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Ecommerce loyalty programs: 10 successful examples (2022)

Read an in-depth analysis of the top 10 eCommerce loyalty programs and see what loyalty features make them successful.

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Weronika Masternak
Content Manager

Best ecommerce loyalty programs blogpost cover.

You need to know that I'm not only a content marketer, but I'm also a customer. When the COVID situation came up, I started to appreciate convenient online buying processes, and if something disrupts my experience, I simply walk away. The same goes the other way — if I find something exciting in an online store, I stick with it because it makes me feel good.

I realized that every online purchase I've made so far has ended up using my loyalty card. Saving a purchase transaction and reaping additional benefits from it is very important to the customer. Also, I noticed that eCommerce websites use different mechanisms and strategies to make me buy more things, more often, and in different combinations. Admittedly, online stores proved to be creative. 

So, I decided to take a closer look at them and did some groundwork along with searching customer communities. All this is to find the top 10 eCommerce loyalty programs and determine what makes them stand out. Now you can quickly review these loyalty system features that are key to eCommerce success, and possibly yours soon.

How is the eCommerce industry changing?

The eCommerce industry grew quite rapidly and actually skyrocketed with the emergence of COVID. People had no choice but to shop online to satisfy their practical and emotional needs. The next part will be all about reliable data, so buckle up because the numbers and insights are mind-blowing.

The eCommerce industry's growth line

According to Shopify insights, around 17.8% of sales came from online purchases two years ago. That number is expected to reach 21% by 2022 and translate into $5.55 trillion. Growth seems to continue, reaching 24.5% by 2025. I think Shopify's predictions are accurate because they serve over 1,000,000 eCommerce businesses and can clearly see trends related to customer lifetime value.

Now you may be wondering how online customer visits translate into profits. Well, I dug deeper into the data provided by Global eCommerce Update 2021 and discovered that in 2020, eCommerce sales accounted for 27.6% of retail purchases worldwide, reaching an estimated $4.28 trillion. It'll come as no surprise to add that online shopping is gaining popularity, and by 2023 eCommerce will contribute over $6.5 trillion in sales, making up 22% of all global retail sales. This trend may even change if online companies start implementing eCommerce loyalty programs, which in many cases guarantee high customer retention rates.

Top three eCommerce industry trends

Until recently, stores' life and growth cycle were clear — first, you invest in a brick-and-mortar store. Then, if there's high customer demand, you can open an eCommerce store to become ever more approachable. However, conventional stores seem to be insufficient for modern consumers, especially since their operating models don't fit the three visible and strong trends I'll list below. For this reason, business owners create "pure eCommerces" that operate exclusively online from the very start.

1. Mobile commerce

mCommerce, or mobile commerce, is the buying and selling of products and services through wireless portable devices, such as smartphones or tablets. In 2018, mobile retail sales exceeded $148 billion and are still on the rise — experts predict that mCommerce sales will surpass $432 billion in 2022. Undoubtedly, customers are increasingly using mobile devices to buy goods. It's convenient and, in most cases, quicker — you can filter through everything you want without spending minutes wandering the aisles.

As people are clearly changing their mobile behaviors and are eager to make purchasing decisions with their smart devices, companies are focusing on technological advancements in this area, such as 5G wireless technology, branded shopping apps, social commerce, and customer community platforms to make the mobile shopping experience the best it can be.

2. Hyper-personalization in eCommerce

Let's start with the fact that 80% of frequent shoppers only buy from brands that personalize their experience. People like to feel that someone cares about them, and personalization can give them that feeling.

In physical stores, salespeople cannot spend too much time with one customer because it's inefficient. Worse, sometimes existing customers just don't want to be bothered and wish to be left alone in their journey. This is nothing but a missed opportunity to convince them to buy your goods, which is why an online store gives you an edge and allows you to provide a personalized experience to every customer who visits you.

When you run your own online store, you can get so much data about your shoppers to increase ROI, conversion rates, the Average Order Value (AOV), and sales. Take advantage of it! Conduct deep data mining, analyze datasets, and use artificial intelligence tools to uncover incredible insights. You truly have everything you need to track your customers' buying behavior and customize their journey.

