Before you set up your Loyalty plan and enable your account, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the components you will be working with, to aid you in your decision-making. Here is a description of these components and some frequently asked questions.
What is your objective?
When thinking about your Loyalty plan, please consider the following points, as they will affect the way you structure your tiers and redemption workflow.
The business need you are addressing will have a direct impact on the decisions you make when you set up your plan.
- If you want to increase average order value, you might want to base your tiers on high spend requirements. Additionally, you should incentivize customers to make high value purchases by making them prerequisite for earning rewards.
- If you want to drive purchase frequency, you might want to base your tiers on high number of purchases and provide vouchers that are valid for a shorter period.
- If you want to increase engagement, you might want to use the Emarsys API to track interactions on your website and offer rewards to customers who actively engage with your website.
How do you want to go live with your plan?
We offer a number of scenarios for launching your plan, depending on how confident you are with your loyalty strategy.
- "Lite" launch - You can start with a single tier and add all new members to it. As members begin to form cohorts within the tier, you can organically extend your plan by creating additional tiers.
- "Dark" launch - You can start your loyalty plan without exposing any of it to your customers while monitoring its progress. In this way, they can collect points and when you launch the plan publicly, they will already have a balance to start with.
- Gradual launch - At first, you can invite just a few thousand customers to join your plan to see their behaviour. When you are confident that the plan is working, you can extend it to larger and larger groups of contacts.
- Migration of existing loyalty plan - If you already have an active loyalty program and you want to migrate the points of your customers, you can create a full list of the members and we will help you to add them to Emarsys.
- Standard launch with contact distribution among tiers - In this scenario, we analyze the historical purchase and browse behavior of your contacts and distribute your existing customer base into tiers, either with points awarded or not.
We have different plan types and structures to cater for different business models. They ensure that the workflow for rewarding and engaging with your customers fits the underlying use cases. To understand which structure is best for your customers, there are several key questions that can help you.
Do you want to include visible points in your plan?
Having a visible balance of Loyalty points is a great incentive for customers. They will spend and interact more to reach a higher tier or earn better rewards.
However, points usually have a material value and represent a commitment on your part to redeem them. You may prefer to simply assign customers to tiers based on their behavior and not to give them a detailed insight on where they stand respective to the next tier.
Deciding on a plan type is a strategic decision that you cannot change after the first Loyalty launch. If you still want to change it, contact Emarsys Support.
The plan structure (plan settings, tiers, fixed benefits) is more flexible. You can always switch to edit mode and make changes in your next version.
Once you are ready, you can relaunch your new version with all updates.
Give your Loyalty plan a branded name that resonates with your customers and clearly describes the benefits they will receive by joining it.
Most of your customers will be familiar with online gaming and concepts such as accumulating experience, one-off seasonal benefits and leveling up. If you use a similar approach and language, you will help the adoption and increase engagement.
Points are the standard currency for Loyalty. You define how customers earn them (e.g. through spending money or engaging with your brand), and then control how they spend them.
Loyalty points belong into the following categories:
Status points - These points cannot be spent by the customer. They are accumulated during the year, and they can be calculated once a year based on the period you define for tier allocation (every 12th months from the date of joining or on the 31st of December every X years). This calculation will determine whether members retain their status for another year, or drop to the tier that corresponds according to their accumulated status points.
Alternatively, you can choose a reset period defined in months. This period starts at the moment the status points are earned.
Status points are reset to zero after each annual calculation.
- Balance points - These are the ''Points to spend" that Loyalty members see in their Wallets and can be spent for rewards. Each point earned is added to a customer's Wallet, and each point redeemed (or expired) is deducted from it.
Treat your points like currency and give them a branded name that resonates with your customers.
- How are status points calculated?
Once per year, the number of points earned in the previous 365 days is calculated for each member (On the day of tier calculation or after the defined period). This is done to check if the requirements for staying in the tier are met, which may also include a number of purchases if defined.
In case a member does not meet the requirements, they drop to the tier that corresponds to their accumulated status points. Once members accumulate enough status points (and sufficient number of purchases if required), they immediately join a higher tier, regardless of the annual calculation. In the upcoming annual calculation, the status points will be reset to zero, but members will keep their status for another year. Members always get a chance of at least of 365 days to maintain their status.
- Which scenarios do not require both types of points?
If you run a single-tier plan, the status points are irrelevant because there is no option to upgrade or downgrade customers between tiers. Since in such a scenario no annual calculation is made, point expiration depends only on your balance point settings.
- How valuable should I make my points?
In our experience, it is best to keep the value of your points low and let customers accumulate them in large numbers.
The most recommended definition is 1 point earned per $1 or €1 spent. If you run a plan that supports multiple currencies, the flexibility of the system allows you to change both values (X points earned per $/€ spent) for each currency. You have complete control over their value when you define the number of points required to redeem vouchers or benefits.
- How does point calculation work for decimals?
We award points for every full currency unit spent, we do not ignore the remainders. If the remainder is higher than 0.5, the value is rounded up and the spent currency unit gives another point. If the remainder is less than 0.5, it is not counted. We find this calculation method to be most fair to you and to your customers.
- Can I assign fractions of points per currency unit spent?
No. You can only use whole numbers for both points and currency units.
- Can I assign additional points to specific products?
