How Infusing Rewards into a Business Model Levels Up Loyalty

Starbucks Rewards

People like tangible rewards resulting from their brand interactions. They like free stuff, but also feel a sense of recognition and loyalty when they earn rewards. For businesses, there’s considerable power with a well-designed rewards program. The trick is to present the right type of rewards along with a service or product that delights the customer.

Consider Starbucks and its exceedingly popular rewards structure that added 1 million new members just in Q1 2019. The program attracts people because it provides fairly attainable rewards with a seamless experience. Its mobile pay and ordering functions are very easy to use, making the convenience of a Starbucks stop even faster and more enjoyable. The mobile payment aspect of the rewards app is so popular that it eclipses Google Pay and Apple Pay in their entirety. Starbucks exemplifies a reward structure that makes sense. Customers enjoy coffee, tea, and snacks, and they then receive freebies of those items based on their past purchases. It’s an enjoyable and repeatable reward.

Another reward segment ingrained within consumers’ lives are airline and hotel-branded credit cards. They’re so common now that they’ve pushed customers to not care about the card issuing bank. They care about the reward. The reward is the driver of purchasing activity.

The lessons gleaned from Starbucks and other successful mega-brand rewards programs are applicable for other industries, including mobile games. Just like there are many choices for coffee shops and credit cards, there are a plethora of choices for playing casual mobile games. So, the question becomes, “Can a strong cohesive rewards program be a deciding factor for a consumer choosing a brand in a crowded space?”

At Rewardify, our business model offers quality gameplay with the added bonus of the ultimate reward—cash. We beta tested everything from travel to discounts on lifestyle products and restaurants and ultimately, cash was the clear winner with users. Our first game, Match to Win is a “match 3” Candy Crush-style, free to play casual puzzle game with players accumulating sweepstakes entries and an opportunity for cash rewards as they play. It’s the only game of its kind in the marketplace today. It combines smooth and engaging gameplay and rewards users with cash rewards and prizes for their time.

Here are a few ingredients that make up a successful and profitable rewards program.

Stand Out

The modern business landscape is extraordinarily crowded, and successful innovation is rare. It’s the “sameness” of so many business models that allows new and innovative models to shine. It is important to offer something new, providing a reward that’s tangible and desirable. Move beyond simple in-store discounts, and instead, offer customers something they actually want. For example, Spotify’s recent partnership with Hulu, offering users a complimentary Hulu subscription with their Spotify purchase, is a great use case of unique and desirable customer perks. It’s a simple distinction, but one that’s transformatively powerful for success in a crowded marketplace.

Keep Them Coming

The result of a good reward model is that it is highly retentive. By developing a program that becomes engrained in a user’s life, brands are able to create life-long brand ambassadors. For example, if a customer is a consistent Uber rider, and Uber gives them complimentary rides each month for their loyalty, the likelihood of the customer utilizing Lyft highly decreases.

This ‘Reward for loyalty’ dynamic creates customers who tend to engage with the brand more frequently and stick around for much longer timeframes.

The Takeaway

With the customer expectation of tangible rewards for their time and data, the business landscape will never be the same. Consumers have so many choices. It’s appealing to a fundamental human nature to desire recognition and rewards for spending time with a brand and giving a company their business.

As we say at Rewardify, “Why play for less?”


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