How to Increase Loyalty Program Participation

loyalty program participation increases effectiveness

Loyalty program participation and enrollment are two completely different things, even if many of us choose to ignore it. Participation is when your loyalty program members are actively engaged with your loyalty program. Just because your program has members does not mean it is performing to its fullest. In this post I will explain how to boost your loyalty program participation rates.


Enrollment vs. Participation

As I mentioned before enrollment does not mean they are participating. Joining a program (enrollment) is easy, but getting someone to participate for the rest of their shopping life is the real goal.

loyalty program participation vs enrollment

As you can see in the graph below, people are enrolling in more programs but actively participating in less. This is because many retailers both online and offline give a great incentive to join and stop the relationship there.

This phenomenon is likely due to the fact that retailers are offering a really good incentive to join the program (which I recommend). However, they do not follow up that strong reason to join with an engaging program. You need to create a strong reason to join your program, but also follow that up with a program that encourages participation. Your loyalty program will not be effective with a ton of inactive members.


Boost Loyalty Program Participation

The question now becomes, what do I do to get all the members I attract to my program to stay and participate. Here are a 5 ways to encourage loyalty members to actively participate in your loyalty program.

1. Be Transparent

A survey conducted by Colloquy Loyalty found that the number one factor for program participation is that it is easy to understand the program. An astonishing 81% of respondents said this is important to them. So how do you adjust your program to these findings?


You want your program to be as transparent as possible. Make sure your members know everything they need to know to actively participate. This means you will want to be very clear on how they will earn and spend points.

Have an area of your site dedicated to informing members of how many points they will earn for different actions. The most important ones to be clear on are how many points are earned on each purchase (example 5 points per $1 spent) and how many of those points are required to redeem a reward.

boost participation with transparency

The example above is from Philip Kingsley and is the first thing you see when you land on their loyalty program page. It is impossible to not be aware of the two basics of their loyalty program. If you need help setting up a loyalty page of your own watch our video “How to Set Up a Loyalty Explainer Page.”

2. Lots of Ways to Earn Points

Your members have grown tired of those standard retail loyalty programs that only give points when you make a purchase. They want a program that gives them a bunch of different ways to earn points. The same study by Colloquy found that 50% of respondents said that they participate more in programs that have a variety of ways to earn.


This is not hard to do especially with ecommerce loyalty programs. Online stores can easily reward for other actions like: social sharing, referring friends, birthdays and more. A solution like a Mobile Loyalty App from Mass Mobile Apps makes it easy to add variety to your online loyalty program.

3. On Site Reminders and Cues

In the online world you do not have a cashier asking every person who checks out if they would like to collect reward points on this purchase. That is why you need to remind your members by placing loyalty program reminders across your website.

Anywhere you can add mention of your program to your homepage, do it. Not only does this remind existing members to participate it also acts as a point of differentiation from your competitors. If you have a program and they don’t, a potential customer will likely choose you. Flash Tattoos has a few mentions of their program on the homepage.

reminders create loyalty program participation

You can also use other on site promotion methods like: floating tabs, slider or hero images, and even pop ups (just be sure not to annoy your customer).

4. External Reminders and Cues

Reminders on your site are great, but are only effective if your customers are visiting you frequently. If you really want to boost loyalty program participation you need to also need to communicate of your site as well.

According to many studies email marketing is the most effective and easy to use marketing tool available to today’s digital marketers.

email marketing is effective with loyalty programs

A great way to boost participation in your loyalty program is to combine loyalty and email marketing into a super campaign. Use email to send notifications when your members earn or spend points. This way they will be getting constant reminders of how often they are interacting with your program.

You can also send loyalty marketing material to your members. You can let them know that if they make a purchase this weekend they will get a bonus 100 points. Or, you can just email all of your non-program members and let them know about the benefits of the program, like in the example below.

screen_shot_2015-06-24_at_7.04.36_pm_360 (1)
Combining your loyalty marketing and email marketing together is one of the most effective ways to increase program awareness and boost loyalty program participation.

5. Obtainable Rewards

One of the biggest mistakes I see with any loyalty program is making the rewards way too hard to get. How is anyone supposed to get the 20,000 points needed for your reward if you are giving 1 point per $1 spent on your tea site. They would have to spend $20,000 to get a reward. Would you participate in that program?

Your loyalty program members become hooked on your program when they first spend points on a reward, not while they are accumulating points. That is why you need to make it easy to obtain rewards. I usually recommend giving enough points for a reward after a single valuable action like when a referred friend makes their first purchase. There is an exception though.

have more obtainable loyalty rewards

I do like offering a few what I call “asperational rewards.” These are rewards that are designed to be ridiculously hard to achieve. These give your program a talking point and can help differentiate your program. Just be sure there are plenty of obtainable rewards as well.


How Do I Know if Participation is Improving?

You now have a few things you can do to boost your loyalty program’s participation rate. But, before you race out and try all these new tactics at once, you will want to know how to measure success.

There are a few ways you can measure if your loyalty program is performing like: customer lifetime value, repeat purchase rate, and net promoter score. However, if you want to measure changes in your participation rate I recommend using your redemption rate.


Your redemption rate shows you the percentage of your issued points that are being converted into a reward. If your members are participating they will be spending their loyalty points. Start by performing the above equation today to get your base line. Then make some of the above changes and measure your redemption rate again. An increase in redemption means that your participation is on the rise.

Just remember that if your redemption rate is currently below 20% you may have a serious loyalty program problem.

3 Time-Tested Retail Sales Promotions That Drive Foot Traffic and Build Loyalty

How do you entice people to buy more from your store? What do you do when you want customers to make purchases more frequently, or in greater volume, or if you’re looking to boost business during slow hours and more?