Turning data into knowledge allows you to create a hyper-personalized customer experience. And I'm not talking about a single shopper, but a whole customer base. An eCommerce store will enable you to develop individual strategies, influence shoppers' decisions, retain existing customers, tailor your products or services to their needs, and create stronger bonds.

3. Microservices and PWA

The more prominent players know that the eCommerce industry is moving toward APIs, microservices, and progressive web applications (PWAs), and I hope you're already on to that. Microservices architecture can definitely give your online store the flexible foundation you need to grow as a business.

If you move to headless eCommerce, you can scale the front-end and back-end individually. Also, a microservice-based store is the backbone of a decentralized development process. Simply put, it's easier for your development team to cooperate and fine-tune your codebase to deliver new eCommerce features to the market. Last but not least, you can add only those microservices to your technology stack that will serve specific business purposes. No more useless functionalities and technology debt that is hard to work on.

Progressive web apps are another, but also noteworthy, eCommerce store development approach. First, you can use your PWA to hit a wide audience since they're designed to work for any user, regardless of their preferred platform. Also, you can save a lot of money and time because you don't have to create separate shopping apps for Android, iOS, and Windows 10 in addition to your online store. Another advantage of PWAs is that they're extremely fast, reducing the chances of abandoning your eCommerce and ensuring a 36% higher conversion rate than native apps.

Two pressing challenges facing eCommerce businesses

So far, so good, but with new trends come new pressures. I found two general challenges that all eCommerce managers face every day. 

1. Many one-time buyers

It's more profitable to market to previous customers than people who have never shopped with you before. However, it's still difficult to turn one-time shoppers into lifelong customers, especially if you don't have the right mix of goods or services, MarTech tools, and strategies to win them over. If you feel like you're struggling, try to find the real reason why the existing and repeat customers buy from you. And I won't deny that it requires a tremendous amount of work from professionals across multiple disciplines such as sales, customer loyalty, support, customer success, marketing, social media, data analytics, and so on.

2. Higher churn risk

It's much easier to lose a customer to a competitor online. A customer may simply move on to the following search result or read a negative purchase story in your store on a forum and exclude you from their considered options. You have to be persuasive at every customer touchpoint, and that's a costly and resource-intensive task.

Fine, I generalized a bit by listing just two eCommerce challenges here. Of course, there could be more depending on the product/service offerings, eCommerce business policies, target market, and customer group demographics or psychographics. Nevertheless, the solution to prevent customer churn and make them more loyal is almost within reach — it's called an eCommerce loyalty program.

What are the eCommerce loyalty programs?

An eCommerce loyalty program is a system designed as a seamless part of the customer journey to create a proactive community around your brand and offerings.

Loyalty programs vary and can be based on simple mechanisms related to upgrading to higher tiers, earning points, and receiving simple rewards, or those that combine multiple mechanisms at once, including gamification and gaining new achievements. Whatever components your eCommerce reward software consists of must be easy to understand and provide an enjoyable experience.

Goals of an eCommerce loyalty program 

Now that you know what the eCommerce loyalty program is, it's time to explore the most important goals and objectives of an eCommerce loyalty system, and they are:

  • Boosting customer retention rate. The eCommerce loyalty programs help you retain existing customers and keep them engaged so that they buy more and more frequently from you.
  • Driving overall sales. The eCommerce loyalty platforms are the best way to get repeat purchases from your online store visitors or attract new customers. After each interaction, they can be rewarded with discounts, cash back, freebies, coupons, or gift cards.
  • Profiling your customers. You can use online rewards programs to generate richer customer data and support other eCommerce business activities, such as personalizing content, better targeting ads, or creating future sales plans.
  • Redefining the customer buying process. The eCommerce reward solutions make people more willing to spend money because online shopping seems more seamless, well-thought-out, and tailored to them.
  • Building unique communities. Your online rewards program creates interest clubs. People can join them to get exclusive perks that are beyond the reach of others. This is known as "experience reward" and is part of VIP benefits that increases loyalty program members' lifetime value.
  • Going viral as a business at a low cost. You can easily announce a contest in your loyalty program using social media to encourage word-of-mouth and rally people around you.

Who needs an eCommerce customer loyalty program?

