The Hunt for the Perfect Loyalty Program & The Perfect Sample Sale This Week
Loyalty is what any brand wants from its customers. Sure, brands appreciate the fun in the retail equivalent of a one-night stand, but they’re always hoping it’ll lead to a committed relationship. Why? Simply put, it costs them less to keep you than to acquire a new customer. In fact, brands have become so afraid of getting ghosted that over half of retailers have introduced loyalty programs in some form, and another 24 percent plan to do so in the near future.
If you pick up any trade magazine you will certainly come across at least one article with tips for retailers on how to turn customers into “loyalists.” And that number of article is woefully disproportionate to the number of articles out there to help you, consumers, in selectively “settling down” with a brand. Luckily, you’re reading one of the latter at this very moment.
Here are three simple rules for you to follow for a healthy relationship with retailers. (Do I hear wedding bells?)
1. Don’t enter into a complicated relationship.
There are many red flags you should be able to spot early on; a difficult signup process, an incomprehensible point system, and a really bad user interface are a few of the many ways a loyalty program can frustrate us. I’ve seen them all. Based on my experience, the savings are not worth your time if you have to overcome these obstacles. When it comes to retail, these are rewards you shouldn’t have to work for—you’re doing the brand a favor because as wonderful as they may be, you’ll always be out of their league. That being said, all relationships—even healthy ones—require making sacrifices. Entering my phone number every time I buy something at Petco is a sacrifice worth the few hundred dollars I save per year there.
2. First love, then commitment.
I am part of the loyalty program or membership of the following brands only: Sephora, Petco, Amazon Prime, Visa, British Airways, and Restoration Hardware. My experiences with all these brands share one common trait: I was already a customer before I became a “rewarded loyalist.” I had spent a lot of money (too much?) at Restoration Hardware before they introduced the program, which offers me discounted prices on everything online and in store for an affordable annual fee. It made sense to pay the membership fee because I knew I would continue to buy from them to easily coordinate with the furniture I already had.
3. If you are in for the money, make sure it’s worth it.
Sephora, the beauty retail mecca has been recently at the center of a controversy around their reward point system that has caused them to lose some customers. I am one of them. The joy of picking up rewards after completing a transaction at the Sephora counter was part of the appeal of being there. Since I was always less interested in adding another free mini mascara to my already crowded beauty drawer, I was inclined to save up my points for a long time until I had enough for a significant gift. With the newly introduced policy that restricts the time one can save the points to less than 18 months, saving up those points is no longer an option for me. I’d venture to say there’s a good chance I’ll be venturing to other spots to get my beauty fixes. Sure, it’s not an entirely rational decision, but shopping rarely is.
Whether you’re saving up points or not, there are still a plethora of ways to save money. In fact, saving money is what sample sales do best. And keeping watch over the best of them is what we do best at TSC.
Here are the scheduled sample sales for some of our favorite brands this week. Loyalty program or not, we’re already pretty sure we’re in love…
We hope you and these sample sales are very happy together!
Posted by Staff Writer at 12:00 AM
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