Whatever your goal may be as a retailer, by creating a time-sensitive sales promotion and having a good grasp on your target customer demographic, you’ll be able to incentivize the right actions, get them to respond, and grow your business in the process.

In this post, we’ll look at three retail sales promotion techniques that are worth their weight in gold when implemented effectively. They are:

So, the next time you’re stuck as to how you can increase sales, get new customers, or retain existing ones, you’ll have no trouble turning to the perfect promotion strategy for your goal.

Let’s get started.

The Power of Promotional Pricing

As a small business owner, you already know the power of discounting products to increase demand.

But which products do you give a discount on? And by how much? Or for how long? These are all questions that come to mind when considering the option of reducing prices. They’re also important questions due to the nature of how pricing affects consumer psychology.

For example, you might have heard about the power of ending prices with the number 9. Researchers have discovered that items priced at $39 sell more than the cheaper price point of $34. Or the overbearing power of the word “free,” which Dr. Dan Ariely has shown to motivate us even when the perceived value and price of two options remain the same.

Now, let’s take a look at a few of the more popular promotional pricing options that you can deploy in your own store:

  • Markdowns: This is when you reduce prices on a wide range of products in your store for all customers. This is especially effective when backed by a wider advertising campaign, be it through paid or unpaid channels.
  • Loss Leaders: When you know that certain products are in demand, regardless of whether it’s a luxury item like an iPad or everyday need like under garments, you can provide certain products at a steep discount to draw new customers to your store. Known as loss leaders, these products are great for selling overstocked items, increasing traffic to your store, and generating brand awareness.
  • Bundle Pricing: Bundling products is a great way to generate a higher perceived value for a lower cost that customers have a hard time staying away from. Whether it’s a “buy one, get one free” deal or a “3 for the price of 1” special, this tactic is great for making customers feel that they’re getting more for what they’re paying. As a bonus, this is a huge draw to then entice those customers to buy higher priced items once they’re in your store.

Retail sales to help foot traffic | Shopify Retail

Leveraging Point-of-Purchase (POP) Displays

Though you might be most familiar with POP displays from your visit to the grocery store, where you just couldn’t help but notice all those glossy magazines filled with celebrity gossip, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re one of the most effective ways for retailers to encourage impulse buying.

For example, you might have noticed that the last time you went shopping for clothes, there was a never-ending array of bins and displays filled with items that could be seen as “add-ons” or “up sells” as you make your way closer to the checkout.

The reason why these POP displays and the impulse purchases they generate are so effective is thataccording to research, almost 66% of all decisions to buy something are made while people are in the store shopping. And guess what? Almost 53% of those decisions are classified as impulse buying.

Well, it’s time to start thinking about what you could do around your checkout area to get consumers to buy more.

Here are a few examples of different types of POP displays:

  • Speed Bumps: As prospective customers get closer to the end of their purchasing journey at your store, you can intentionally draw their attention to products that they may have missed by strategically placing them along the path to checkout or even as they wander the store.
  • Dump Bins: These are bins full of products once again strategically placed to elicit curiosity in consumers and get them to “dig in” and find an item that they’ll add to their shopping cart as they stand in line to pay for what they came to buy.
  • Free Samples: This is a surefire way to build demand for any new products that you may have recently added to your store. Giving away free samplers of certain products invites customers to use them at no cost and though they may not reach for the full-price version right away, you can be sure they’ll think about it the next time they visit your store.

Optimizing point of purchase displays | Shopify Retail

Getting the Most Out of Loyalty Programs

Let’s face it, getting new customers costs a lot of time, money, and effort. Providing great service and creating customer loyalty programs that get customers to come back, time and time again, is far more profitable and efficient as a retailer.

Though you may not have the big-box retailer budget to launch a full-out customer loyalty program, rest assured, there are some great alternatives that also happen to be very cost effective as well.

The most beneficial of those alternatives would have to be a Mobile Loyalty App.  Your business can now implement a full blown loyalty program that will rival those of the big-box-retailers.  Mass Mobile Apps provides a solution that will meet all your needs!  With their solution, in exchange for rewarding your customers for shopping, you will be given the ability to reach them like you have never had before.  Each customer must download your app, and register in your program, and in doing so they provide you unprecedented access.  You are now able to send “Push Notifications” directly to their mobile devices, which appears just like a text message. With a wide variety of features that are designed to enhance the customer experience, and provide the retailer the most up to date marketing tools available.

Another alternative would be email marketing. It’s an effective way to drive customer retention and loyalty and starts as quickly as when you collect customer’s email as they checkout, and then email them about exclusive sales, discounts, coupons, and other promotional offerings for a limited time period. Not only will this incentivize them to visit your store again, but it will also increase the perceived value they have of being on your email list.

One simple way to do that in your store is to use a really handy app by MailChimp called Chimpadeedoo, which you could use alongside your iPad POS system. They’ve also got some great in-depth case studies I suggest checking out. For example, in one case, a retailer saw their email list grow from 250 to 10,000 subscribers in just one year.

Chimpadeedoo sales promotions | Shopify Retail

Another app you might want to check out is Belly, which helps local businesses connect with customers through a customer-facing mobile app and merchant iPad app, and helps you build loyalty by rewarding your customers each time they visit and make a purchase from your store.

Lastly, Don’t Forget To Track Your Efforts

In order for you to get the most benefit from running a sales promotion campaign, you must track the percentage of sales resulting from the promotional campaign. Ideally, you should be able to assign tracking codes or discounts to certain products within your POS system and generate a report to see how well you’ve done since first launching the campaign.

The other important component is setting a timeline for each campaign, not just to help your customers act faster, but for you to start looking at promotions from the perspective of seasonality. That will also help you to be far more strategic and give you enough time to plan everything in advance so as to ensure you’re not wasting your efforts.