You need an eCommerce customer loyalty program if you're an online retailer and:

  1. Have a steady stream of orders, such as 20 or more orders per month.
  2. Operate in a niche where customers are sensitive to price changes and minor tweaks in your offerings.
  3. Operate in dynamic "red ocean" markets where many competitors want to outshine you.

If any of the above points fit you, then it's time to make a decisive business move — create a dedicated and influential customer loyalty program for your eCommerce.

Perhaps you don't know how to get started, and there's just a blank space in your head right now. No worries! Read on and learn about the ten most successful eCommerce loyalty systems to get inspired.

The top 10 examples of customer loyalty programs in eCommerce

1. Newegg's EggPoints Program

Newegg is a California-based online retailer of computer hardware and consumer electronics items. They've been in business since 2001 and have amassed a loyal customer base of over 40.2 million users who are always looking for the latest and greatest tech products.

The company has deepened its relationship with customers in 2020 by launching the EggPoints Program. This eCommerce loyalty system was designed to recognize and reward customers for what they already do on the Newegg website.

So, the average customer who joins the EggPoints Program can get more points for:

  • Actively participating in promotional events.
  • Providing feedback as a loyal customer.
  • Purchasing a product that has an EggPoints badge.
A product with the EggPoints Program badge run by Newegg.
A product with the EggPoints Program badge run by Newegg.

The rule is simple: One hundred EggPoints is equivalent to one dollar. When customers earn EggPoints through purchases, they can make one point for every pre-tax dollar spent on an eligible item. Once EggPoints are available to use, customers have 90 days to redeem them before they expire. So, as you can see, customers are motivated to be proactive and revisit to avoid losing points.

Discount after redeeming 1950 EggPoints at the Newegg online store.
Discount after redeeming 1950 EggPoints at the Newegg online store.

EggPoints are only redeemable on Newegg.com so that customers can only buy Newegg products. This is a smart move because people are motivated to purchase more things just based on Newegg's offer. In addition, loyalty program managers can easily spot patterns and products in high demand when redeeming points. They can use this knowledge to plan future campaigns, increasing the value of the shopping cart.

An example of the Newegg loyalty scheme that is based on collecting points.
An example of the Newegg loyalty scheme that is based on collecting points.

The best features of the EggPoints Program

  1. Giving a sense of control over points. Customers decide for themselves how many points they want to spend while shopping. They can be very strategic and choose when to redeem points for a more enjoyable and profitable shopping experience.
  2. Specifying the time to spend points. Well, customers can decide how many EggPoints they want to spend during their visit, but they still have 90 days after the points are available to use. A time-based incentive is an excellent mechanism to motivate the next contact with the brand.

2. FARFETCH "Access" loyalty program

FARFETCH Limited is a leading global platform for the luxury fashion industry. In 2008, FARFETCH started as an eCommerce marketplace for luxury boutiques worldwide. Today, they connect customers in more than 190 countries with items from over 50 countries and more than 1,400 of the world's top brands, boutiques, and department stores.

Their goal is to connect creators, curators, and consumers and provide a truly unique shopping experience on a single platform. With this mission in mind, FARFETCH launched their own reward loyalty program — Access — as an extension of the customer journey.

Customers can easily join the FARFETCH "Access" loyalty program via the website.
Customers can easily join the FARFETCH "Access" loyalty program via the website.

Customers can join the Access loyalty program in just three easy steps:

  1. Creating an account and providing basic personal data.
  2. Purchasing the first item. Then, customers are automatically enrolled in Access, and the amount they spend determines the tier they start on.
  3. Becoming a member and finally getting access to various membership benefits and rewards.

The loyalty program restarts every 12 months and based on customer purchases, they either upgrade or downgrade. Now, customers are divided into five tiers according to their spending, which are:

1. Bronze

The customer needs to make just one purchase, and they get:

  • A welcome reward.
  • Birthday reward.
  • Early sale access.

2. Silver

The customer needs to spend $1,200, and they get:

  • A welcome reward.
  • Birthday reward.
  • Early sale access.
  • Exclusive discounts and unique Silver offers throughout the year.
  • Free shipping for two orders.

