So Covid – it’s been a bit of a wild ride. But if you’re like many ecommerce businesses, both Australian and globally, you’ve probably seen a level of growth you weren’t expecting (and probably wouldn’t have expected this year in your wildest dreams). So how do you keep that going?

Well, if you’ve put the time in building a community, congratulations – that effort is probably paying its worth twice over, read on. But if you haven’t gotten to that stage just yet, there’s no better time to start trading in that oh so valuable currency of brand loyalty than right now, and there’s no more direct way to do so, than with a loyalty program.

Broadly, the right kind of loyalty program can be sorted into two camps – paid ‘membership’ and free ‘community’. Each has its own benefits, but if you’re looking to implement one such loyalty program into your business planning, you’ll need to spend some time determining which approach is right for your brand. Not to worry! Read on to get the lie of the loyalty program land and start building your brand community today.

Paid Membership loyalty program

Members receive exclusive deals or content as well as inclusions of real value – nobody is going to pay $60 a year to save $5 off one purchase. If you’re going for a paid model, you have to offer something your customers actually want, something that is worth more than the value of the subscription to them, but not as much as their repeat business is worth to you. Maybe that’s a monthly gift or samples, maybe it’s a significant discount on all purchases, or even free shipping. If you play this one correctly the potential for profit can be huge, but you have to think it through really well, run your numbers and know your market.

Free Community loyalty program

“Would you like to become a member to receive new exclusive deals?” asked every website ever. This is one of those tactics that’s a cliché for a reason. You might be staring at your inbox thinking “who in their right mind would sign up for another program – but the truth is it’s all about the execution.

Compared to the ‘paid’ membership option, a free ‘community’ is less instantly profitable but it does create a sense of community amongst your customers that is more accessible as it lacks a paywall. Adding to that the amount of insight you gain into your target demographic – for minimal effort – and creating a free membership system might just be the right move for your business.

Here’s why your program will be different: you’re going to think about the customer experience.

If your customers have a good experience with your brand (start to finish), an email from you, particularly a personalised one, could be exciting or at the very least interesting. It’s an opportunity for indulgence and as long as you aren’t spamming their inbox with useless filler info, they’re going to want to click through and see what’s on offer. By creating this personalisation, you alter your brand’s space in their mind, changing from ‘place I spend money’ to ‘place where I feel good’. Just make sure you keep your sincerity and authenticity along the way. Today’s customers are well accustomed to seeing through buzz words and transparent cash grabs and they aren’t likely to pay any brand trying to pull a fast one any mind (or any cash for that matter).

The tools of the loyalty program trade

Whilst there are several telltale signs of a membership program, you’re going to want to pair them down to what works for you – the fewest number of tools for greatest efficiency. Membership cards for brick and mortar are great if they’re in your budget (altho everyone and their dog has a wallet full of them – you have been warned) . But as an online enterprise, you’re giving your customers a physical object with your branding on it (one they are likely to keep in their wallet no less), you are setting up a reminder that you exist. Sending out a free (and beautiful) calendar at the start of the year is also a great way to keep your business at the forefront of your customer’s needs in an unobtrusive way – yes, we’ve all got phones, but people still use them if they’re gorgeous, funny or quirky.

The easiest way to make sure your customers are experiencing the ‘membership’ treatment is to put care into their delivery process, something as simple as exclusive packing and design choices on their orders, or a thank you card – personalised is even better – can elevate a typical delivery experience to a delightful surprise – one that leaves them eager to order again soon to see what else you have in store for them (as well as what else you have in your store).

If you’d like to chat with someone about creating a bespoke delivery experience, we’d be delighted to help. You can always give us a call on +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 6300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland) or drop us a note via the form below. Alternatively, you can find a full list of available services here.

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