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13 Jan

Betty Ebbi John


This post originally appeared on Deluxe by Ron Bergamesca


Incorporating auctions into your loyalty program is a unique way to add competition to your rewards offering (the benefits of which are numerous). Auctions provide a fun and eye-catching way for members to use their points. And importantly, they’re risk-free. If members are outbid, their points can be credited back to them. The payoff is big for the eventual winner, and the points burn can be high, which is good for your program.

We’ve developed a formula called HEARD that guides our approach to competitive elements within our rewards platform. The HEARD system functions as a checklist of sorts. Here I’ll demonstrate how we apply it using our auctions platform as an example and, in the process, explain how to ensure your auctions are a great attention grabber and engagement motivator.

Hope: The perceived likelihood of winning.

The objective of incorporating a competitive element like auctions into your rewards program is to encourage frequent engagement and increase the demand for currency, which fosters the desirable behaviors your program aims to drive. So you have to ensure that your customers believe they can win in order to encourage as much participation as possible.

The key is to display a large quantity of auctions, ideally with several ending each day. The more auctions there are, the more chances there are to win. You can also increase your users’ optimism by displaying the upcoming auctions in addition to the active ones. This will serve as an additional reminder of the volume of auctions available. Remember – the higher the perceived likelihood of winning, the more favorable the perception of your brand.

Excitement: The level of enthusiasm and engagement.

The goal here is to inspire enough excitement to ignite a bidding frenzy. This will keep your members engaged and increase the winning bid amounts so your auctions burn more points. How do you do that? You can build hype by promoting and running your highest value auctions for longer durations. The increased exposure will help hook first-time bidders in addition to bolstering engagement amongst your veteran bidders.

Anticipation: The sense of urgency.

Anticipation goes hand in hand with excitement. Providing a diverse auction schedule with several beginning and ending throughout the day will keep the program intriguing. To supplement this, tease upcoming auctions on your site and in promotional materials for build up. You should also showcase the recently closed auctions. Their attractiveness will motivate bidders to return and play.

Also consider adding different types of auctions to encourage a sense of urgency. We feature a type of auction called Power Play, an unscheduled auction that pops up randomly throughout the day and generally lasts for only fifteen to thirty minutes. Power Plays are great anticipation builders because though they appear without notice, they occur each day and bidders will want to keep a close eye on the site in order to catch them.

Another simple way to create suspense is through your visual presentation. When an auction is nearing its end, draw attention to the countdown through size and/or color so it’s highly visible. Our countdown clocks turn red once an auction reaches the 24 hour mark. We also feature the expiring auctions at the very top of our Auctions page which is sorted by time left to bid.

Relevance: The appeal of auction items.

Relevance is directly proportional to desirability. Do your research to offer auction items that boast mass appeal based on three things: consumer market research, site activity (keyword searches, navigation and redemptions by category) and feedback (surveys, call center contacts). Quality and value are also major factors that determine the interest level in a given auction item, so ensure that your auction items are up to par.

You want your auctions to appeal to a broad audience to capture as much interest as possible.

Depth: The range and volume of auction items.

Showcase a balanced distribution of categories ranging in retail price that appeal to multiple segments of your customer base (electronics, brand name merchandise, gift cards of multiple denominations and retailers, etc). Also make sure you mix aspirational products with everyday products, an important strategy that should always guide your choice of product offering. Aspirational products are the bait and the everyday products reel them in.

Whether brand awareness, engagement, retention or redemptions are the main goal of your rewards program, try following the guidelines of HEARD for a simple way to maximize the effectiveness and potential of your competitive offering.



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