32 min read

16 Best Customer Loyalty Program Examples & Ideas

Customer loyalty program ideas are the best for retaining customers for your business.

Though loyal customers don’t appear overnight, it is still possible to be one of “those” brands.

You need time, planning, and quality to create customer loyalty.

And now, let’s have a look at the best customer loyalty program ideas and how you can implement them with effective tips!

16 Best Customer Loyalty Program Ideas with Examples That Work

We hear your question about how to increase customer loyalty and start to search for the best examples of customer loyalty program ideas.

If you feel like using a specific customer loyalty program idea, you can freely go to this idea to examine the details and its example.

1. Offer First-Time Purchase Discounts to New Customers

shopping basket full of paper bags on sale concept

You can turn new customers into loyal ones right from the start.

Offer customers a one-time discount to use in their first purchase in exchange for their email addresses. It is one of the most commonly used customer loyalty programs.

This loyalty program will help you not only retain new customers but also strengthen your future marketing activities.

How do you draw their attention to your offer?

With email popup forms! Popups can successfully grab attention and collect emails in exchange for incentives such as discounts.

Take a look at the popup examples of famous brands for inspiration.

→ The North Face

the North Face homepage with interactive above-the-fold

The North Face’s XPLR Pass program also offers customers the flexibility to choose how they redeem their rewards points, which is tailored to its customers’ lifestyles.

Customers earn loyalty points every time they make a purchase or sometimes by attending events, checking in at certain locations, or downloading the North Face app.

When redeeming the rewards, customers can use their points for unique travel experiences such as mountain climbing in Nepal.

Apart from such experiences, The North Face also offers many cool benefits for its members:

  • Early access to limited edition collections
  • Opportunity to wear test products before they are available to the public
  • Members-only product ‘field testing.’

Rather than encouraging customers to spend more and get rewards, The North Face gives out rewards that speak directly to its customers.

This kind of unique and curated experience builds up more of an emotional connection with the brand than standard product discounts.

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

While sponsoring a trip to Nepal can be too much for small businesses, the inspiration here is to know your customers well and create a royalty and rewards program specially tailored to strengthen the bonds in between.

2. Present Special Offers in Exchange for Reward Points

rewards program on laptop

Another proven tactic is launching a loyalty points program or points reward program.

Apart from your available offers open to all customers, create special offers that only members can take advantage of by exchanging loyalty points.

The critical point here is to make sure that you offer these exclusively to your loyalty rewards program members, and they can only be redeemed with points.

It’s also a game-changer to encourage the members to spend more and gain more loyalty reward points.

→ Starbucks

Starbucks reward loyalty program with the advantage

Starbucks Rewards program is perhaps one of the most popular customer loyalty programs in the world.

It is very common these days for retailers to create a mobile app and manage loyalty programs.

However, it was a new idea when Starbucks first launched Starbucks Rewards on its mobile app.

In order to collect points (or stars for Starbucks), customers need to buy coffee with the mobile app. So, how does that help Starbucks?

Starbucks achieves a gold mine of customer behavior and preferences data by having so many customers making transactions from the app.

Collected customer data include:

All this data enables the brand to offer more relevant perks and communication with the customers.

How you can use this idea for your business:

If creating a mobile app is a doable option for your store, it can be a great opportunity to collect and centralize customer data. Plus, using a royalty reward system keeps loyal customers coming back.

If not, then a capable point-of-sale system can work just as well.

3. Celebrate Customer Birthdays with Discounts/ Coupons/ Gift Cards

woman online shopping at a cafe

How many times have you seen a birthday offer exclusive to you? I assume many times because it is a common method used for customer loyalty programs and one that actually works.

It’s an easy way to keep your brand memorable and intimate. Your tailor-made gift to customers can be in many forms, including:

  • Discount coupons
  • Greeting cards
  • Offer free shipping
  • Case studies or e-books
  • Loyalty points that can only be redeemed on birthday

If you run a tiered program, you can consider giving out goodies to your top customers. They can receive it at the checkout in stores or online for their birthday.

→ Withings

Withings is a luxurious smart devices brand with a loyalty program that can create a difference, among other examples.

Since the brand tries to give all that it has, Withings pays more attention to celebrating its customers' birthdays.

Here, we find an email as an example of creating a customer loyalty program idea:

Withings birthday loyalty email

The email includes such elements as:

  • Personalized addressing
  • Showing that Withings remembers the special day
  • Providing a specific coupon code
  • Guaranteeing another purchase

By sharing and providing this data, both brands emphasize the importance of the brand, and customers feel regarded by the brand on their special day.

