As eCommerce brands gaze into the upcoming year, there’s one question they’re grappling with — how to enhance their Shopify loyalty programs and boost engagement.
That’s because most loyalty programs are doing the same thing, offering the same perks, and rewards.
But if you put the right strategies in place, there’s a lot more, and a lot different, you can do in 2024.
In this article, we bring predictions and insights that will shape customer loyalty trends in the coming year.
Read on if you want to create Shopify loyalty programs that are way ahead of your competitors loyalty programs.
5 customer loyalty trends that will shape eCommerce in 2024
Let’s take a look at some of the customer loyalty trends for eCommerce businesses:
1. Customers will look for value in loyalty programs
87% of customers say knowing they got a good deal is important to them when deciding which brand to buy from.
As the current economic state indicates an atmosphere of recession and slow down, customers are going to search for value. And the good news is that loyalty programs have a history of helping brands thrive amidst economic difficulties. That’s what happened during the Covid-19 economic downtime.
Going into 2024, it’s a good phase for your Shopify loyalty program to strengthen emotional connections with customers by offering value-focused rewards and experiences. Let’s look at some strategies to offer more value that customers are looking for:
- Create engagements beyond purchases. For example, integrate meaningful, everyday activities into the loyalty program app to maintain brand visibility and ensure it remains a prominent presence in customers’ minds
- Gamify your loyalty programs to improve engagement
- Offer loyalty points on non-transactional activities – when members aren’t spending much, these strategies help keep them connected to your brand
- Create a sense of exclusivity and sense of belonging. For example, offer early access to discounts, new collections and allow them to test products before they’re available to general customers
- Create a subscription model as subscriptions have the potential to deliver value to subscribers as well as help predict revenue
- Make customers understand the value of your loyalty program. For example, create your messaging such that it emphasizes how their loyalty enhances their purchasing power
- Offer practical suggestions to loyalty members, for example, how to redeem points, how to use cash along with points to make purchases, etc.
- Create moments of surprise and delight, recognition for customers, and highlight how you enhanced convenience via your loyalty program. In short, touch all the emotional chords
2. Take loyalty program communities to the next level
We’ve touched upon the importance of community-building for your loyalty program members in many of our earlier blogs. It has been a key customer loyalty trend for years. But consumers often get bored of regular, run-of-the-mill community experiences. Come 2024, they’re looking for more.
Let’s take the example of how Starbucks created a digital community called Odyssey to create a unique experience for their loyalty program members.
Trying out the new NFT and blockchain technology with their loyalty program, Starbucks made loyalty members access Odyssey through the Starbucks app. Customers were made to go on journeys, play interactive games, collect rewards in the form of NFTs. Loyalty customers also had access to virtual classes, merchandise, and visited Starbucks coffee farms.
What we can learn: While all brands may not be able to create NFT and crypto experiences, the idea is to make use of advanced technology. You can hook your loyal customers via tech-savvy strategies that no other eCommerce brand might think of doing.
Tips for community-building customer loyalty trends:
- Utilize all the features of your app to the maximum. Think of creative ways to use app features. Get in touch with your app technical team to explore how you could use your Shopify loyalty program app to the fullest. For example, Appstle Loyalty and Rewards app support team helps its customers with customization and personalization, so they can provide customer-centric experiences to the end customers
- Identify your most valuable loyal customers and offer them exclusive experiences by bringing them together on one platform or group. For instance, it can also be a special closed, members-only group you create on Facebook
- If your geographic reach is wider, offer rewards in different currencies, create tiers for your loyalty program, and create multiple communities. Pro tip: Keep the engagement consistent. Don’t start communities and stop them
3. Align loyalty programs with various generations
Another key customer loyalty trend is to meet your different customers differently. There are four generations that are a part of almost every eCommerce brands’ clientele — Gen Z, Millennials, Gen Z, and Baby boomers.
And they all have different preferences, needs, and habits of shopping. Some are tech savvy, some vary of eCommerce, some with low purchasing power, and so on and so forth.
And hence, it is essential to approach different customer segments based on the generation they belong to. To do so, brands have to tailor their loyalty program experiences for four different generations.
In this section, we look at each of the four generations, their preferences and how you can tweak your Shopify loyalty program to cater to them.
Here’s how to align your Shopify loyalty program with Gen Z preference:
- Provide personalized and unique experiences
- Include visual content and communication, tools like visual search, etc.
