To surprise or not – when to use promoted or surprise loyalty in your business

 In Blog

I love helping business owners to learn how to create loyalty amongst their customers that not only results in customers returning again and again, but also attracts new ones. 

Retention is key and with it, quite often, comes referral.  Both are extremely valuable and generally are the most cost-effective marketing strategies that a business can use.

But I don’t want to talk about how to create loyalty in this blog; I want to look at the differences between a loyalty scheme that is promoted and known to customers, versus a loyalty scheme that surprises a customer.


Promoted loyalty

There are heaps of examples of such loyalty schemes such as Flybuys, Qantas points and Velocity from the large organisations, through to coffee shops with loyalty cards that are stamped on each coffee purchase with a free coffee earned after a pre-determined number of stamps.   Other traditional loyalty options used by smaller businesses may be loyalty discounts for minimum spends, invitations to events, exclusive offers, referral incentives. These are generally well-publicised schemes that customers are encouraged to take up at their first interaction with the business.  And in turn, they are either welcomed by customers, or disregarded.

Surprise loyalty

This is still a loyalty strategy and can take the form of any one of the above options with the exception of issuing a loyalty card, but the difference being, the customer is not expecting this and does not know that by shopping with this business, they will be rewarded.  Can you recall the last time you received a freebie with a purchase and wasn’t expecting it, or was sent a thank you for shopping with a discount for your next purchase?  This form of loyalty can often result in stronger loyalty, prompt sharing and referral and ultimately be more memorable than a promoted scheme.  The surprise of what you have received, prompts you to tell a friend, or encourages you to shop again and probably makes the name of the business stick in your mind.  And in the noise of the many options out there, something like surprise loyalty could be the difference between a customer choosing you over searching for a competitor.

Promoted and surprise loyalty schemes can work equally well for both product and service businesses and either on or offline. 

Both promoted and surprise loyalty do not need to cost heaps – it could be as simple as a thank you card, a call to see how they are enjoying their purchase, or perhaps a money off voucher for their birthday or free shipping once they have spent an amount.  It is all about making the customer feel special, making them feel known by you, valued by you and making their shopping experience both pleasurable and memorable.

Stuck for ideas for a loyalty program? Why not book in a call with Susie and see if she can give your marketing a boost – 

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