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

You can also use email marketing to apply for a different customer loyalty program. Your customers’ inboxes instead of your website can be your field of program.

4. Give Out Special Rewards for Referrals

a board written what our customers say and a laptop, a tablet, a calculator and a mobile phone arount the board

Referrals allow brands to draw in new customers and increase sales.

It is a loyalty program that allows your loyal customers to gain reward points by referring your brand and new customers to buy your products at a better price and reward points.

In short, it is a win-win customer loyalty program idea for small businesses to large enterprises.

So, how does it work?

All it takes is sending out a message to your loyalty members asking them to refer you to their family and friends in exchange for an exclusive discount or reward points.

The people they refer to can qualify for the same discount once they successfully sign up for the loyalty program.

You don’t have to have a proper loyalty program in place for this to work.

Just set up a program that rewards loyal customers with discount codes, coupons, and more.

The most used marketing channels for such customer loyalty programs are email marketing services and new generation popups.

→ Uber

Uber referral program with explanations

Both drivers and riders can win with the Uber referral program.

Uber's working process is highly practical to use and leads users to download the app directly.

By downloading and using the app, you put a “refer a friend” program. When people join this program, they make their friends download the app as well.

To win a referral, their friends should take the same steps as downloading and driving with Uber to their destinations.

This is a win-win campaign for the brand in terms of its customer acquisition value and the customers benefiting from discount codes that are specific to them.

The data collected are:

  • Personal customer information
  • Destinations to go
  • Payment preference
  • Satisfaction level by giving stars

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

If you want to expand the familiarity, usage, and visits of your brand, you can also locate a referral program to collect more customers and, especially, collaborate with them.

5. Leverage Free Trials

Offering free trials is one of the best customer loyalty program ideas, especially for subscription-based services or software.

The challenge with these kinds of products or services is that people can’t get first-hand experience with the product before purchasing.

Free trials are a great way to overcome these marketing challenges.

If trial customers like your product, they start paying for it, and before you know it, they become loyal.

→ Popupsmart

Popupsmart pricing free plan highlighted

Popupsmart is a SaaS company that provides free plans for their potential customers.

The first aim of the brand is to create a field for people to interact with customers and allow them to advance their marketing strategies to engage.

For the brand, the engagement level is determined by how many customers wish to use the tool and how much they are satisfied with the capabilities.

That’s how your brand can measure the effectiveness of your product and control the metrics.

The contribution of this program is:

  • Collecting customer information
  • Evaluating their intention with the product
  • Learning how people use popups to increase sales
  • Discovering if integrations and segmentation address the right audience

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

If you are a software owner, you can include free trials or plans in your pricing table. On the other hand, if you are an e-commerce company, you can provide free products to retain your customers.

6. Run a Bonus Point Campaign

cashback and rewards program on tablet screen

Bonus point campaign is also a beneficial customer loyalty program.

There are two different ways to execute a bonus campaign:

  • Promoting products or services that loyalty members can earn more reward points than usual by buying
  • Giving extra reward points to loyal customers who purchase multiple products from your store

This kind of customer loyalty program can excite customers and encourage them to earn more.

Make it more effective and profitable by strongly promoting it on social media.

Don’t forget to highlight the campaign on your website homepage and product pages as well.

Notice that it’s best to keep this campaign limited and exclusive to members so that they feel special. It can also be a great opportunity to draw more people to your customer rewards program.

→ bareMinerals

bareminerals Rewards page with rewards emphasized

The referral program of bareMinerals provides a frame.

The frame includes joining, earning points, and getting rewards at the end.

The part where it matters is the earning points because the bonus of the brand belongs here.

By earning points, the customers unlock new titles such as Topaz, Sapphire, and Diamond.

The titles encourage people to obtain new rewards in exchange for their points.

The outcomes of this program are:

  • Personal details of customers
  • Learning which products are favorite
  • Monitoring how people try to get bonus points

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

You can also use steps to unlock your customers' activities. The titles based on your industry can change, and bonus points’ references can change as well.

7. Offer Personalized Chances for Customers

a man with headphones enjoying a personalized list

Personalization is one of the best things that attract customers.

If a brand provides a personalized experience for their customers, 80% of customers will prefer the brand.

Now, let’s think about it in the sense of providing a campaign and what you need to do.

Firstly, you need to focus on your target customers, their needs, and approach.

Then, you should consider what they might like and how.

Lastly, the important thing is that the campaign should provide benefits to customers.

Because they will think that if this campaign is personalized, they need to benefit from it personally as well.

→ Spotify

Spotify homepage with sample playlists

Spotify has different ways of creating personalized customer loyalty program ideas.

