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Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Loyalty Programme

There are several common mistakes brands must avoid when building their loyalty programme. It is crucial to steer clear of mistakes if a scheme is to attract members and help your organisation grow.

Epsilon is uniquely positioned to offer advice in this area as it shares more than four billion campaign messages every month to more than 600 million loyalty members. Epsilon works with companies of all sizes, from the largest multinationals to smaller boutiques, continually innovating to ensure market-leading performance.

Common errors when running a loyalty programme can occur at any time. They can arise during the build, in the early stages after launch, and once a scheme has reached maturity.

Cutting out mistakes can help boost an organisation's chances of commercial success. In this article we’ll walk you through the timeline involved in launching a loyalty programme, flagging up the pitfalls at each step along the way.

Mistakes to Avoid During the Build

Lack of Vision

The first mistake a brand might make when building a loyalty programme is a lack of vision. Big organisations such as Boots, British Airways, and Tesco each have a vision. They each want to reward loyalty and generate valuable business data.

To copy a competitor or because you want to add to your email database are not strong enough reasons to proceed. Following that path will more than likely result in an unsuccessful scheme.

You need to have a clear idea of how you want the loyalty programme to benefit both you and your customers. You must spend time mapping out a strong business plan. 

Working with the Wrong Partners

Another frequent error in the planning stages is to work with the wrong partners. Do not choose the first loyalty programme company you find.

You need to find a company that will tailor the loyalty programme to your needs, and bring in-depth industry expertise to the process.

Choosing a Provider Rather Than a Partner

A common mistake organisations make is to choose a loyalty scheme solutions provider, as opposed to a partner. There is a risk of getting an off-the-shelf kind of solution, and one that simply looks like everything else on the market.

A lack of innovation or uniqueness will fail to wow consumers, and the scheme won’t work.

Forrester, an analyst firm, calls on brands to choose a loyalty service provider based on three things. They should understand emotional connections, customer insights, and have strong project orchestration capabilities.

It is now more crucial than ever for businesses running loyalty schemes to have clear terms and conditions for consumers. Data privacy laws continue to tighten. It is imperative for organisations to safeguard consumer data and be transparent about its usage and storage.

The creative process of launching a new customer loyalty programme is compelling. But don’t make the mistake of forgetting important matters of compliance.

Mistakes to Avoid in the Days Immediately After Launch

Even organisations that have built stand-out loyalty programmes can still fail to best utilise them. The early stages post-launch are crucial if you want to gain momentum.

It is a time to take advantage of marketing the newness and unique opportunities related to your loyalty programme.

Lack of Activity

The early days of a loyalty scheme are crucial to building a rapport with members because this is a time of high consumer engagement. But organisations often fall into the trap of inactivity.

The best loyalty programmes adopt a 100-day strategy, where the aim is to find out as much about their members as possible.

The more you can find out about loyalty programme members, the more you can personalise your communication with them.

Consumers who receive a personalised service are more likely to make a purchase than those who feel a disconnect with a brand’s messaging.

Not Personalizing the Experience for Customers

Loyalty schemes become irrelevant to consumers when they lack personalisation.

And 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase if their experience with a brand is personalised.

Not Making The Purpose of the Loyalty Programme Clear

It is also an error not to make it clear upfront what your loyalty programme stands for. By failing to tell consumers what they stand to benefit from, you are failing to motivate them to use it in the first place.

Providing a clear pathway towards earning rewards and payback in exchange for sharing their data with you is important. This represents an ideal way to begin a relationship with your new loyalty scheme member.

Not Easy to Redeem Points

A study published by Virgin Red in April 2022 listed the biggest bugbears of loyalty scheme members.

Consumers don't like lengthy processes to redeem points, according to the survey. They are also frustrated when points expire before they have been converted to a saving or treat.

Too Difficult to Achieve Rewards

The time it takes to earn enough points to make a significant saving was the main reason shoppers avoid loyalty schemes altogether.

This finding highlights the importance of avoiding unachievable reward schemes.

The research indicated that consumers look elsewhere quickly if there is no realistic reward to set their sights on. 

Mistakes to Avoid After Your Loyalty Programme Has Reached Maturity

Not Continuing to Evolve and Enhance Customer Experience

While the early stages of a loyalty scheme’s life are vital, it would be a mistake to think that the programme can stand still thereafter. Members will expect the scheme to evolve, and for you to communicate new features and different ways for them to gain rewards.

Throughout their life, successful loyalty programmes continually enhance the brand and customer experience. And they have to change with the times.

It’s important to remember that loyalty members spend three times more than non-members – so it's critical that you treat them to the powerful customized experiences that they deserve. That's how to convert casual customers into lifelong ones – and Epsilon PeopleCloud Loyalty is designed to help you do exactly that. 

Ready to Launch Your Own Loyalty Programme?

With Epsilon, you can get in touch with your customers’ unique preferences and purchases – so you know exactly what to say, how to say it, and what to offer to earn your customers' purchases and keep their loyalty.

Epsilon’s exclusive emotional loyalty measurement model displays real-time sentiment, so you’ll see the impact of your programs on each customer. Then you can optimise your marketing to drive even higher emotional scores and deeper brand connections.

By understanding your brand's best loyalty members, Epsilon’s CORE AI continuously identifies new prospects who look like your best member – growing your loyalty program faster than other solutions.

There are mistakes to avoid before during and after the launch of any customer loyalty program. Not only is it important to avoid these pitfalls, but it's also critical that your program continues to evolve and the customer relationship remains fresh. If you want to convert casual customers into lifelong ones, Epsilon PeopleCloud Loyalty is designed to help you do it.

Learn More About Building a Loyalty Programme

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