselves. There’s a minimal cost implication for your brand, but customers attach a huge perceived value to such gestures.
9. Channel the Spirit of the Season With a Loyalty App
Encourage members to download your application by rewarding them with bonus points or a small discount. Once they have the app installed, give members a preview of your upcoming holiday deals through your app. Offer mobile-only deals that are not available on your website and customized incentives through push notifications. This strategy will increase traffic to your mobile app and boost user engagement.
10. Add a Magical Touch to Your Communication
Personalization plays a vital role in differentiating your brand. Add some holiday flair to the design of your content, such as headlines and greetings, to be more seasonal. Create unique holiday emails for your members, making sincerity a starting point. You will not only provide customers with generous holiday offers but also share the good spirit and positive vibes.
11. Refurbishing the In-Store Experience
Invite your rewards program members to an in-store holiday raffle, free refreshments, or a DIY gift-making workshop. Create a special corner for members’ kids to have some fun in while parents shop stress-free. These initiatives can help you increase store footfall and might as well ensure repeat purchase. It will also make your shoppers feel special and appreciated for being loyal customers.
Put a Smile on Customers’ Faces
The holiday season is one of the most important times of the year for brands and retailers alike, so make sure you’re well prepared. Catching people’s attention during an intensive holiday period is a challenging task. You should push your creativity to the limit and come up with emotional, relevant ideas to endear your savvy customers.
Also, because implementing a loyalty program can take quite some time, you should plan ahead and prepare something new and unique solely for the holiday season. A holiday rewards program brings outstanding discounts and gifts to customers and, at the same time, rewards your efforts with significant revenue and increased brand love.
Barbara is a Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional - CLMP. She is also a writing expert with several years of experience in marketing and also in the information technology industry. In her free time she likes traveling the world, reading crime stories, and doing crossword puzzles.