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What can the third sector learn from e-commerce about rewards & loyalty?

As brands emerge from lockdown, marketing plans will look quite different to what they were at the start of the year. As you try and anticipate what lies ahead and what should be in your marketing toolkit, don’t forget rewards and loyalty.

Savvy retail and e-commerce brands that are already on board with rewards and loyalty programmes will be looking for ways to include them in the marketing mix – sometimes alongside promotional marketing – to help facilitate recovery and boost business resilience.

Third sector organisations – from mental health charities to the nation’s beloved art galleries and zoos – could also consider opportunities for using rewards and loyalty. While it’s traditionally a retail and e-commerce channel, it can be used in a charity or non-profit setting. With charities estimated to lose a quarter of their income in the coming year, it’s time to get creative.

People love rewards and loyalty programmes

An influential survey by YouGov and Mando-Connect found that British consumers really do like to be rewarded for their loyalty. A whopping 77% said they are members of at least one loyalty programme and 59% think all brands should offer a loyalty programme. Despite being over a year old, as the largest ever study into what the British think of brand loyalty, it’s highly relevant.

In our experience of working with different brands to design and manage rewards and loyalty programmes:

  • Consumers like to feel appreciated and really value the little extras that come their way from their favourite brands.
  • Rewards enrich the brand-consumer relationship – it becomes a personal and more emotional connection.

There’s no reason why a rewards and loyalty programme can’t be made to support fundraising in the same way it supports e-commerce profits, even for charities that rely on footfall.

Rewards and loyalty programmes pay for themselves – and make a profit

One of the most compelling facts about rewards and loyalty programmes is that they pay for themselves and, handled correctly, can directly make or facilitate profit. Data we collect from rewards and loyalty programmes shows us very clearly that offering something of value means you can also ask for more money and, if it’s a gift or experience your demographic values, they are happy to pay more.

When you apply this thinking to fundraising, it’s an ideal opportunity. But it’s critically important to work with an experienced fulfilment partner that can make the numbers work out. They will also be able to help you plan your programme and get the most from it.

What adds value?

Creativity is key. So, you might tie your programme into a monthly subscription or a virtual experience, for example. The data from your loyalty and rewards programme will also let you know what your customers or supporters like, what works for them, what they want more of. This business intelligence can help you provide even deeper, better value and meaningful relationships with them over time.

Examples of third sector rewards and loyalty programmes

  • Sending something in the post to say ‘thank you’ for taking part, donating, Gift Aiding, or being a subscribing member for a period of time.
  • A monthly subscription package – like an educational pack for kids – with real added value that still helps you make a profit as well as strengthening the brand connection.
  • Accruing points at point of sale or offering a discount voucher towards a next purchase.
  • A VIP loyalty programme where members are offered discounts and/or premium products.
  • Exclusive brand experiences as part of a VIP programme where ‘money can’t buy rewards’.
  • Gamification that helps build engagement and a sense of inclusion and gets feedback – this could be used to great effect at the start of a virtual tour.

Pro tips for your rewards and loyalty programme

  • Manage rewards online. This is very cost effective, preferred by consumers and easy to manage
  • Use a fulfilment system like SCOPe, which gives real time data and the ability to manage a complex supply chain
  • Engage a partner agency to manage your programme. Rewards are so popular that you probably won’t have the resource, let alone the experience, to manage the demand yourselves.
  • Use your rewards data to add value to your programme over time and improve your overall marketing plans.

What’s your next step?

Speak to an experienced loyalty fulfilment partner like Granby. We will talk you through the benefits for your third sector organisation and explain in detail how we’ll do it, from concept to reporting.

Photo by Una Laurencic from Pexels

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Think we could be the partner for you and are interested in working together? Call us or fill in the contact form and we will get the ball rolling!