Loyalty programs are essential for customer retention and a necessary foundation for building customer loyalty in ecommerce. Whether it’s a points program, a simple referral program, or a multi-tiered VIP program, a loyalty program aims to turn one-time customers into repeat customers and build a loyal following.
Based on our data at Smile.io, 35% of an ecommerce store’s revenue comes from the top 5% of customers. Meaning your loyal customer base is the driving force behind your business. For ecommerce businesses that implement a loyalty program, repeat purchases are 56% higher amongst customers who actively redeem rewards than those who do not.
Some of the best loyalty programs are just as recognizable as the brand. From the name of the loyalty program to how you market the program to your customers, loyalty programs are now a vital part of an ecommerce growth strategy.
We compiled a list of our top 10 customer loyalty programs of 2023. These were selected based on how brands used their loyalty programs, how innovative they were with certain program features, their launch strategy, and how they helped customers.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents:
- The Luminary League by Lumin
- Polaroid Rewards
- Monos Wayfarer Rewards
- Pampers' Pampers Club
- Expedia’s OneKey Relaunch
- Dr. Sam's Flawless Rewards
- Francesca Franc Rewards
- Hydrant’s Hydrant Rewards
- The Wrap Life’s Unwrap Rewards
- Kiyoko Beauty’s Besties Rewards
The Luminary League by Lumin
The foundation of a great VIP loyalty program begins with offering the best experience to your customers. By creating different levels of your loyalty program, you can inspire and incentivize customers to unlock new rewards whenever they come back to shop with you.
Men’s skincare brand Lumin appropriately names its loyalty and rewards program, The Luminary League, and its currency, Lumin Coins. Looking at Lumin’s loyalty program, we can see its VIP tiers ranging from The Skincare Badass, to The Skincare Boss, The Class Act, to their top tier, The Ultimate Luminary.
The benefits increase as you ascend the VIP tiers. At the highest tier, you can unlock additional benefits like free shipping, products, and early access to new products. Each tier has unique perks to incentivize customers to unlock those tiers. For example, members of The Ultimate Luminary get exclusive benefits like 2x points on purchases, an annual gift, and more.
VIP programs provide status levels that your customers will want to engage with because they can unlock more exclusive benefits by reaching new tiers. By encouraging customers to spend more to reach new tiers, you encourage customers to choose you over a competitor. Incorporating VIP tiers can be a great way to provide a whole new experience to your customers beyond a points loyalty program.
How does an iconic established brand adapt to being a force in ecommerce? You implement a loyalty program customers can use and engage with.
Iconic photo brand Polaroid incentivizes customers to shop and earn points towards redeeming a discount ranging from $3 to $55 off their next purchase. Polaroid offers 100 points for every dollar spent on Polaroid.com. It also offers a generous referral program that gives new customers 10% off, and the person making the referral earns 10,000 points.
We consider Polaroid Rewards one of the best loyalty programs in technology because it incentivizes customers to shop directly from Polaroid vs a third-party website or retailer. What makes this loyalty program a top one is its branded explainer page with an FAQ for customers. It is simple and shows how customers can sign up and earn rewards.
Another key aspect of Polaroid’s loyalty program is ensuring customers' points don’t expire. In an industry where customers aren’t shopping frequently, removing points expiry keeps your customer’s rewards balance full and available when they are ready to come back again.
Monos Wayfarer Rewards
Monos has become a top travel brand since its launch in 2018, becoming a disruptor in the luggage and travel space with its modern and sleek designs. Monos has since entered the fashion industry, launching apparel, accessories, and bags. One staple of the Monos brand that hasn’t changed is its loyalty and referral program, Wayfarer Rewards.
Wayfarer Rewards incentivizes customers to engage with the loyalty program by earning sign-up points, following the brand on social media, leaving reviews, celebrating a birthday, and referring customers. They make these actions attractive with generous offers like a sign-up bonus of 100 Monos Miles (points) and a referral reward of $20 off—Give your friend $20 off their purchase of $200 or more, and you’ll get rewarded with $20 off, too.
Monos customers can fall into one of the two VIP categories, depending on how much they spend. At its highest level, Gold customers (who spend $550 or more within a year) can unlock access to additional discounts, provide product feedback to the Monos team, shop double-points events, and earn 15% off new product launches. It’s made our list of top loyalty programs for its reward structure and generous referral offers.
Pampers' Pampers Club
If there is one thing all new parents need, it’s diapers. It’s estimated that the average parent will spend around $900 a year on disposable diapers. Diaper brand Pampers is utilizing its loyalty program, Pampers Club, to build a community of new parents by creating an app that rewards parents for every diaper purchase with discounts and cashback, exclusive rewards, and expert-led content such as parenting tips.
Although launched in 2017, Pampers Club has made our list this year for strengthening its brand community beyond a purchase point. In recent years, Pampers Club has promoted its mobile app for customers to engage with content in-app and on social media. Pampers social channels are becoming a go-to resource for new parents with tips and recommendations on various topics for newborns. Pampers Club is an excellent example of building content and being a valuable resource in addition to supporting a much-loved loyalty and rewards program.
Expedia’s OneKey Relaunch
One exciting loyalty program that was relaunched in 2023 was OneKey by Expedia. By uniting three travel brands (Vrbo, Hotels.com, and Expedia) into a single loyalty program, Expedia launched OneKey. “Earn OneKeyCash for every dollar spent on eligible hotels, vacation rentals, flights, car rentals, and more when you book across our family of brands,” Expedia explains. OneKey also makes Vrbo one of the first rental platforms with a loyalty program.
