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13 Jan

Habiba Fouad

Senior Executive Search Consultant

This post originally appeared on Deluxe by Ron Bergamesca


While a well-rounded rewards program should include multiple and varied engagement and redemption categories as i highlighted in my Essential Elements of a Best-in-Class Loyalty Program blog last month. It’s the quality and type of merchandise content that often creates the critically important first impression of your program.

Loyalty Progam Elements Today we’ll talk about the criteria the product assortment (or content) in your rewards program should meet in order to maximize the perceived value and effectiveness of your merchandise content.

Aspirational merchandise sets the hook

In previous blogs, I stressed the importance of having aspirational content that hooks people in and everyday content that drives frequent engagement.

With a category as broad as merchandise, you have the opportunity to achieve both. In terms of merchandise, aspirational content refers to the highly sought after, top tier brands that speak to exclusivity. Offering up these brands as redemption options will lead to a high value impression of your program.

Though high-end merchandise may not be redeemed often because it typically requires more points to obtain and usually consists of luxury items, it’s the type of merchandise that garners a lot of attention. This is your special occasion/giftable/splurge item – the type you brag to a friend about getting because it’s so special.

Aspirational merchandise is also a great points-earning motivator because it generally requires a higher points balance. So it acts as a trigger for members to increase the frequency of their points-earning behaviors (the pre-determined actions that earn members more points while profiting your institution) in anticipation of redeeming an item in this points range.

Everyday products drive frequency

It’s the more practical merchandise that drives frequent engagement with your program.

This is the low hanging fruit of your product assortment because it require less points to redeem and is generally made up of the more common items that people frequently search for. You want your members to look to your site first when shopping for items they were looking to buy anyway. This will go a long way in achieving repeat visits and repeat redemptions – a goal of every loyalty program.

Including high-end products and everyday products within diverse merchandise categories is key to establishing your program website as a destination site. From apparel to home goods, electronics to magazines, maintaining a broad assortment of products will help your program appeal to a wide cross-section of your member base.

Offering meaningful products at both ends of the spectrum and across various categories will increase the value of your program. The more real world value your program has, the more positive connections will be built with your institution.

Exclusivity creates desire

All of this is bolstered by one important element – the exclusivity factor. Members-only means limited access.

Your account holders must feel like they’re getting a special deal when they redeem their points – an offer, tantamount to real savings, that they can only access through association with your financial institution. So they’ll not only have reason to frequent your rewards site, they’ll have an improved perception of the benefits of their program membership and their association with your institution.

The members-only aspect also fuels their need to continuously earn points via your predetermined earn behaviors in order to take advantage of your exclusive offers.

This is the overall goal of your rewards program and a robust merchandise offering will play a significant role in helping you achieve it.


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