3. Gold

The customer needs to spend $2,400, and they get:

  • A welcome reward.
  • Birthday reward.
  • Early sale access.
  • Exclusive discounts and unique Gold offers throughout the year.
  • Free shipping for four orders.

4. Platinum

The customer needs to spend $6,000, and they get:

  • A welcome reward.
  • Birthday reward.
  • Early sale access.
  • Exclusive discounts and unique Platinum offers throughout the year.
  • One year of free shipping.
  • Access to exclusive brands, collections, and pieces.
  • Priority customer care and fast routing to the expert team.
  • Extended 28-day return period.

5. Private Client

The customer needs to spend $12,000, and they get:

  • A welcome reward.
  • Birthday reward.
  • Early sale access.
  • Exclusive discounts and unique Private Client offers throughout the year.
  • One year of free shipping.
  • Access to exclusive brands, collections, and pieces.
  • Priority customer care and fast routing to the expert team.
  • Extended 28-day return period.
  • Fashion concierge that helps with shopping research.
  • Personal styling and 1:1 advice around the clock.
A mechanism for moving to the next tier in the Access, FARFETCH loyalty program.
A mechanism for moving to the next tier in the Access, FARFETCH loyalty program.

This customer loyalty program is a real treat for all fashionistas. As you can see, there are some essential benefits, and then, from tier to tier, there are even more exclusive perks.

An example of the FARFETCH "Access" loyalty scheme that is based on payment loyalty.
An example of the FARFETCH "Access" loyalty scheme that is based on payment loyalty.

The best features of the FARFETCH "Access" loyalty program

  1. Linking tiers to money spent. The nature and amount of rewards and discounts depend on customers' spending. This motivates them to keep going, as even more exclusive benefits are soon to come.
  2. Breaking down into finer tiers. FARFETCH seems to have a very diverse customer base in terms of needs and expenses, so creating that many tiers is always a good choice.

3. Flipkart Plus

Flipkart is an Indian company acquired by Walmart, making it the largest online retailer in the country. The company has its own product line called DigiFlip, featuring laptop bags, tablets, and USB flash drives. Of course, they also sell a wide range of products online, which translates to about $5 billion in revenue in 2021.

In 2018, Flipkart officially launched its own loyalty system, Flipkart Plus. It's a no-subscription fee and points-based program for regular customers, who earn points with every purchase. They can get four SuperCoins for every 100 Indian Rupees ($1.32) spent at the Flipkart store. To join the Plus Membership program, customers need to purchase goods in the last 12 months and earn 200 SuperCoins.

Flipkart Plus is a part of web and mobile shopping applications.
Flipkart Plus is a part of web and mobile shopping applications.

Then, members of the Flipkart Plus loyalty program can enjoy: 

  • Free and fast shipping.
  • Early access to significant sale events and an ever-expanding list of services.
  • A superior customer support experience.

Also, Flipkart Plus members can earn double SuperCoin, enjoy unique Flipkart Pay Later options, and benefit from ecosystem partners in travel, lifestyle, health, and fitness. Each purchase is limited to 100 coins and has a one-year expiration date.

This loyalty system has been a huge success and achieved over 100% year-on-year growth. Around 30% of Flipkart's monthly active customers are now Plus members. On top of that, members, on average, transact 5X more and have 7X higher spending than the rest of the shoppers. Currently, Flipkart issues more than 1 billion SuperCoins per month, allowing customers to enjoy various benefits. That sounds like a successful loyalty program, doesn't it?

An example of the Flipkart Plus loyalty scheme that is based on loyalty points.
An example of the Flipkart Plus loyalty scheme that is based on loyalty points.

The best features of the Flipkart Plus loyalty program

  1. Using a coin-based reward system. Turning every penny spent into more points lowers the anxiety level and gives the customer a sense that they haven't really put in the financial effort.

4. Walmart+

Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation that runs a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores in the United States. I think this brand needs no introduction. It's a world-renowned company that many businesses look up to, with revenues of $572.8 billion in 2022. Let's take a closer look at this eCommerce rewards system success story, though. 