- They have no patience for slow loading sites or apps, hence ensure you use a top Shopify loyalty program app for your store
Millennials form the largest segment of the workforce and hence, are the ones who have purchasing power. They are open to spending on brands that offer value and unique experiences. For example, some factors that influence their purchase decisions are free shipping and excellent customer support. Like Gen Z, millennials too prefer brands that align with their values.
Here’s how to engage millennials in your loyalty program:
- Millennials expect quality and informative content
- They give importance to your brand and loyalty program storytelling and purpose
- Highlight your brands values and objectives
More than 54.4% of Gen X customers prefer being active in one or two loyalty programs. They Prefer a mix of in-store and mobile experiences. Engagement is an important factor for them — more than 56% say they’d like to earn points to engage with brands.
Here’s how you can engage Gen X with your Shopify loyalty programs better:
- Offer them rewards and loyalty points for various activities
- Engage them via reviews and surveys
They are the oldest generation but that doesn’t mean they aren’t into loyalty programs or technology-based experiences. However, their engagement capabilities are limited.
Here’s how you can engage them in your loyalty programs:
- Provide straightforward and simple user interfaces
- Keep things transparent, for example, loyalty program conditions
- Offer customer support help as this generation may be tech-challenged
- Offer them localized experiences
- Offer hybrid loyalty program experiences
4. Offer “phygital” experiences
Experts suggest “phygital” retail experiences — bringing technology and reality together — as an important customer loyalty trend to create opportunities to boost customer loyalty towards your brand.
For customers, the lines between physical stores/experiences and digital are blurring. They want to choose the platform — physical store, website, app — according to their preference and convenience. And they expect an uninterrupted experience across every touchpoint.
So, how can your Shopify brand ensure the best phygital experience for your loyalty program?
- Integrate a robust Shopify loyalty and rewards app in your eCommerce store. The app should allow customers to easily check products and pricing, access reward programs and gift cards, read product reviews, and make contactless payments. Moreover, they should be able to avail and use reward points in-store, on website and via app, as they please.
- An example of phygital experience is that of Netflix. The streaming platform opened a 10,000 square foot pop-up store in Los Angeles for three months. Netflix subscribers and loyal customers could walk in free, explore merchandise, enjoy immersive and interactive experiences, etc.
What we can learn: This limited time experience has a touch of FOMO – customers don’t want to miss it and it brings digital and physical together. It’s a unique and different experience for customers. Can this phygital experience be recreated for your brand and loyalty program members?
5. Combine technology with Shopify loyalty programs
Merely using a good Shopify loyalty programs app is not enough. eCommerce brands that use different types of technologies for loyalty programs will be able to provide better experiences to customers.
Incorporating technology is no longer just a customer loyalty trend; it is a given factor of eCommerce brands. Let’s look at some technologies to consider.
1. Voice assistants
Integrating voice assistants in your loyalty programs will enable customers to shop, redeem rewards, and communicate with you through voice. Since it’s hands-free and convenient, it will make customer experience faster and more enjoyable.
2. Blockchain technology
With blockchain technology, eCommerce brands can offer reliable and transparency around loyalty programs. Customers can get a complete view of their reward points, transaction history, reward offers, etc., building more trust and loyalty.
3. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Brands that use AI and ML based algorithms to understand customers’ preference and behavior will be in a better position to offer personalized loyalty experiences. Higher levels of personalization can strengthen customer loyalty.
4. Augmented and virtual reality
AR and VR technologies can help brands design immersive and experiential loyalty programs and related campaigns improving engagement opportunities. For instance, with AR, brands can allow customers to scan a product pack to access exclusive rewards and loyalty points.
5. AI writing tools
By using AI writing tools, such as ChatGPT’s capability to comprehend and respond in a human-like manner, eCommerce brands can craft engaging conversations tailored to different loyalty member segments. When customers receive personalized responses they feel more satisfied and their loyalty improves.
Sum up — which customer loyalty trends are you adapting to?
With the markets looking volatile, ever-rising eCommerce competition, an overcrowded loyalty programs market, and customer priorities shifting, it is critical for Shopify brands to think strategically around their loyalty programs.
Brands can stay ahead of competitors only by leveraging the best strategies and trends. If you’re looking to adapt any of the above strategies into your Shopify loyalty program, you will require an intuitive loyalty programs app.
The app is considered the best loyalty app for Shopify stores by thousands of merchants. It’s advanced capabilities and technologies ensure you can integrate the most tech-forward and trendy strategies into your loyalty programs.