Anyone who has joined a loyalty program experienced losing loyalty points. The potential redemptions which go unredeemed. The loyalty punch cards which are never finished and are eventually thrown away. In fact, a recent study showed a mind-bogglingly amount of loyalty points go unclaimed by participants — $100 billion loyalty points to be precise. That’s a ton of rewards just left on the table.
Why do people let their loyalty points go unrewarded? And if you’re a loyalty program provider, why should you care? If no one is redeeming points then that means there’s no cost to you. They should just go on accumulating points and never spend, correct?
Not at all. While you do want to have some level of point breakage, little to no redemptions is a bad sign. It reveals customers are not engaging with your program when customer engagement is supposed to be one of your goals. Program members are signing up but not participating in the entire loyalty process. And low participation eventually leads to brand abandonment. Not a good outcome when a loyalty program’s purpose is to support the consumer behaviors that lead to true loyalty and revenue growth.
If you’ve analyzed your program data and find your program members contain a high number of points with very low redemption, you should start looking into reasons why. We have a number of strategies you can use to re-engage your participants and encourage them to redeem their accumulated points.
Make your point redemption easy to understand
If your redemption levels are low, you don’t need to immediately begin a major overhaul and completely revamp your point structure or rewards. Start with double checking simple fixes.
- Is your point redemption process easy to understand? – Simplicity is key when it comes to point redemption. The more barriers blocking a participant from using their loyalty points, the less likely they are to actually redeem. Your process should involve minimal steps and by clearly explained somewhere within your loyalty platform.
- Make Available Points Available to Your Customers
You shouldn’t expect your customers to keep track of their points on their own. Your customers are busy people with many demands on their time and dozens of other interruptions fighting for their attention. The easier you make it for participants to track their loyalty points the easier it will be for them to redeem.
- Include a line on the main page that lists their available points balance – Consider making their points total available on the main screen after they log in or always present in a top or sidebar as they scroll through the rewards catalog. This way they can easily compare their total to the available rewards. They can add up for redeeming multiple items or plan ahead for redeeming a higher priced reward.
- Show the point balance on their personal profile – A nice personal touch is for you to include their points balance on their personal profile, along with their current standing in your rewards tier. It serves as a nice reminder of where they’re at in the points standing.
- Show them the points they’ll get when they purchase – Here’s one nice tactic Sephora uses in their infamous Beauty Insider program. Beauty Insiders can see how many points they’ll potentially earn from each item currently sitting in their shopping cart. If a Beauty Insider is close to achieving a new points goal, they can see just how much closer they’ll get when they purchase the items. This can be a powerful motivator.
Send Points Balance Reminders to Your Participants
As we said before, customers are busy people. Sometimes they just forget about their available points balance, or to check if there are any new products they want to redeem. It’s up to you to reach out to them with reminders.
Email marketing is far from dead. In fact, it’s one of the primary methods marketers use to engage loyalty program members. Take advantage of the opportunities email marketing offers.
- Give regular points balance updates – You should consider sending emails notifying program members of their available points balances. The best ways are to send monthly or quarterly emails with updated balances. This shows them how many points they earned in a given period and serves as a helpful reminder they still have points to spend.
- Send reminders emails when your program members are close to reaching another tier – If your loyalty platform includes a rewards tier — and it really should — then remind customers when they’re about to reach the next level. This can be a great incentive for them to make a purchase so they can earn more points. And it also serves as a reminder of how many points they currently possess.
- Create notification emails when new items are available to redeem – it’s possible your program participants are still active on your platform – they just aren’t interested in any of your available rewards.
Every good program regularly reviews their rewards offerings to make sure their rewards are still of value to their customers. When you make new additions to your rewards catalog be sure to send out notification emails to your members. It possible the new products are just what long-time participants were saving their points for.
To let loyalty points expire or to not let loyalty points expire. This is a frequently debated topic within the loyalty program community with good points to both sides of the argument. Whichever route you choose, make sure you have a few strategies in place for incentivizing your customers.
If you choose to let points expire….
- Make sure you provide tons of advance warning – To let loyalty points expire or to not let loyalty points expire. This is a frequently debated topic within the loyalty program community. There are/ good points to both arguments. If you go the route that member points will expire after a certain amount of time making sure this is conveyed clearly to your program members. Provide them with plenty of advanced notice that their points are in jeopardy. Send email reminders and include solutions, such as redeeming for smaller items. You can also create reminders within your loyalty platform
If you don’t choose to let points expire…
- Create special points redemption events – For example, you could host an event where the point value of items is reduced by half or another amount. Customers who are waiting for a time when they can get the most bang for their buck out of their points will love this opportunity to redeem.
For most loyalty program members, the perks are the rewards. If your customers aren’t redeeming for rewards, you should take the time to evaluate your program. The solution might be as simple as educating your customers about their points. In the end, helping your customers with their redemptions will lead to happier participants and a more valuable loyalty program experience.
If you’re still searching for ways for your customers to utilize their points, we can help!