In 2020, Walmart launched Walmart+, a membership program that brings in-store and online benefits to save time and money. The company provides their customers with pay&go mobile applications extended with lots of promotions and special offers. Members need to pay a subscription fee of $12.95/month or $98/year to receive benefits, such as:

  • Free delivery from the store and same-day receiving of goods.
  • The exact same prices on online store as in physical stores.
  • Option to schedule preferred delivery times.
  • Free shipping and no minimum order.
  • Getting select doctor's prescriptions filled for as little as $0 at more than 4,000 Walmart pharmacies.
  • Saving five cents per gallon on gas at more than 2,000 convenient locations.
  • Contact-free checkout.
  • Early access to exclusive promotions, events, deals, and new products.
Walmart+ loyalty program application is an integral part of the mobile application.
Walmart+ loyalty program application is an integral part of the mobile application.

ALT Walmart+ loyalty program application is an integral part of the mobile application.

According to Walmart data, their customers save $816 a year by getting weekly groceries with free delivery straight from the store. They also save up to $84 a year on gas by taking advantage of member pricing at Walmart, Murphy, and Sam's Club stations.

The best features of the Walmart+ loyalty program

  1. Providing a subscription-based system. Members pay the same subscription fee every time and always enjoy an amazing set of shopping and lifestyle benefits.   
  2. Giving a free 30-day trial period. Walmart's customers can become members of the loyalty system for 30 days to see if the program suits them. They can also cancel at any time without any hassle.

5. ALDO Crew

The ALDO Group is a global shoe retailer that wants to deliver a unique shopping experience and develop deeper, long-term relations with customers. ALDO has over 1,000 stores operating in 65 countries and plans to open stores in Italy, Norway, France, and Korea. However, they focused on three crucial markets: the US, UK, and Canada, when creating their loyalty program.

In 2019, the company launched the ALDO Crew, a data-driven, omnichannel loyalty program. Their first-ever eCommerce reward system needed to provide a unified commerce approach to stay on top of consumer demands.

The ALDO Crew loyalty program includes three membership tiers: Crew, Plus, and VIP. Once enrolled in the program, all customers are automatically assigned to the Crew tier. Achieving the subsequent tiers — Plus and VIP — requires spending $150-$299 and $300+ at ALDO Crew within 12 months, respectively.

ALDO Crew is based on loyalty tiers.
ALDO Crew is based on loyalty tiers.

The benefits of having a Crew tier are as follows:

  • A welcome offer upon registration. Customers receive a discount on their next purchase for the amount indicated in the welcome message.
  • The lowered threshold to receive free shipping to $50.
  • Access to Price Drops or products available at a discounted price for a limited time.
  • Access to Bundles or designated products that can be purchased together with a discount.
  • Online express checkout through My Account.
  • Birthday Treat, or a discount on the next purchase.

The higher Plus tier includes all benefits available at the Crew tier, as well:

  • The 15% Annual Reward. Customers get a 15% discount on their next purchase to be used only once in 12 months.
  • Birthday Gift, or any accessory in-store for free.
  • Special 20% discount on handbags when combined with the purchase of footwear.
  • Extended 6-month warranty against product defects.

The highest VIP tier includes all the benefits available in the Crew and Plus tiers, but also:

  • The 20% Annual Reward. Customers get a 20% discount on their next purchase to be used only once in 12 months.
  • Free shipping.
  • Access to deals and surprises.
  • Ability to share the 20% Annual Reward with up to five friends.

Joining the ALDO Crew program is very simple. Customers must provide a phone number and email address at the physical store or apply online at the website. The same is true for advancing to higher tiers. You have to be a very active customer and spend a certain sum of money to get promoted and access further perks. That's all! No small print or unnecessary fuss.

An example of the ALDO Crew loyalty scheme that is based on creating and managing tiers.
An example of the ALDO Crew loyalty scheme that is based on creating and managing tiers.
"We migrated to use Open Loyalty because it provides the business and technical flexibility needed by an enterprise-sized company like ours. With the Open Loyalty integration framework, we could match the loyalty engine with our custom needs."

Thomas Archer Bata

ALDO Group

The best features of the ALDO Crew loyalty program

  1. Providing the gift-sharing feature. Five friends of a loyalty program member can enjoy the Annual Reward together. This is the foundation of a referral program that can result in new customers.
  2. Having an individual approach to buyers. ALDO remembers its customer's birthday and celebrates this special day with them by giving special gifts. So, the whole world could drop the ball, but not ALDO.

