Cash Back? The Best Customer Loyalty Programs Don’t Use It

Cash Back? The Best Customer Loyalty Programs Don't Use It

If you’re like most marketers, you’re looking for better ways to boost customer loyalty in today’s very competitive market. Shopper behavior has changed in the last two years, and your loyalty program needs to keep up. And here’s the really obvious challenge: as me-too companies have jumped on the cash-back bandwagon, cash-back is losing its appeal. It’s no longer a differentiator, and it’s practically table stakes in some industries, such as credit cards.

Let’s take a closer look at why cash-back is also a race-to-the-bottom strategy in the long run. It’s simple, really. Because the only value customers can see is the percentage they receive as motivation for doing business with you. Money is the only metric, making for a very static playing field.

What if your competition offers 2.5% back, and you only offer 2% back? In that case, your competition provides more value than you do, since the only way “value” is measured is monetary. You can offer 3% back, trying to win back clients. And then your competitors offer 3.25%, and so on. Eventually, your bulging loyalty budget is going to run out.

You need new customer loyalty program ideas. And we have one: the way to win loyalty is to change the game that’s played. Change how “value” is measured in the eyes of your customers. Instead of just offering money as a source of value, why not execute sales and marketing plans with rewards that have “inspirational” value?

Inspirational Value Exceeds Monetary Value as a Reward

Cash Back? The Best Customer Loyalty Programs Don't Use It

People enjoy money. Obviously. But they also love receiving gifts that are custom-crafted for them. The era of personalization is here, and the best customer loyalty programs are harnessing its power.

“Companies that provide more than just cash rewards can increase revenue from customers who engage with that program by 15-25%.”

Until now, technology hasn’t been able to know, discern, and provide customized, relevant merchandise and rewards for customers. Especially not in the ways that a traditional salesperson, a neighbor, or other people in their lives could do for them. But all of that has changed, thanks to the digital data we have at our fingertips today.

Imagine that one of your customers has their first child. It’s one of the most significant imaginable events in a person’s life. What if your customer loyalty program could provide that person a choice of merchandise specific to items they might need to take care of their newborn? That would be powerful. And very, very memorable.

If you could do that for them, you can bet that you’ll have created a meaningful and inspirational customer experience that will cause them to continue doing business with you for the long haul. At the very least, they’ll want to do business with you over other companies that only offer them cold cash back. And that’s exactly what the best customer loyalty program can do: keep your business top of mind.

Here’s the deal: you absolutely can offer great rewards like baby gear—and other items to suit nearly everybody—in a customized e-catalog. And by customized, we mean customized for each customer. Let your customer spend a $50 loyalty reward on thoughtfully selected items, and they will definitely remember your business.

Inspirational Value is the Future of Loyalty Programs

Cash Back? The Best Customer Loyalty Programs Don't Use It

Businesses that don’t keep up with emerging technologies will always play the game of racing to the bottom with cash-back rewards. As they’re losing profits and trying to keep customers’ attention, others are gaining market share by providing meaningful choices for their rewards programs.

Fortunately, today’s technology allows you to aggregate merchandise from numerous suppliers, compiling them into segmented and customized e-catalogs. You can set them not only for specific demographics such as age and education, but even for important life events like having a new child, buying a first home, or for empty-nesters.

Prior technologies simply weren’t able to deliver these kinds of results. The lack of sophistication must have led to conversations like, “Well, we may as well just give our customers cash, since everybody likes cash.” And, “Right! We’ll just give everyone cash-back, and we won’t have to understand our customer desires.” But today? Well, we’ve come a long way. A very long way. Online Rewards is here to provide customer loyalty program ideas that leverage these new tools.  

Set Up Your Company’s Inspirational Rewards

Online Rewards has a patent around today’s highest-tech incentive program marketing. We are pioneering today’s highly customized, highly converting customer rewards programs for some of the country’s largest companies. These programs provide greater levels of customer loyalty than has been seen since the days of green stamps.

If you’d like to see examples of customized catalogs built for targeted audiences, connect with one of our experts by filling out the form below.



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Online Rewards is a highly versatile and powerful incentive and loyalty marketing solutions provider.  Since its formation in 2002, Online Rewards has designed, developed, and supported global rewards and incentives programs across a variety of industries and applications.

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