According to research, loyalty schemes remain one of the best ways to lock in impulsive shoppers.
This is because the ‘impulse-led shopper’ is someone who displays little brand loyalty during the browsing stage. However, if they do show allegiance, they can offer a brand huge returns over time.
In fact, Rakuten suggests loyalty schemes can lead impulsive shoppers in the UK to increase spend by 83% over the course of eight purchases. Similarly, US consumers typically increase spend by 33% in the same period.
With this in mind, here’s how a few brands are aiming to capture this elusive consumer in the long term.
Gap has typically relied on heavy discounting in the past, sending multiple emails per week that offer money off in-store and online. However, this blanket strategy offered no real incentive for shoppers to stay loyal, with the brand’s heavy-handed approach potentially putting people off instead of drawing them in.
With a new loyalty app, Gap+, the retailer is aiming to turn this around – taking a much more personalised approach to discounting instead. Not only does it offer users a 5% discount on all purchases made through the app, but it tailors each feed to the user’s preferences and past purchases.
Instead of sending out irrelevant or aggressive offers, Gap+ aims to offer greater exclusivity. This gives the user the sense that they are receiving a personalised and unique service, in turn increasing the chances of a repeat purchase.
With just 1% of customers purchasing from the category more than a couple of times a year, it is historically difficult for electronics brands to capture loyalty. The importance of price and longevity of products means that consumer reviews are valued over past experience.
However, that’s not to say that electronics brands cannot create loyalty. Apple is one of the biggest and most obvious examples, instilling value beyond the product itself. By building on the over-arching quality of its products, as well as creating a brand ‘experience’ across all channels, Apple has managed to generate brand loyalty to the point of obsession.
Apple is also well-known for its levels of customer service, recently launching a dedicated Twitter account for support, and only employing fellow brand-enthusiasts to continue the cycle of advocacy in-store.
— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) January 26, 2017
US underwear brand, MeUndies, aims to capture consumer loyalty in two ways. First, it offers a referral programme, rewarding shoppers with money back when they refer a friend. Of course, this strategy is effective for customer acquisition, but it also enhances a sense of community for existing customers too.
Secondly, MeUndies also has the option of a subscription service, which involves sending subscribers a curated box of new underwear each month.
With ‘subscriber benefits’ including money-saving and a sense of flexibility, consumers are likely to be drawn into the additional perks. But more importantly, it is a clever way to lock otherwise flighty shoppers into a regular payment plan.
Cosmetics retailers see some of the lowest levels of loyalty, with just 4% of customers returning to buy three or more products from brands in 2016. Consequently, loyalty programmes are widely used in order to give shoppers extra incentive.
Lancome is an example of a brand that goes above and beyond the standard loyalty scheme, using an experience-based approach to tap into consumer emotions.
For instance, instead of offering discounts on its products, the majority of its rewards take the form of VIP experiences such as private beauty consultations and all-inclusive spa services. This is a much more impactful way of instilling loyalty, allowing the brand to create an emotional connection with consumers through memorable experiences.
Finally, Lancome’s Elite Points programme is also clever in how it encourages social media interaction as well as straightforward sales. Members can receive extra points for connecting their account to the brand’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, which gives Lancome another way to capture vital consumer data.