It is said that the brand sends personalized products with a Spotify logo to the listeners in some specific regions.

Other than that, we suppose that the most common personalized customer loyalty program of Spotify is the Spotify Wrapped.

By considering the whole year and evaluating activities on the accounts, the brand creates personalized overviews for its users.

This helps retain customers and connect with the brand because the brand displays something they care about.

For this program’s details, the brand should:

  • Keep track of activities
  • Evaluate if the personalized playlists are listened to before
  • Control if the smart shuffle feature is activated on the account

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

Though personalization needs much more effort than any of the customer loyalty program ideas, you need to focus on personal activities and control them if your brand allows.

8. Provide a Tiered Loyalty Program

IT teacher introducting tiered loyalty program to a student

Tiered loyalty programs can increase customer follow-up.

Incentivizing customers to move up the tiers by offering attractive rewards personalized to their preferences is a must.

To apply the program as it is supposed to be:

  • Integrate gamification elements for engagement
  • Utilizing progress bars
  • Maximize interactive features.

You need to celebrate customer milestones and actively seek feedback for continuous adaptation and improvement.

To leverage customer data for insights into preferences, don’t hesitate to optimize the program for maximum impact.

→ LuisaViaRoma

LVR privilege loyalty program page

It is a sample tiered loyalty program page.

The loyalty program of LuisaViaRoma has all the details on a webpage.

By doing so, the brand wants to reveal all the opportunities that its customers may want to benefit from.

Supported by CTA buttons​​, customers who join the program can activate actions.

With the table it displays, there are the conditions and the possibilities the LVR can use to engage.

The table mentions the tiered side of the loyalty program because there are sections to overcome.

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

You can also be transparent about the process your customers need to consider and the steps they need to take. Based on their needs and chances, they can make their own choices.

9. Apply Subscription Programs for Creating a Bond

family enjoying a subscription program

Subscription programs are crucial strategies themselves.

60% of customers tend to subscribe to a brand if there is a loyalty program that they can get valuable offers.

Subscription programs create a bond by aligning with customer preferences, offering personalized services, and often including exclusive perks or discounts for subscribers.

It both ensures regular engagement and provides customers with a convenient and predictable experience.

This is a way that businesses use to establish consistent relationships with their customer base.

With subscription programs, the brands can have:

  • Retaining customers
  • Supported sense of being a customer
  • Consistent way of engaging with customers

→ United Airlines’ MileagePlus

United Airlines' MileagePlus customer loyalty program with CTA buttons

As a travel brand, the subscription program of United Airlines’ MileagePlus supports vacations, budget, and shopping of the customers.

The brand aims to show that with a basic subscription, customers can gain more than they expect.

The details are shared within sections because there are different categories to benefit from.

Besides, when it comes to what the company can get:

  • Sustainability for their presence
  • Flight details
  • Insights for destinations to use for campaigns

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

For creating advantages of loyalty programs that include subscriptions, there may be some need to do more because, as the example suggests, people have great expectations when they subscribe.

10. Display Gamified Campaigns for Engagement

group of people engaging gamified elements

Gamified loyalty programs are the best campaigns to boost engagement.

You can captivate your audience with:

Compared to other loyalty programs, gamified loyalty programs create a more memorable and positive connection between your brand and your audience.

To apply this idea, you should, of course, check the availability of your brand and act accordingly.

→ Duolingo

Duolingo homepage

Duolingo is a language-learning platform, and it uses a loyalty program for engagement.

Users earn badges as they progress in their language-learning journey, achieving milestones and completing various challenges.

The brand displays visual markers of achievement so that people pay attention to complete the levels of learning.

What the brand wants to achieve:

  • Users’ language proficiency
  • The effectiveness of steps used for teaching
  • Competitive environment to sustain

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

This is one of the easiest and most likely to achieve program ideas because most users are generally eager to engage with gamification elements. You can include them effectively to get the most out of it.

11. Create Membership System

contactless payment program, people paying with card

Membership loyalty programs encourage people to take a step toward following the brand.

To create a membership system for your brand, you can use membership website builders, which allows you to follow the members.

By using this system, you can curate a private space where members enjoy unique privileges, personalized content, and special offerings.

What you can include for this loyalty program is:

  • Premium services
  • Exclusive access to discounts
  • Community engagement
  • Special recognition of users

→ Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime membership loyalty program

Amazon pushes the limits with its Amazon Prime customer loyalty program idea and goes out of the box, unlike conventional models.

The cornerstone of its success lies in the fast, free, and efficient delivery service, elevating the brand's identity.

That is how its customers automatically contemplate the fact that Amazon Prime can provide exclusive discounts for them due to their membership ideas.