Curious about the scenes of creating this reward system? Read the full ALDO Crew case study.

6. SHEIN Bonus Points program

SHEIN is an international B2C fast fashion eCommerce platform founded in 2008. They focus mainly on women's clothing, menswear, children's clothing, shoes, bags, and other fashion merchandise. According to Bloomberg, the brand was valued at $100 billion in April 2022. You probably know it for its affordable garments, but now it's time to find out about another element that retains customers — SHEIN Bonus Points, which are like a magnet and attract further purchases.

SHEIN Bonus Points program addressed the point earning system in a smart way, and their customers can collect them through:

  • Confirming their registration. Shoppers can earn 100 points for verifying their email addresses.
  • Buying and saving items to the wishlist. Shoppers can earn 1 point for every US dollar spent on the purchase.
  • Reviewing SHEIN products. Shoppers can earn a different number of points depending on the activities involved in leaving a review. Specifically, there are five points for a minimum text comment, 10 points for posting a photo, and two additional points for providing size information.
  • Winning outfit events, tuning in the live stream, and joining show contests. 
SHEIN shopping application.
SHEIN shopping mobile application.

When it comes to redeeming points, customers can use them to deduct up to 70% of the total price of their order. They can also use the collected points to redeem coupons during special events or game opportunities.  

An example of the SHEIN Bonus Points loyalty scheme that is based on collecting points.
An example of the SHEIN Bonus Points loyalty scheme that is based on collecting points.

The best features of the SHEIN Bonus Points loyalty program

  1. Rewarding for adding items to the wishlist. Customers can earn points not only by buying things but also by showing their personal interest. For users, it's just one more click, but for SHEIN, it's a clear indicator of customer preference. Marketing managers can use this knowledge to create retargeting ad campaigns in the next step.
  2. Providing a visual indicator of how points convert to money. SHEIN has created a clear points management center for users. Once in the app, customers can see what discount they're eligible for. SHEIN has also added a helpful reminder when points are about to expire.

7. Sephora Beauty Insider

Sephora is a retail brand with a long history in the personal care and beauty industry. The company was founded in France in 1970 and since then has over 2,700 stores in 35 countries around the world. However, it didn't stop there. They continued to grow a base of over 500 stores in the Americas and a world-class eCommerce store.

Because the company has many die-hard fans, in 2007, they created a free Beauty Insider Program in the United States and Canada that allows customers to earn points for their purchases and redeem them for rewards.

The Beauty Insider Program consists of three tiers: Insiders, VIB, and Rouge. Customers earn one Beauty Insider point for every dollar spent, and the tiers, in this case, are tied to spending.

Shoppers can move up to the Insiders tier for free, but if they want to upgrade to the VIB or Rouge tier, they must consecutively make $350 or $1,000 in purchases. So, depending on the tier, there are many benefits associated with the three areas:

  1. Savings, for example, Beauty Insider cash, seasonal saving events, free standard shipping, and points for discount events.
  2. Samples, for example, free birthday gifts, sample rewards, and exclusive gifts.
  3. Experiences, for example, point multiplier events, meet & greets, points for services, sweepstakes, and early access to products.
Beauty Insider Rewards Bazaar provided by Sephora.
Beauty Insider Rewards provided by Sephora.

Every Sephora Beauty Insider member can also access Rewards Bazaar, a special online platform where they can redeem their points for various time-limited products or sets. Members can also join the Beauty Insider Community, a mobile and desktop platform where they can find other beauty lovers looking for inspiration, answers to questions, and product recommendations.

An example of the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty scheme that is based on dynamic rewards catalog.
An example of the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty scheme that is based on dynamic rewards catalog.

The best features of the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty program

  1. Creating an awards-related event. People love to be part of something bigger, and when a brand holds a global "rewards dropping event" that everyone is invited to, they can feel the power of community.
  2. Giving a touch of surprise. The Sephora ​​Rewards Bazaar's award catalog changes every Tuesday and Thursday. This feature makes people browse through the rewards catalog more often so that no exciting opportunity slips through their fingers.

