Why We Love Experiential Rewards in 2019

by Rachel Novosad |

Why We Love Experiential Rewards in 2019

These days, the best customer loyalty programs go way beyond the scope of the traditional points-for-purchase model. In fact, savvy customers often approach loyalty programs with skepticism, that perhaps rewards are a little too good to be true. It’s all about how you approach the program and what you plan to get out of it. That is where experiential rewards come into play.

To truly incentivize customers, grow brand love and stand out from the crowd, brands are thinking outside of the box by incorporating rewards outside of the norm. Instead of just rewarding customers with basic monetary perks like free shipping, coupons, or free gifts with a purchase; companies are finding success in creativity by curating rewards with unique value-adds such as trips, event tickets, exclusive access, and more.

Positive Experiential Rewards = Loyalty

Think about the name loyalty program. In general, the concept of loyalty has another layer to it. Loyalty means that a bond forms between people, or between customers and brands when there’s an emotional tie involved. And usually, the way we feel about another person or brand, largely determines how we act in relation to them. Brands that channel this, using experiences that go above and beyond for its customers, can establish long-term emotional loyalty. Because if they treat us as consumers with respect, we’ll in-turn respect the brand and spend more.

Experiential rewards go past the dollar savings and provide a much higher value by improving the overall customer experience, allowing you to build deeper relationships with your customers. A positive consumer experience in any industry is what keeps customers coming back for more. By creating a meaningful connection between people and your brand, you’re incentivizing them to choose yours over another.

MIT Sloan Management Review found that consumers who participate in top loyalty programs are 80% more likely to choose that brand over its competitors and two times more likely to recommend it to others. Loyalty can’t just be bought anymore. It comes at a premium with brands competing over who delivers the best product and the best experience.

Brands That Got It Right

SugarfinaInside Sugarfina's Sweet Loyalty Program

Sugarfina is another company that manages to provide unique benefits to loyal customers, while staying on brand. Candy of the month, exclusive events, and in-store parties are a few “sweet rewards” they offer. As one of our favorite clients, Sugarfina is continuing to dish out some awesome incentives in 2019.


Sephora has done a fantastic job of building out a loyalty program that keeps their customers engaged year after year. Through their Beauty Insider Loyalty Program, customers earn points based on money spent that not only can be used for transactional rewards (e.g. free add-on products), but also qualify them to tiered status levels like Insider, VIB and VIB Rouge. At the top level, VIB Rouge, customers enjoy access to exclusive events, free in-store makeovers, frequent discounts, early access to new products and more. Not only that, but by adding immersive events like Sephoria: House of Beauty, they’re dominating customer experience.

The North FaceExperiential Rewards

The North Face has nailed down its loyalty program by providing its customers the most tailored rewards for their lifestyles. With their VIPeak program, customers earn points through traditional methods as well as through less traditional ways like: attending events, checking in at certain locations, downloading the company’s app, etc. Where The North Face really shines is in the redemption choices they offer. Customers can use their points toward unique travel adventures like mountain climbing in Nepal or excursions in Alaska.

Designing a loyalty program specifically for your audience is a surefire way of pleasing your customers. Especially if you’re consistently trying to further identify their needs.

The M Word: Millennials

According to a report by The Brookings Institute, Millennials are growing to represent more of the decision-maker population. They are going from 1/3 of adult Americans by 2020 to 75% of the workforce by 2025.

And with that, brands are finding it increasingly important to shift their marketing strategies to focus on millennial inclinations. According to the same report, 72% of millennials choose to spend money on experiences over products. This concludes that millennials weigh value not by monetary cost but by how priceless an experience is.

Experiential rewards have an ethos attached to them, creating a much more powerful memory than a discount or free tote bag alone. What it really comes down to is that when you give a customer a good experience, you create an emotional tie that connects the person to the brand. Tailored, unique rewards make customers feel important.

What Now?

Whether you’re trying to build enthusiasm around a new loyalty program or expand participation in an existing one, our advanced loyalty incentive and recruitment strategies will get your customers engaged. It’s important to track effectiveness of reward offerings based on pre-established KPIs. That of course can be done on our platform with its great A/B testing capabilities.

Annex Cloud knows successful programs aren’t one-size-fits all. Different reward structures and incentives can accomplish different goals, so your customer success manager will help you design a strategy that fits your brand. Contact us today to request a demo and see how Annex Cloud can help you maximize your customer loyalty program.

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