OneKey allows customers to earn more and redeem across any of the three travel brands, whether for a hotel, rental, flight or anything Expedia offers. Expedia built different VIP tiers that customers can move through by earning trip elements, which are items booked through Expedia (hotel, flights, cruise, etc.) Because customers can earn points across three platforms, it’s easy for customers to build up points and move up their VIP tiers. Tiers range from Blue to Platinum, and customers can redeem additional perks and discounts in each level.
“By bringing together our three biggest travel brands into one program, travelers can easily earn rewards across our family of brands,” explained Expedia president Jon Gieselman. According to Expedia, the three travel brand's combined loyalty program has more than 168 million members and has provided more than $10 billion in savings to customers.
Dr. Sam's Flawless Rewards
Since its launch in 2018, Dr. Sam’s skincare products have become a part of many customer’s skincare routines. Founded by Dr. Sam Bunting, her products have amassed a social media community of 153,000 followers on Instagram alone. Dr. Sam’s introduced its Flawless Rewards program in 2019 “to appreciate and reward our loyal customers.” Dr Sam’s Flawless Rewards is at the top of our list for its use of integrations.
Integrations with different tech stacks and apps can enhance your loyalty program and overall customer shopping experience. Dr. Sam’s integrated Smile.io with various apps such as Klaviyo, Recharge, Reviews.io, etc… The integration with Klaviyo has helped Dr. Sam’s team create strategic messaging and reminders to customers about their points balance.
“Smile’s integration with Klaviyo allows us to create specific segments based on customer loyalty status so we can accurately target our audience,” Dr. Sam’s team explains. “The integration also syncs their number of points and tier names so we can upsell and send relevant messaging in our campaigns.”
Francesca Franc Rewards
A jewelry brand without the big industry markups? Sign us up! The jewelry industry is expected to exceed $517 billion by 2030, and is only continuing to grow.
Australian jewelry brand Francesca aims to bring the best prices to customers with jewelry from around the world. Its loyalty program, Franc Rewards, allows customers to redeem discounts ranging from $15 to $200.
Its generous rewards, which customers love and can quickly obtain, have placed Franc Rewards on our list this year. Not to mention that amazing branded explainer page built within Smile.io. From the moment you land on the explainer page, you are guided to everything you need to know about its loyalty program. Francesca has built a large social media following that has supported the brand since its launch in 2016 by two sisters, Hannah & Rachel Vasicek.
Hydrant’s Hydrant Rewards
Ecommerce brands have truly become direct-to-consumer by implementing subscription offers with their products. Going a step further, many subscription-based brands have added a rewards program as part of their retention strategy to allow customers to earn rewards and save money each month.
Wellness and hydration brand Hydrant has done a great job blending subscription offers with an effective loyalty program. Hydrant creates hydrating sticks you can add to water. With different flavors and a thriving social media community, Hydrant has built a recognizable brand since its launch in 2018.
Hydrant implemented its loyalty program, Hydrant Rewards, allowing customers to earn 1 Point for every $1 spent, including their monthly subscription box purchases. Customers can redeem reward points towards their monthly subscription purchases ranging from a $5-$20 off subscription coupon. This incentivizes customers to continue to earn on every purchase and build up a bank of reward points for a repeat purchase.
One unique aspect of Hydrant Rewards is its Social Club, which rewards customers for posting across social media channels. Earn a 30% discount for posting an Instagram Reel or TikTok or a $5 credit for posting to Instagram Stories. This unique approach to earning points also allows Hydrant to collect user-generated content (UGC) and showcase its community enjoying its products.
The Wrap Life’s Unwrap Rewards
The Wrap Life is on a mission to become the world's “most inclusive hair accessory brand, offering products that are beautiful, functional, and intentionally designed.” The Wrap Life offers a variety of product lines, from turbans to head wraps, headbands, and scrunchies.
Its loyalty program, Unwrap Rewards, lets customers earn and unlock rewards such as a $5 – $25 discount or free products. Its perfect use of VIP Tiers has earned a spot on our top customer loyalty programs list.
From its branded explainer page to its various ways of earning and redeeming rewards, Unwrap Rewards meets all the criteria for creating and launching a successful VIP loyalty program. Its VIP tiers go a step further in providing customers with a positive shopping experience with The Wrap Life. The VIP tiers are named Maker, Trailblazer, and Visionary, offering up to 7 points for every dollar spent on its highest tiers.
Kiyoko Beauty’s Besties Rewards
The world of Asian skincare is much more accessible thanks to Canadian beauty brand Kiyoko Beauty. Its mission is to “Make Asian Beauty for Everyone,” and they’re doing a great job by offering various products from South Korea, Japan, China, and more. Its innovative use of Besties Rewards has shown proven results by retaining customers and building a brand community.
Kiyoko Beauty has nearly $40,000 in Smile.io-influenced revenue due to its Besties Rewards program. “Candidly, when we first set up Smile.io, it wasn’t a priority. It was more of a test and learn experience to see if people were even using it,” Co-founder Gillian Liu says. “It’s gaining traction. Our return rate is healthy, and part of that is due to our loyalty program. Customers can redeem rewards for free shipping or dollars off, and we see people using and redeeming them.”
Besties Rewards gives 500 sign-up points and 2 points for every dollar spent that customers can redeem for free shipping or a discount on their next orders. Kiyoko Beauty also rewards customers $10 for every referral to both parties, making its referral program just as enticing to new customers.
Its growing social channels and creative content show that a brand’s loyalty is infused at every customer touchpoint. Its Instagram posts feel like you’re on FaceTime with a friend and learning the latest skincare tips. Kiyoko Beauty is a growing small business that shows that loyalty programs have benefits at every stage of a business’ lifecycle.
Keep an eye out for our Loyalty Report, listing trends, topics, and resources to build the best and most successful loyalty program.
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