8. Alibaba's "88 VIP" membership package

According to rankings, Alibaba is the largest eCommerce company in China or maybe even the world. The annual number of active users of Alibaba Ecosystem worldwide was about 1.28 billion at the end of 2021. This makes them the most popular online shopping space in the fastest-growing eCommerce market.

In 2018, Alibaba launched the "88 VIP" premium membership package as the next tier within the 88 Membership Club, a loyalty program for Tmall and Taobao marketplace customers. This tiered loyalty program was designed to reward the most loyal customers and offer exclusive member benefits across Alibaba's commerce, entertainment, and local service ecosystems. Frankly, they've really redefined building customer loyalty with this system.

Alibaba's customers need to pay an annual membership fee of 888 yuan (about $140) to be promoted to the "88 VIP" tier. Do you think they're willing to accept such a fee? Of course, because the perks are tempting.

The "88VIP" members can enjoy top-notch services across all platforms in the Alibaba ecosystem, specifically:

  • Free same-day delivery.
  • 5% off any purchase.
  • Coupons for various products, from online groceries and drugstores to imported products and even luxury or designer goods.
88VIP loyalty program is based on a set of various perks.
88VIP loyalty program is based on a set of various perks.

Loyalty managers increase usage of the "88VIP" program by taking advantage of Singles' Day on November 11 or June 18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival and giving even greater discounts. During the 6.18 Festival, sales generated through live streams hosted by retailers increased 100% year-over-year. In addition, brands on Tmall offer special deals for 88VIPs and early access to limited editions or new products. 

What's more, the "88VIP" members are automatically enrolled in other membership programs within the Alibaba ecosystem, such as food delivery or travel booking services. They also achieve "Gold elite" status in the hotel loyalty program, making it easier for them to book a place at a budget-friendly price. The digital membership card offers access to free streaming of favorite movies, TV series, and music.

Alibaba premium "88 VIP" membership app.
Alibaba premium "88 VIP" membership app.

Alibaba has successfully created a special place with benefits that many people want to join. Miya Duan, Tmall Brand Marketing director and head of the "88VIP" program, claims that "88VIP" members spend twice as much money as other shoppers on the platform. And because they're also early adopters of new trends about six months before their official release, other consumers want to join the "88VIP" club to stay up to date and take advantage of the best prices.

The best features of Alibaba's "88VIP" loyalty program

  1. Creating a VIP program and an exquisite community. Alibaba provides customers with goods and a better lifestyle for an extra fee. The goal is to ensure that "88VIP" members enjoy the best shopping discounts, exciting content, and trusted local services.
  2. Building a tiered loyalty program. You can expand your eCommerce loyalty system vertically and horizontally, creating additional tiers to engage your customers further.

9. My Best Buy

Best Buy is an American multinational consumer electronics retailer that has become one of the biggest in the world. They sell products and services through three main channels: Retail stores, eCommerce, and call centers. Best Buy has more than 1,000 stores, employs about 100,000 people in the United States and Canada, and generated global revenue of $47.3 billion in the fiscal year 2021, with more than 90% of the company's revenue coming from the United States

The company launched the My Best Buy eCommerce rewards system to strengthen customer relationships and make their shopping experience more rewarding.

Buyers earn points for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases in an eCommerce store, retail store, or a mobile app.

My Best Buy app created by Best Buy.
My Best Buy app created by Best Buy.

Customers can achieve three levels of membership: My Best Buy, My Best Buy Elite, and My Best Buy Elite Plus. There's no fee to become a member, and customers qualify for each level based on their annual spending at Best Buy. In this case, it's $1,500 per calendar year for Elite and $3,500 per calendar year for Elite Plus.

Point rules in My Best Buy loyalty program.
Point rules in My Best Buy loyalty program.

Members participating in the My Best Buy loyalty program can enjoy such benefits as:

  • Free shipping and delivery with no minimum purchase requirements.
  • Free in-home consultation.
  • Returns and exchanges from 15 to 45 days.
  • Exclusive and member-only offers.
  • Always ready to help Geek Squad, which offers technical support, diagnostics, and other services 24/7/365.
An example of the My Best Buy loyalty scheme that is based on tiers.
An example of the My Best Buy loyalty scheme that is based on tiers.