Not directly. You can only assign a different rate of points on a category level.
- How does balance points expiration work?
If you have set an expiration date for balance points, Loyalty monitors when points are acquired and when they are redeemed, and makes sure that the oldest points are redeemed first. Balance points will only expire if two conditions are met: they are older than the expiration period, and no (or fewer) points have been redeemed since then.
Tiers determine the level of benefits that a customer can enjoy from your Loyalty plan.
Every plan has a starting tier which has no requirements for entry, and can have up to 10 tiers in total.
You define requirements for entry in terms of required spend and number of purchases. A minimum required spend is mandatory; a minimum number of purchases is optional. If you decide to define both, these two requirements must be fulfilled.
Customers are automatically promoted to a tier as soon as they have fulfilled the requirements for entry. They have to fulfil the yearly requirements to stay in that tier, otherwise, they drop down to the tier below.
When you set up your Loyalty plan, you must decide what to do with your existing customer base. The option you choose will depend on whether you already have data from a previous plan.
These are the annual benefits you offer in advance to your loyalty members.
All members of a tier, without any exception, are entitled to enjoy the fixed benefits defined for the specific tier. Each tier can have different fixed benefits.
What types of benefits can be defined?
- One-time voucher - This is the standard benefit type, for example, a discount voucher or free shipping on one order.
- Yearly voucher - These vouchers are valid for a calendar year (or 12 months, depending on your tier points expiration settings.
- Event reward - This is any kind of benefit that is triggered by an event in the customer's lifecycle, e.g. their birthday.
- Exclusive access - Offer your loyalty members access to areas of your website that other customers cannot see. This allows free access to all areas throughout the year.
- Custom benefit - This option allows you to enter a free description of the benefit, and you are then responsible for delivering this reward (e.g. a VIP support line).
The benefits table shows the benefits you have already defined and allows you to create new ones:
Actions are the customer-side interactions with your Loyalty plan. Your Loyalty plan is based around offering incentives to customers to take these actions, and rewarding them for doing so.
There are 5 types of actions:
- Join - This action drives your customers to join the plan and become Loyalty members. You can also set up "Join Loyalty" campaigns for specific entry points and segments.
- Purchase - This action drives your customers to their next purchase. You can delay the reward for purchases to take into account returns and cancellations.
- Engagement - This action drives your customers to engage with your brand and with your loyalty plan. By using the API, you can define any engagement on your website you want. Without the API, this is dependent on a value change in a contact data field.
- Events - No explicit action is required by the customer - you define the circumstances under which they qualify for these rewards, for example, if it is their birthday.
- Promotion - This action allows you to promote your product catalog, sales and events for a specified period. This drives the customer to purchase for extra rewards during this limited time.
A customer can only have one open Purchase action at a time. This is to help you focus on converting purchases and not to confuse the customer with constantly-changing offers. Only when the purchase is completed or expires can the customer qualify for another Purchase action.
Our system supports vouchers and helps you manage them with pools. These pools contain text-based codes to control the availability of vouchers. Points earned from purchases can be redeemed for vouchers and exclusive accesses. The reward pools in the Loyalty account are divided into the following types:
1. Cash & Discounts
- Cash voucher (e.g. $5 off)
- Discount voucher (e.g. 5% off)
2. Service & Gifts
- Service voucher (e.g. free shipping)
- Gift voucher (e.g. branded item)
3. Exclusive Access
- Exclusive access
Who is responsible for producing the codes, uploading new codes and supporting their redemption?
These are all your responsibility; we only help you to manage your pools and expose the vouchers and codes to members in their Loyalty Wallet.
What kinds of codes are required?
You can decide if you want to provide one-time or multi-use codes.
How can customers see their available vouchers?
The vouchers earned by the loyalty members are displayed in their Wallet on the Redeem screen. In addition to the earned vouchers, members can also see vouchers that are offered for points.
Please note that you cannot use any existing Emarsys voucher pool for your Loyalty plan.
Furthermore, we strongly recommend that you do not use any vouchers outside of your Loyalty plan, to focus the strategic investment of your discounts.
Clicking the Redeem button will expose the voucher code and expiration date.
The customer can copy and use the code immediately, or at any other time as long as the voucher is still valid.
What happens after using the code?
Since we cannot check if a customer has redeemed the code, after exposing the code for the first time, the voucher goes into Use mode, and disappears from the Wallet automatically when it expires.
The validation of the codes is your responsibility in your webshop. The vouchers are only shown to the Loyalty members in the Wallet.
How are the used vouchers removed from the Wallet?
Currently there are two options:
- The voucher will be removed automatically by embedding an API call that removes codes that have been redeemed on your side.
- The customer will be able to manually remove a voucher from the Wallet after using it (no API required).
Loyalty content in messages
During onboarding, Emarsys will provide you with a special content block for the Visual Content Editor. This block is an easy way to display all your Loyalty information in one place for the customer. Additionally, it is fully customizable in terms of design and content.
You can add this block to any template you like, to include Loyalty content in your marketing campaigns with minimum effort.
Loyalty content is dynamically added to the message body via Loyalty tokens, which means you can also include it in any other content blocks.
On other channels
The Loyalty personalization tokens are available in the Personalization Service, so you can include Loyalty information in any channel that is integrated with this service.