Using Customer Loyalty Programs in Retail

Thanks to the immense popularity of big-box stores, giant online retailers like Amazon, and same-day deliveries, the face of retail has seen dramatic changes in a relatively short time. Consumers are now free to shop for virtually any product, any time of day, and enjoy low pricing, free shipping, and other benefits that once were not possible in the retail world. Consumers now have the power to purchase necessities and luxury items on their own terms, which has caused a struggle among retailers to keep up with changing trends, as well as an ongoing search for the exact strategy to help them stand out against competitors.

Loyalty programs are one of the most popular ways retailers maintain a healthy, thriving customer base. Many larger retail corporations offer customer loyalty programs that provide incentives, such as discounts and rewards, earned through purchases. This is an effective strategy not only because customers are more motivated to do their business with a particular store, but also because customers are likely to spend even more money when they return to use their reward points or earned discounts.

What Makes a Customer Loyalty Program Successful?

In order for a retail customer loyalty program to gain success among its target audience, it should meet the following requirements:

No Cost to Join

If a customer loyalty program is free, customers are far more likely to sign up than if there were a monthly or annual membership fee. While some retailers do offer rewards programs that cost money to subscribe, the free loyalty programs are almost universally more successful and popular than the ones that charge.  


From the basic structure of the customer loyalty program to the ease and convenience with which points can be redeemed online, user experience is everything. When rolling out a new customer loyalty program in marketing, a retailer must make sure that both the desktop and mobile website or app should support the earning and redemption of points is intuitive, convenient, and simple to use. Additionally, the structure of the program should be easy to understand and clearly laid out to avoid confusion and frustration among customers.

Great Incentives

As consumers everywhere can probably tell you, not all customer loyalty programs are created equal. Some retailers, for example, offer things like “store cash,” which can be redeemed only during select weeks and take a percentage off of a future purchase, rather than giving a customer anything for free. A good rewards program should offer a healthy balance of same-day discounts and the ability to redeem points toward free items. 

By keeping your customer loyalty program simple, free, and easy to use, you will be able to provide incentives that entice consumers to keep coming back to your retail store over and over again. Follow these guidelines when structuring your customer loyalty program and you will have a devoted customer base in no time!