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Creating Winning Loyalty Programs

October 16, 2023

In a market where consumers are king, and brands are vying to win over their customers, loyalty has become the sinews of war. The implementation of clever loyalty programs is playing a crucial role in companies' marketing strategies. 

Loyalty programs have evolved far beyond traditional offers of discounts and points. They now offer a complete customer experience, from exclusive benefits for loyal members to personalized rewards

More than just transactions, loyalty programs transform customers into loyal brand ambassadors, redefining the way companies approach loyalty and the customer experience.

Loyalty programs: what are they? 

What is a loyalty program? 

A loyalty program is a marketing strategy implemented by a company to encourage and reward customer loyalty. The aim of this program is to create a sense of attachment to the company among consumers. 

In this way, loyal customers help sustain your revenues. By creating relationships that last over time, you also create constant income from your loyal customers. 

It's worth noting, however, that loyal customers are not always synonymous with satisfied customers! There is such a thing as involuntary loyalty: in this case, your customer is loyal because he has no other alternative, or simply because it's practical. 

The whole point of loyalty programs is to win the loyalty of a customer who is satisfied with the product and, more generally, with the brand. It's this loyalty that will make your business sustainable over time.

What are the benefits? 

In concrete terms, what are the advantages of creating a loyalty program for your customers? There are plenty! Here are a few arguments that should convince your marketing team: 

  • Retain customers: acquiring a new customer is on average 5 times more costly for a company than retaining existing ones. 
  • Obtaining customer data: in exchange for the promised rewards, you can collect information that's essential for proposing personalized offers and boosting your revenues! 
  • Upsell: offering exclusive benefits to your customers encourages them to buy. You don't want to miss out on an offer like this... 
  • Create brand ambassadors: when your relationship with certain customers is particularly strong, they're more likely to share their experience. This will generate new customers. 
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Gain a competitive edge

Loyalty circle
Loyalty circle

How do you create a loyalty program? 

  1. Identify your customers

Before starting to create a loyalty program, it's essential to know your customers and their needs. Without this data, you can create a loyalty program that is of no interest to your customers: the rewards promised will be unattractive, and you'll have no relationship with them. 

That's why you need to make the most of all the data you collect. Thanks to it, you'll be able to clearly identify who's buying your products and segment your customers accordingly. Like everything else in marketing, loyalty programs need to be tailored to your customers' expectations. 

  1. Define your objectives

One more step before embarking on the creation of your program: defining your objectives. What do you want to achieve with your program: increase loyalty, promote new products, increase average basket size or purchase frequency? 

To monitor the effects of your program, you need to define the monitoring KPIs. These key figures, identified before the loyalty program is set up, will enable you to assess its effectiveness.

Loyalty KPIs
Loyalty KPIs
  1. Choose the right loyalty program 

Once your objectives have been clearly identified, you can move on to the heart of the matter: the program. Here, many questions arise: which loyalty program to adopt? which rewards to offer? to which customers

To begin with, identify your target customer base. By segmenting your customers in advance, you'll be able to set up a loyalty program adapted to each type of customer. 

Today, there are many different marketing techniques available to help you build a successful loyalty program. So which one should you choose? A points-based program, sponsorship, subscription... Here's a non-exhaustive list of some of the ways you can market your loyalty programs: 

  • Points-based program: accumulate points through purchases to benefit from certain advantages. 
  • Tiered program: based on the principle of gamification, your customers earn levels and reach greater or lesser levels of reward depending on their level. 
  • Community program: collect additional points through community involvement with the brand (taking part in games, sharing brand publications, etc.).  
  • Sponsorship program: invite customers to sponsor a member of their entourage.
  • Subscription program: through a paid membership, customers enjoy premium benefits.
  • Free benefits program: surprise your customers and reward them free of charge for their loyalty.
Decathlon loyalty program
Decathlon loyalty program

Finally, it's important to define the right rewards for each program. Choose rewards that meet your customers' needs. Without this, your loyalty program won't be attractive. 

  1. Communicate omnichannel 

Once you've developed your loyalty program, it's important to make it accessible to your customers. To do this, you need to communicate with them to let them know about your new loyalty program. 

Think omnichannel! Make your program accessible wherever your customers are. Use all your channels to promote your program: physical supports in-store, email, telephone, advertising, social networks, applications... Make sure you're accessible everywhere to reach all your customers.

Our top 3 successful loyalty programs


Nike's loyalty program is a very good example. Nike has built customer loyalty through the development of its online community. Through the Nike + application, users can track their progress, share it and challenge each other. A gamification-based loyalty-building technique that has paid off!

Nike's loyalty program
Nike's loyalty program

Here, the gamification of the Nike app and the creation of a brand community have created a strong sense of commitment among users. A feeling of closeness to the brand universe is created thanks to a community driven by the same passion. 

Thanks to this particularly effective loyalty program, Nike collects a wealth of data on its most loyal customers. This enables the brand to offer personalized rewards or adapt the content of its applications to each customer. Thanks to an elaborate customer marketing strategy, Nike maintains its customer commitment.

Amazon Prime

The giant Amazon Prime is a successful example of a paid subscription program. Through their subscription, Amazon Prime members benefit from free, fast delivery and many other exclusive advantages (Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video, etc.). 

Amazon Prime's loyalty program
Amazon Prime's loyalty program

In all, Amazon Prime offers no fewer than 11 services and benefits. The rewards and exclusive benefits are therefore commensurate with the price of the subscription, which is why the program is so successful. What's more, the price of the subscription helps filter out the platform's loyal customers.


One of the most successful loyalty programs is Sephora's Beauty Insider. Here, Sephora uses a tiered and a community-based program to build customer loyalty

Sephora's loyalty program
Sephora's loyalty program

There are several customer levels: Sephora White, Sephora Black or Sephora Gold. Customer levels are assigned according to their annual purchase amount. Depending on their level, customers have access to greater or lesser rewards. There's also the Beauty Insider Community, where customers can interact with each other and the brand. The result is even greater engagement.

Sephora's loyalty program alternatives
Sephora's loyalty program alternatives

Sephora has made the most of its loyalty program. Thanks to the various data collected on its most loyal customers. Thanks to this data, the company offers its customers exclusive personalized benefits. Each customer receives personalized offers and products according to his or her purchasing preferences.

Pimster's expertise

Loyalty programs play an essential role in today's competitive business world. Brands are fighting to retain their customers. The objective of these programs has become much more profound: to offer a unique, personalized customer experience for each and every customer. 

That's why creating a loyalty program for your customers has become a major asset for companies. By integrating it into their marketing strategies, brands can not only consolidate their relationships with customers, but also develop their market presence