Ahhhhh, yes… those ever-so-compelling customer rewards and points.Â In addition to discounts and freebies, many companies now offer points as a system of rewards for their customers and clients. Â While I’m all for getting an extra 10% off my next pair of shoes, or $15 dollars off my next purchase of $150 (or more), I believe that if you really want to reward your visitors, make it easy for them to redeem these special bonuses.Â If done right, rewards programs reinforce your relationship with the client.Â But if you overlook these efforts in your marketing optimization plan, you could be doing more harm than you realize.
Recently, I received two customer rewards in just one week from companies I patronize.Â And, while I was excited and persuaded by both offers, one companyâ€™s claim process was so easy, I was feeling pampered in a matter of minutes, but the other companyâ€™s was so difficult, it nearly put me off buying from them altogether.Â Some reward!
Weâ€™ve blogged at least once before about how Victoriaâ€™s Secret does a good job of maintaining scent and persuasive momentum in their banner ads, and thatâ€™s why I was so surprised by my experience trying to collect on the “FREE VS Undies Panty” coupon I received in the mail.Â This time around, Vicky overlooked one very important piece of information, and despite a very streamlined checkout and lots of great scent on the site, that little missing tidbit of info had a huge impact on my persuasive momentum. When I received my coupon, I decided to search online to redeem my free gift.Â I clicked on the panties category to begin my search.Â Clearly labeled, I found the subcategory “VS Undies” under Â “Shop By Collection.”Â So far, so good.Â Just as outlined in our previous post, there is a strong scent trail between the coupon and the terminology used online.
After selecting my item, I headed to the checkout, looking high-and-low for my coupon code option at each step.Â Uh ohâ€¦ by the time I reached the checkout page, having already completed the credit card and delivery information steps, I still had not been prompted to enter my coupon code.Â Thatâ€™s when I hit the â€śbackâ€ť button not once, not twice, but 4 times before I finally found mention of a coupon code… not in the shopping cart but in the shopping bag!Â Rule #1: If you offer a rewards program, make sure visitors can find it. There’s no use trying to build customer loyalty if customers are reminded how difficult it is to complete an order.
Determined not to let the last half hour go to waste, I checked the â€śoffer codeâ€ť box on the first page of the shopping cart and began the process again, re-entering all my delivery and credit card details a second time. Â I have to say, Vicky clearly already had done her homework with regards to her checkout process: it was very streamlined and it was easy once I checked off this box to find in the top navigation where I should enter my “offer code redemption.”Â But that made it all the more frustrating when, after all this effort, I received an error message saying my offer code was not valid!
As directed by the error message, I painstakingly read over all the tiny print on the back of the card until I found the second to last line that read, “Not valid on previously purchased merchandise, catalogue or online purchases.”Â Rule #2: If visitors can’t redeem the points at certain locations, tell them up front. VS could have avoided my frustration (and even taken a positive spin on this rule) by printing on the front of the card, “We’d love to see you! Come into a store near you to receive your FREE VS Undies Panty!”
The other redemption I received was from Tropicana.Â They’re currently running a promotion where a code under the cap of their products translates into points when entered online, and those points can be redeemed for different offers and discounts in your area.Â (I’ve gotten 2 free yoga classes at a nearby studio!)Â I found the process of redeeming my points so easy that it actually encouraged me to continue to buy the Tropicana brand, even when not on sale.Â So, what did they do right?
1.Â On the carton it reads “Go to Tropicana.com to redeem your points.”Â Rule #2, check: I know where to go to get my gift!
2.Â Once on the site, a large icon in the middle of the navigation stands out from the rest.Â Â It reads “Tropicana Juicy Rewards,” maintaining consistency between what is advertised on the juice carton and the content on the site, and creating a strong scent trail.Â Rule #1, check: correct offer clearly identified!
3.Â By putting the promo icon in the navigation, Tropicana has created an intuitive connection between clicking on the logo and more information about the promo.Â Rule #3: Don’t assume your visitors know as much as you do. You created the site, so obviously you’ll navigate easily. If youâ€™re having trouble seeing your site from your visitorsâ€™ perspective, use a user testing service to find out how intuitive your site is for your visitors.
Remember, rewards programs are designed to encourage your customers to keep coming back and to gain good word-of-mouth about the extra benefits and edge that you provide over your competition.Â Using them should be easy and intuitive to your visitors.Â Your bonuses need to be clear, easy and fast so they feel like bonuses…Â or they may counteract your otherwise streamlined checkout process and make customers feel like your site is difficult to use.
Do you have any favorite loyalty programs that follow these rules effectively?