There is one thing we can all agree on: 2020 was not our favourite year. So why not start with giving your retail loyalty program a fresh face to help you get on the right foot for the New Year?

Your retail loyalty program has always played an important role in your business, but it’s also safe to say it played an extra special role to help with customer retention during this pandemic.

Now that we are heading into the New Year, we’ve created a checklist for you to make sure you give your loyalty program the TLC it deserves for a fresh start. Here are our 4 tips to prep your retail loyalty program for 2021.

  1. Plan out your business goals for the New Year

This tip might sound obvious, but you would be surprised as to how your loyalty program really plays into your business goals. The first step before taking any action of change in your business is to lay out those 2021 business goals.

A loyalty program is far from a simple business “add-on”. It is a customer retention tool and a long-term investment. 

So say one of your goals is to have better communication with customers. Set up an email marketing campaign within your loyalty program, by using the customer data that you collect at sign up. This campaign can be a simple “Welcome 2021!” or update customers on the promotions for the month of January. 

Set Goals

2. Think about how to increase customer spend

We’re sure that one of your business goals is increasing revenue. One way to achieve that is to plan out how to increase your customers’ spend.

There are many tactics you can do within your loyalty program to help increase your customers’ spend. One of the most popular is using promotion within your retail loyalty program.

Heading into January, think about setting up a “New Year” promo. Plus, this is something that you can set up in advance with an automated promotion tag. Set it up now, and let it do its work in January!

Here are a few ideas as to how you can implement promo into your loyalty program:

  • Double Loyalty Promo: Reward your customers by offering a double loyalty percentage depending on their spend amount during a specific time period.
  • Product Promotion: Increase the rewards percentage when customers buy a specific product (we also recommend putting a time period on this).
  • Tie in a gift card: During the month of January, when loyalty members buy a gift card (the denomination up to you – we will say a $30 gift card for this example), they will receive a $5 bonus card that can be used on their next purchase. 


3. How can you keep customers coming back?

If a customer signs up for your loyalty program, it’s a no brainer that they should be frequently returning to your business, right? Wrong. Well, partially wrong. Yes, you do have customers that are fully committed to your brand. However, there are those that you need to get creative to help increase their returning visits. 

One tactic you can use, which also conveniently helps increase a customer’s spend, is introducing tier-based loyalty.

If you’ve never used tier-based loyalty, the New Year is the perfect time to kick it off with your loyalty program because it gives your whole program a fresh face.

Tier-based loyalty works by putting your customers in a specific level in your loyalty program depending on how much they’ve spent at your business.

So for example, say your loyalty program has platinum, gold, silver, and bronze tiers. Each of these tiers have a specific amount of spend tied to them and loyalty percentage multiplier.

Sephora tier-based loyalty

All your customers will start in the bronze tier (which they are in for free), in which they receive the standard percentage back on their purchases and the standard promotions you offer in your loyalty program.

Once a customer has reached a certain amount of spend that would bring them to the next threshold (silver for this example), they are promoted to a silver loyalty member and receive 1.2X back on purchases, rather than the standard 1X percentage back. 

The goal is to encourage customers to keep increasing their spend per visit and keep returning to YOUR business to spend their dollars. However, keep in mind customers must maintain the spend threshold over the calendar year to maintain their status!

Sephora is a great example of tier-based loyalty. They have their program split into three levels: Insider (free to join, get 10% off), VIB (spend at least $350, get 15% off), and Rouge (spend $1,000; get 20% off). On top of savings, they also offer samples like a free birthday gift and experiences like point multiplier events!

Pro Tip: Make it fun! Along with an increased percentage back on purchases, add some extra winnings when the customer reaches the next level. Make sure you are constantly communicating with them on their account status and balance.

Plus, make it extra fun by revamping the look of your loyalty program. Rebrand your cards so that once a customer is promoted to the next level, their loyalty program card gets an upgrade too!


4. Be creative with marketing

Is marketing something that you have explored with your loyalty program? There’s no time like the New Year to try something new!

Think about how you can help market your loyalty program. The options are endless: direct mail marketing, email marketing, through social media, or even paid digital marketing.

One of the most effective ways to market your retail loyalty program is through email marketing.

email marketing stat

One part of email marketing is ensuring that you have your customers’ contact information and consent to communicate with them. You already collect that information through a loyalty program – check! You’re already well on your way to establishing an email marketing program. 

Next, the world is your oyster with what you want to talk to customers about. Like we mentioned earlier in this blog, give loyalty customers a shout to welcome 2021. Or, if you’re giving your loyalty program a revamp (i.e. with tier-based loyalty) let them know! 

Plus, refresh your social media pages and give your loyalty program a push. Post engaging content like polls, contests, or even asking questions to your followers. Or, offer a promotion through your social media for any loyalty sign ups (i.e. if you sign up for the loyalty program via Facebook, you receive bonus dollars in your account!).


Are you an Ackroo client who wants to refresh their program for the New Year? Let our team know and we will be happy to help!

ie. "Please tell me more about your custom loyalty programs!"