The best features of the My Best Buy loyalty program

  1. Creating an offer exclusively for students. Best Buy has opened up to a customized group, specifically students, and offers them a membership tailored to their needs. By signing up for Student Deals, they can save on everything they need in the classroom and their dorm. Targeting a specific customer group with high shopping potential is a powerful move for any brand.
  2. Progressive Return on Purchases. Don't make your customers think: Calculate their points automatically in the mobile loyalty app and describe the outcomes. If your company requires a robust rewards policy, you need to outline it to your customers clearly. Education about your customer loyalty program is crucial to its ultimate success. Create eye-popping infographics and flowcharts that explain how your rewards system works.

10. Zappos VIP

Zappos is an online retailer that sells shoes, as well as apparel, handbags, accessories, and more. In the U.S. fashion market, Zappos ranks 200th globally with over $800 million in 2021

Customers can join Zappos VIP free loyalty program and earn VIP Points for qualifying purchases on the Zappos website or app. They can earn one point for every dollar spent.

Members can also earn VIP Points by taking part in promotional activities like writing product reviews, linking their Amazon Prime membership to their Zappos VIP membership, or participating in sales promotions that offer bonus points. Zappos VIP members can redeem their accumulated VIP Points for VIP Codes that can be used to purchase Zappos merchandise.

Reward mechanisms in the Zappos loyalty program.
Reward mechanisms in the Zappos loyalty program.

In addition to earning VIP Codes on purchases, existing customers can also enjoy several perks, such as:

  • Free expedited shipping with no minimum purchase.
  • Rapid returns and refunds. The return process starts right from the courier scanning the returned product.
An example of the Zappos VIP loyalty scheme that is based on coupons.
An example of the Zappos VIP loyalty scheme that is based on coupons.

The best features of the Zappos VIP loyalty program

  1. Creating one tier for everyone. Zappos removed tiers to build a more accessible and fulfilling program where all members are equal and receive the same top privileges.
  2. Running custom loyalty actions. Despite the regular rules of the loyalty system, Zappos organizes quick and time-limited actions, such as tripling points if an Amazon Prime account is linked to the Zappos VIP membership. In this way, Zappos never stops surprising its members and activating them.

Best loyalty program features for eCommerce businesses

These ten eCommerce loyalty programs were really something! After reviewing them carefully, I have a strong sense of what successful website customer loyalty programs have in common. Below, you'll find a list of the best loyalty features and traits for eCommerce that you should consider once you've decided on a rewards program.

Simple rules

Ensure that your eCommerce rewards solution is a no-brainer. Remember that people may be stressed about shopping online and feel anxious. Don't make it difficult for them. Keep it simple, and they'll come back for more because shopping with you will be a pure pleasure. 

Integrated into the eCommerce experience

When you create a customer loyalty program for your website, it should be tightly integrated with the overall user experience of your eCommerce. It definitely should have a similar look and feel, visual elements, and descriptions so that users think they're continuing the same journey they started in your online store. 

Mobile friendly and responsive

mCommerce is booming, and the data speaks for itself: 79% of smartphone users have made an online purchase using their mobile device in the last six months. Tailor your online rewards program to mobile users — think about their behavior and the situations in which they choose to use a mobile app instead of a retail store or desktop.

Engaging users across all channels

Your shoppers could be anywhere, so you need to think about your business in an omnichannel way. Become more approachable and think outside the box to attract new customers. Use synchronous and asynchronous communication, website, mobile channels, and be always ready to adapt, so you don't go out of the market.

Well-presented in the offline world

If your brand is purely eCommerce, think about presenting your offerings and reward program in the offline realm. People there don't even know you exist because you're only available online. Properly market your loyalty rewards system, invest in long-term advertising, and use guerrilla marketing tactics to get noticed.

Personal touch

Build a sense of community around your online rewards program. Create a place where people can not only have fun competing for prizes but also share their experiences or positive stories related to your brand.

To sum up, if you combine all these features into one eCommerce loyalty program, you increase your chances of conquering the hearts of your customers in the long run. Launch your own eCommerce reward program on your own terms and at your own pace with the Open Loyalty experts.