What Amazon achieves here is that it offers more than customers expect with a simple membership, including Prime Video, Amazon Music, Prime Reading, Amazon Photos, and more.

By emphasizing their loyalty program, Amazon gains:

  • More customers’ personal information
  • Invisible referral program with word-of-mouth
  • Paid sustainability
  • Students and governmental accounts
  • Monthly and annual benefits to follow

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

To use this loyalty program, you might need a good strategy because Amazon has been through a lot to succeed in this plan. Therefore, your membership loyalty program idea should need “prime” benefits depending on your business.

12. Launch Social Media Photo Contests

young woman using social media and drinking a healthy beverage

Social media contests are also visual elements that activate customers.

People love user-generated content and different types of user-generated content.

With social media contests, you need to aim to include new people and lead them to participate in your loyalty program.

You should both incentivize your potential users and show them your appreciation at the same time.

Plus, the best part of creating a loyalty program with social media is that it will contribute to your engagement and visibility at the highest level.

→ Lively

Lively social media loyalty program page with benefits

The loyalty program of Lively represents a good way of guiding customers.

For the ones who want to join their loyalty program, it shares steps, points, and rewards.

Within ways to earn rewards and points, there are social media platforms to engage and ways you can obtain benefits.

What Lively can have from this program:

  • The personal data of customers
  • The engagement on their social media accounts
  • How people react to their rewards and their actions
  • Which perks are most preferred

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

The more platforms you have to engage, the better. Since the center of this loyalty program depends on engagement on social media, you should directly share the social media campaigns that you run.

13. Make Use of VIP Loyalty Programs

a man holding a VIP card

The first thing that VIP loyalty programs create is the sense of exclusivity and personalization that they provide for their members.

The brand should lead customers to spend more time, discover new activities on the website, and earn more premium perks.

There are different ways for brands to do that properly:

  • It can provide early access to campaigns,
  • Exclusive discounts can help to encourage the program,
  • Personalized services can also be a part of customer loyalty programs.

By launching a VIP loyalty program for your customers, you offer incentives for them and strengthen your connection with them.


DSW VIP loyalty program featuring two women smiling

Designer Shoe Warehouse, or DSW, runs a traditional VIP loyalty program that rewards its customers with points for each purchase as well as ties of rewards that unlock as customers spend more.

There is no loyalty card with DSW’s loyalty program. Instead, its online system recognizes customers by name, phone number, or payment info. The challenge with such a program is that customers may forget it altogether.

So, what does DSW do to keep customers engaged in the loyalty program?

Simply, customers who forget about the loyalty program aren’t enticed to spend more and earn more. Additionally, the brand launched an email marketing campaign in 2017 to remind them about the program.

The email campaign included:

  • The required points left to get their next $10-off certificate
  • Deals customers are currently eligible for
  • A snapshot of their interactions with the brand (points they’d earned, how much they’d saved, etc.)

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

This campaign was successful because of its level of personalization. Such a loyalty program brings access to loads of customer data. DSW turned the data collection into a marketing tactic by building hyper-personalized emails rather than generic emails that rot in inboxes.

14. Benefit From Donations & Charity

preparations for donations event

Donations and charities are the roof that gathers people.

Including donations into your customer loyalty program idea, you carry your steps forward.

By considering your customers’ benefiting from your opportunities and their fulfillment of donating, you help them achieve more.

This way helps you improve your sense of responsibility, community, and shared values.

Because you promote your goodwill, you can leave a positive impact and provide opportunities to your customers.

What brands can handle with this loyalty program:

  • You will get more than you give all the time. :)

→ Yves Rocher

Yves Rocher loyalty program

Yves Rocher promotes the campaign, the Plant for Life program of the Yves Rocher Foundation.

The brand shows its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility with the Yves Rocher’s customer Loyalty program.

In addition, to display what the brand has, the transparency of the earning structure represents the $1 purchase = 1 point.

To make the program more appealing, the brand has:

  • Data insights
  • Positive impact on customers’ loyalty
  • The brand differentiation since it focuses on the environmental side

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

To be distinguished from other brands for your customer loyalty program, you should include an element to reflect the charitable side of your brand. This doesn’t have to be environmental. All non-profit actions can be included in your program.

15. Enhance Paid Customer Loyalty Program

group of people in paid loyalty program

Paid customer loyalty programs should be the ones that encourage the most.

When people pay for a loyalty program, they expect more from a loyalty program.

Therefore, only one benefit will not be enough for them probably.

So, what the paid loyalty program includes:

  • Exclusive benefits
  • Personalized rewards
  • Limited-time offers
  • Customized personal recommendations
  • Flexible recommendation options

→ Barnes & Noble

Barnes and Noble membership program page

Barnes & Noble also runs one of the loyalty program examples we need to mention.

