How to get customers to sign up for rewards cards

24 Nov 2021

How to get more customers to sign up for your reward cards and reward programmes

Your customers have more choices than ever when it comes to making purchases. The pandemic drove the demand for online spending with a quarter of the total UK ecommerce spend in 2020 happening just on Amazon. Yet there is still a demand for bricks-and-mortar stores too. In fact, 64% of shoppers prefer to shop with companies that have an on and offline presence.

A strategic reward card and reward programme is a great way to help attract customers to your brand. It sets you apart in a crowded marketplace as a business that focuses on the customer relationship and there’s no denying that an attractive reward programme attracts customers. Research has shown that the average customer belongs to almost 15 loyalty programmes.

Studies have highlighted that customers only actively use about seven of their reward cards. This shows the importance of ensuring your reward programme remains attractive to customers beyond the joining process. Think of it as an ongoing nurturing relationship between your brand and the customer.

A business’s most loyal customers are also its most profitable. Plus, over time, regular customers become less costly to serve and they can also become what are known as ‘business builders‘, buying more, spending more, and referring more new customers.

Read on to discover our guide: How to get customers to sign up for reward cards.

Our goal with this guide is to help you understand the most effective ways to attract and retain customers, taking into account:

  • The science behind what makes a loyalty programme attractive to customers
  • How loyalty cards increase sales
  • And, how to attract customers and then retain them through a reward card scheme

let’s start from the beginning of the reward card journey…

How do loyalty cards attract customers?

From an early age, we are conditioned to behave in a reward-seeking manner. Whether as babies performing an action to receive a treat, striving at school to receive a gold star, or high performance at work in the hopes of receiving a bonus or promotion, we thrive on positive reinforcement.

This aligns with one of the major theories of motivation – the incentive theory – that postulates that human behaviour is motivated by a desire for incentives or reinforcement. According to neuroscience, rewards are even more effective than punishments when it comes to motivating action.

In other words, reward cards and rewards programmes are hard to beat when it comes to influencing how customers act. According to the incentive theory, we are hard-wired to seek out incentives as is the case with reward programmes where you make a purchase and receive a reward.

Research backs this up. Almost 95% of shoppers choose to engage with a loyalty programme because they want either something extra, a discount, or a reward. Over time, this continuous reinforcement leads to brand loyalty. 70% of loyalty programme members feel that loyalty programmes are part of their relationship with a company.

Shortly, we will be investigating how to get customers to sign up for rewards cards, but first, let’s look at the research into how loyalty cards affect a business’s bottom line.

Do loyalty cards increase sales?

When it comes to assessing whether or not loyalty cards increase sales, a quick look at the research suggests the answer is an overwhelming ‘yes’. For example:

Beyond affecting their own shopping behaviours 68% of regular customers will join a loyalty programme offering customer rewards. And, reward cards and reward programmes can also help make customers your best brand advocates; 70% of shoppers are more likely to recommend a business with a good loyalty programme.

The attraction of loyalty cards goes beyond your existing customers. Offering rewards can also be an effective way of encouraging lapsed customers to start shopping with you again.

Now that we’ve uncovered the science behind how we’re motivated by incentives and the research that shows the financial benefits of introducing rewards, let’s review how to get customers to sign up for your rewards cards and programmes.

How to get customers to sign up for rewards cards

To help attract your target customers, you must first know who they are and what they want. In a crowded marketplace with multiple brands offering multiple reward programmes, spending the time to research and truly understand your customers’ wants and desires will help you adapt yours to their needs.

Not only can this lead to increased sales (as evidenced above) but it can go some way towards increasing customer engagement and strengthening loyalty to your brand. If you overlook your customers’ needs you’ll be waving goodbye to potential sales – 21% of customers will ditch a loyalty program if it doesn’t offer relevant customer rewards and 87% of shoppers are happy for brands to monitor their activity if it results in more personalised rewards.

So, how can you ensure that you develop a customer-centric strategy for your reward programmes? Beyond undertaking your own customer research, a number of studies (highlighted below) have addressed customer needs in relation to sustainable loyalty.

Adopting some or all of the following techniques will help attract and retain customers to your loyalty programme.

Make it easy for them to join

56% of shoppers choose one loyalty programme over another if it’s easier to use. This number increases when you look at millennials with 69% saying that they think loyalty schemes are too hard to join

The good news is that if you can create an easy-to-join rewards programme, you’ll be fishing in a much bigger customer pool as 75% of consumers will switch brands for a better loyalty programme.

Assess each step of the customer journey and consider ways in which you can make it more seamless and more intuitive. Remove complicated or unnecessary steps – anything that could potentially give a customer an excuse to give up and shop elsewhere. This includes asking customers to only input data that you absolutely need to process their reward programme membership. Although it can be tempting to mine for additional data during the joining process, keep in mind that from a customer point of view – simpler is better.

One way to make your reward programme more attractive to prospective customers is to introduce new and easier ways of interacting with the scheme. For example, 75% of customers would engage more with a reward programme if it was accessible on a smartphone, and 95% of shoppers are keen to engage with new and emerging technology such as augmented reality, chatbots, and virtual reality.

Once you’ve simplified your rewards programme, be sure to communicate this to new and existing customers. As well as highlighting the benefits of your loyalty scheme, reinforcing how easy it is to join could be a deciding factor when customers are choosing between rival loyalty programmes.

Offer an immediate reward

Another way to encourage customers to sign up for rewards cards is to offer a welcome incentive simply for joining. It’s the same reason why many gyms offer new customers ‘zero joining fee’ offers to entice them to sign on the dotted line.

It could be as simple as offering free delivery on their next order or double points on their next purchase. Think of it as a way of dangling a carrot under their nose offering them an instant reward that they will benefit from straight away.

Simplify the rewards process

Having to wait ages for a reward is the biggest turn off for customers. In an age of next-day – or even same-day – delivery, loyalty programme members expect instant access to their rewards.

63% of shoppers expect their rewards to arrive within one to three days and generation Z customers are particularly attracted to loyalty programmes that offer instant gratification.

That’s why digital rewards delivered directly to your members’ smartphones are ever-popular as they create an immediate connection between the incentive and the action completed.

On a similar note, if it takes an age for customers to accumulate points to redeem for rewards, they’re highly likely to simply give up. In fact, 70% of shoppers will abandon a rewards programme if it takes over six months to earn enough points to get a reward.

Customers want choice

Even the most enticing reward will become less attractive over time if it’s the only option available. That’s why no less than 80% of customers prefer rewards programmes that offer surprise gifts and rewards such as digital rewards and gift cards.

When it comes to rewards that offer maximum variety One4all gift cards are in pole position as they let your customers control their reward experience. Redeemable with more than 150 leading brands such as Primark, John Lewis, and Boots, this multi-retailer gift card lets customers choose items in-store and online.

And let’s not forget the 29% of customers who want rewards to be more interesting. That explains the popularity of our Envy Experience packages, which include a memorable range of over 5,000 family days out, short breaks, and spa sessions. As interesting rewards go, they’re hard to beat.

Customers want the best

  • We issue 775 million rewards cards every year
  • We fulfill $4 billion worth of rewards each year
  • We operate in 28 countries with over 37,000 partners
  • We can customise rewards with your brand and logo
  • And, we can deliver rewards to individuals or in bulk orders

From digital rewards and gift cards to prepaid cards and exclusive gift cards, we’ve got reward programmes covered.

So, if you’re looking for a trusted customer rewards partner, we’d love to hear from you.

To maximise your customer rewards programme with Blackhawk Network, get in touch today on 020 4517 5862.

Contact a Rewards Expert Today