Did you know that 71% of American consumers are members of a retail customer loyalty program? Or that more than 40% belong to at least three? Despite this popularity, however, not everyone is as happy as they seem.

Your customers want a more rewarding experience than ever in return for their long-term loyalty. So, which loyalty program benefits and perks do today’s retail buyers rank at the top of their list?

Free shipping

Ecommerce enterprises have instilled a consumer expectation for free shipping. Beyond encouraging extra purchases and signups, 79% of buyers believe it’s the incentive that improves the online experience by eliminating unnecessary barriers— ultimately making them more likely to shop with any brand offering these loyalty program perks.

loyalty program perks

More importantly, free shipping makes your company feel convenient to the average consumer. And that’s a huge deal considering that nine out of 10 people are likely to choose a retailer based on how easy it is to make a purchase.

But free shipping doesn’t only benefit your buyers—it helps your brand, too. Beyond increasing customer loyalty and engagement, this seemingly small loyalty program perk has been known to boost AOV and email conversion rates as well. So, offer your most loyal customers free shipping (and don’t be shy to remind them about it at every opportunity either).

Personalized email experiences

According to Bond’s 2020 Loyalty Report, personalized experience factors account for 76% of all activity that drives loyalty program engagement. Making dynamic content and data-driven email elements a must-have for any agile marketing team.

Whether your messages simply recognize the recipient by name, customize offers to their specific brand and product preferences, or deliver a fun, interactive experience, personalized email is perhaps the most effective way to reach your customers—whether they’re first-time buyers or long-time brand evangelists.

loyalty program perks

But the good news doesn’t stop there. Because Bond’s report also shows that retail marketing strategies prioritizing personalization experience 47% higher engagement rates. Considering that only 25% of loyalty program members feel special and recognized by their brand(s) of choice, there’s still a lot of opportunity left for you out there.

Surprise gifts

Over the last decade or so, more and more retail companies have uncovered value by sending instant discounts, free samples, and other surprise gifts to their most loyal shoppers. Rewarding loyalty program members is a smart way to easily enhance someone’s brand experience—after all, everybody loves free stuff!

loyalty program perks

Used strategically, a genuine sign of appreciation makes any customer connection more powerful. Or is able to breathe new life into your existing marketing campaigns. In fact, LoyaltyOne found that 94% of people who receive special recognition or a surprise gift feel more positive about the sender—leading 34% to give the particular brand more business than they normally would.