Customers who want to join this program and become VIP members pay an annual fee.

The effectiveness of a program like this depends on how well you market it to your existing customer base.

If your brand is not recognizable, new customers may not be interested in it, so you need to concentrate on the current customer base.

Another important thing is that paid loyalty programs must include exclusive benefits to the members.

Barnes & Noble offers for the paid program:

  • Free shipping
  • 40% off hardcover bestsellers in store
  • Special birthday offers
  • Early access and discounts

Don’t forget to nudge your customer a little by using testimonials and social proof so that more can be encouraged to join the program.

Make use of social proof popups if you want to draw attention to the loyalty program on your site.

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

If you have a brand that you can form easily, then it is the right choice to apply for this program. For this program, you need to arrange your benefits based on the payment system.

16. Provide Chances for Downloading Mobile App

mobile app for travelling

Downloading mobile apps should be a part of the loyalty program to support sustainability.

For this customer loyalty program, the mobile app should have more benefits than using the brand on its website.

Since the use of a mobile app is practical, users find mobile apps more accessible and convenient to start with.

Some beneficial elements you can include are:

  • Notifications to attract customers
  • Mobile-only benefits
  • Gamification elements to include easily
  • Location-based events

If the brand has an in-store presence, the users can use mobile app to pay contactless.

→ Dutch Bro’s Coffee

Dutch Bro's coffee loyalty program page

The essence of the loyalty program of Dutch Bro’s Coffee is originated from a seamless onboarding process.

A free drink is the first benefit that users can have if they download the app.

The more when users use the app, the more points and rewards they get.

To pay contactless is another advantage

Also, the personalized elements of Dutch Bro’s Coffee are:

  • The Dutch Pass
  • Paying contactless and personally
  • Stickers to collect and show

How you can use this loyalty program idea for your business:

Your brand should have an app to apply this customer loyalty program idea. The thing is that if your brand doesn’t have a place to engage, its having an app doesn’t help. Hence, your app should contain exclusive opportunities for the users. Even, it’s better if you indulge them with the app-exclusive offers.

How Do Customer Loyalty Programs Work?

There are also types of customer loyalty programs that you can consider for the continuation of the process.

  • Points-based Customer Loyalty Program: Customers earn points for purchases that can be redeemed for discounts or rewards.
  • Tiered Customer Loyalty Program: Loyalty program with multiple tiers, offering increasing benefits as customers progress through levels.
  • Paid Customer Loyalty Program: Customers pay a fee for exclusive access to premium loyalty rewards and benefits.
  • Value Customer Loyalty Program: Your loyalty program may include charitable contributions with each customer transaction.
  • Membership/ Subscription Customer Loyalty Program: Customers pay a recurring fee for ongoing access to exclusive loyalty program perks.
  • Referral Customer Loyalty Program: Customers earn rewards for referring new customers to the business.
  • Gamified Customer Loyalty Program: The Loyalty program incorporates gamification elements like interactive popups to engage and reward customers.
  • Hybrid Customer Loyalty Program: Combined loyalty program that integrates features from multiple types to offer a versatile and engaging experience.

What Do Customers Want From a Loyalty Program?

customer loyalty program expectations of customers

Frequently Asked Questions

To improve your application of customer loyalty program ideas, there might be questions that need to be answered.

How Can I Measure the Success of My Customer Loyalty Program?

Depending on your customer loyalty program idea, there are different metrics that you should pay attention to, such as customer retention rate, repeat purchase rate, average transaction value, redemption rate, customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), engagement metrics, referral rate, churn rate, cost of acquisition vs. program costs, and social media metrics.

What Types of Businesses Benefit Most from Customer Loyalty Programs?

Most industries can use customer loyalty program ideas. The types of businesses that benefit from them are retailers, restaurants and cafes, e-commerce businesses, travel, subscription services, automotive services, beauty services, financial services, telecommunications, pet care services, and entertainment parks.

Are There Legal Considerations for Customer Loyalty Programs?

Yes. Regarding your customer loyalty programs, there are important legal considerations, such as data protection, privacy laws, terms and conditions, fair advertising, antitrust laws, mobile regulations, and international compliance. As we suggest, there may be some factors that affect the situation of your customer loyalty program, its needs, and expectations.


Offering customer loyalty programs is beneficial to get more loyal customers and keep your brand in mind.

What you need to remember is you need to provide value to your customers in order to keep them coming back.

No matter what your customer loyalty program idea is, you need to choose the one that fits best to your business.

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