Loyalty programs for luxury brands can set themselves apart by identifying customer preferences and experiences that can be used to build unique customer journeys. A better relationship leads to better insights and an ability to create longer and better relationships. This equals loyal customers.
Many retailers and customers automatically think about points or miles programmes when it comes to loyalty. The advantage for both customers and retailers are clear. With a one dollar equals one-point rule, the essence of the programme is easy to explain. And it gives an immediate benefit to the member. But not all retailers want or should have a point-based relationship with the customers.
For brands where discounts or points may be seen to devalue the brand value and where the purchase frequency is simply too low and the value of each transaction too high, a point based approach may not the right model. Example of companies that fall into this category are high-end watches, jewellery, apparel, bags and car makers among others.
A growing number of members (87%) say they are open to having various details of their activity and behaviour watched, monitored, and tracked in order to receive access to personalized experiences, engagement and rewards. Furthermore, 85% of consumers find “alternative” benefits and experiences such as Wi-Fi access, an empty seat next to them on an airplane or pre-launch access and events important (Bond). Luxury brands can take advantage of this.
So how can you make ‘point-less’ loyalty programmes work for luxury brands?
Unique Member Journeys
There is a reason the member is buying a luxury merchandise from your brand. They are very interested in your brand and product. And it is not just about the product, it is often a lifestyle choice. They want to share and have conversations about their lifestyle with family, friends and colleagues. Enhancing this lifestyle experience can be done with well-designed member journeys.
Once a member either has bought a product or indicated interest in the product you can start sending and sharing information about the brand and product in well designed member journeys and depending on how they interact with your brand these member journeys will behave differently.
Through a series of messages and interactions you can take the member through the product origin, interesting product facts and recommend similar type of products or experiences to enhance the lifestyle experience. You can create what we call product journey aligned to the member journey.
Signature experiences can be created that defines what your brands stand for, taking some of your high-value members through a unique brand experience.
Luxury brands are often involved in sponsorships of sports and cultural events and inviting the most valued members (VIP) to some of these events provides a completely different engagement and brand affinity.
Another way of making the members feel recognised and giving them experiences is to invite them to your own events. This may include product launch events, product classes / workshops or other events that have been specifically designed for the members. This often has a much higher impact on the success of the program for luxury brands, rather than giving them points or discounts. However, it will also mean a substantial time commitment from the brand. The more you know about the members the more precise you can be in your invitation to different events.
Having more open events are an opportunity to collect customer data of aspiring customers, by having the right process and incentives for the registration it will help you grow your member database.
Gifts & subscriptions
Luxury items often pass from one generation to the next. When a good relationship is formed with the current generation, the challenge is how to keep that going into the next generation. Gifts, like high-end books that convey the brand story or present products or related events are a fantastic medium to keep a relationship alive.
Luxury food & beverage brands can consider a monthly subscription through which customers get samples or products delivered at home every month or every quarter. Combined with an occasional survey, this provide the members with a much deeper bond with the brand.
The warranty and servicing part of any luxury product has always been an important area to fulfil and improve the relationship. Having special VIP service for premium members reinforces the relationship.
There is also an option to not only collect service data but have an opt-in option for consent around marketing material or similar.
Luxury brands can build a relationship via experiences such as product and customer journeys, events and incentives such as gifts and subscriptions. Some luxury brands do an excellent job in this area and succeed in grabbing the attention of an aspiring audience. The secret behind these programmes contain two ingredients: value add and exclusivity.
Members should feel like they’re part of an exclusive club that reinforces the life-style.
For further information please contact our customer success managers.