Customer loyalty programs are hugely popular in the apparel industry. From Nordstrom’s Nordy Club to Nike’s Nike Membership, the world’s top clothing brands reward existing customers and attract new ones with points, discounts, and more.
While this has been a common practice for years, the skyrocketing prevalence of social commerce is impacting what these programs look like. Nearly all North American brands say they plan to migrate eCommerce efforts to social media next year. Loyalty programs need to adapt to this new trend.
In this post, we will share an overview of customer loyalty programs and explore some of our favorites for eCommerce clothing brands.
Customer Loyalty Programs 101
On a basic level, customer loyalty programs are a subset of customer retention. They are proven to keep customers coming back and to increase customer loyalty. In fact, according to Nielsen, 84% of consumers report being more likely to stick with brands that have loyalty programs.
Benefits of customer loyalty programs:
- Greater Revenue: U.S customers who are part of loyalty programs generate 12 to 18% more revenue for retailers than those who aren’t.
- Competite Advantage: When consumers have an incentive to continue shopping with you, they are more likely to choose your brand over a competitor. Why buy mom’s Christmas gift from another brand for full price when they can purchase it from you for 10% off AND earn points towards their next purchase?!
- Easier Conversions: When a customer commits to a loyalty program, they develop a sense of commitment to the entire brand and are therefore more likely to convert than new customers.
- Customer Experience: Loyalty programs help brands get to know customers better. Analyzing member data allows brands to dive into their target customers’ shopping habits and preferences, and tailor their shopping experience accordingly.
- Customer Experience: When customers join a loyalty prgram, they feel more connected to the brand. They also feel more recognized and appreciated for their continued business. These are incentives to come back again and again!
Types of customer loyalty programs:
- Points-Based: Customers collect points every time they shop with you. As the points build up, customers exchange them for discounts, free shipping, product samples, etc. Ecommerce companies can reward customers for liking social media posts, sharing reviews, posting about the brand, and more.
- Tiered and Threshold Spending: In this model, the more loyal a customer is, the more they are rewarded. Customers aspire to reach the next level to unlock steeper discounts and more benefits.
- Fee-paying: The most traditional loyalty program, this model is evolving. Companies like Amazon Prime offer subscription-like services with customers paying monthly fees in exchange for perks like free shipping.
- Punch card: Punch cards can be physical or digital and are marked each time a customer makes a purchase. When a punch card gets filled up, the customer redeems a reward. The most commonly used model is a “buy 9, get the 10th free” approach, but punch cards can also unlock discounts or other rewards.
Top Loyalty Programs for eCommerce Clothing Brands
Now that we’ve covered the basics of customer loyalty programs, let’s look at some top examples in the eCommerce apparel space.
Online clothing retailer Revolve reigns queen of eCommerce ambassador programs. The group partners with A-list influencers who share their OOTD (outfit of the day) with millions of global followers. In 2017, WWD reported that more than 70 percent of sales at Revolve stemmed from an influencer. Given Revolve’s continued popularity, we can only imagine that figure has grown even higher in more recent years.
Revolve’s ambassador program asks influencers and content creators to share their favorite looks in exchange for cash or store credit. Once approved, ambassadors get unique links that they share with their social networks — the more they share, the more they earn.
The application is quite simple, requiring contact information and usernames for three social media accounts.
Once accepted, all an ambassador needs to do is:
- Sign up through the affiliate program link
- Add Revolve’s branded banners and shopping links to their website or blog
- Share photos, writes reviews orthwerwise spread the word about Revolve
For their efforts, ambassadors receive:
- 5% commission on all orders made from referral links
- Unique links with seven-day tracking cookies
- A product catalog with high-resolution images
- Access to new, monthly banners
- Exclusive and compelling offers
Revolve even takes some influencer partners on once-in-a-lifetime getaways to places like Thailand, Ibiza, Croatia, and Bermuda, where they photograph their clothing in the world’s most beautiful places.
If you purchase clothing or accessories on social media, you likely recognize Instagram superstar Rothy’s. Known for machine washable shoes knit out of recycled water bottles on 3D printers, Rothy’s champions sustainability and responsible manufacturing. When they launched, they sold a limited selection of women’s flats. Today, they offer men’s, women’s, and kid’s shoes, as well as accessories.
Rothy’s uses a very accessible referral program called Refer-a-Friend. The concept doesn’t require a large social media following, and customers don’t need to post about the brand. Instead, the referral program enables people to send $20 coupons to their friends for their first order. The person sending the referral also gets $20 off their next purchase. Teachers, first responders, and medical professionals are also eligible for a special discount.
A search for the #rothysinthewild hashtag brings up 48,000 results and counting, establishing Rothy’s as a social commerce contender.
LiCi Fit sells size-inclusive fitness apparel for women, specifically matching sets of leggings and sports bras. Vibrant patterns and fun collection names like Lavish, Lemon Bite and Vixen empower customers to feel their best.
A relatively new brand, LiCit Fit is already a pro at leveraging Instagram. In just a few months, they launched and scaled a highly engaged brand ambassador program. LiCi Babes generate thousands of pieces of user-generated content, tagging the brand, using hashtags, and sharing discount codes. You can find testimonials and ambassadors featured in LiCi Fit’s Instagram Highlights.
To apply to be a LiCi Babe, click here. The application asks for contact information, Instagram handle (must be public), and whether the applicant lives outside of the United States.
Another social commerce superstar, Vuori offers “premium performance apparel inspired by the active California Coast lifestyle”. Their feel-good business model — Investment in Happiness — promotes sustainability, ethical manufacturing, and community.
With more than 393,000 Instagram followers, it’s no surprise that Vuori’s customer loyalty program caters to influencers. The V1 Influencer Program recruits people who value health, happiness, creativity, and mental and physical fitness. To become part of the program, you must be a certified yoga, pilates, barre, or another fitness instructor, a professional athlete, personal trainer, or lifeguard.
Applicants provide their basic contact information, specialty, and a copy of their certification for one of the above-mentioned industries. These influencers must renew their accounts annually.
V1 community influencers receive 40% off apparel purchases, as well as access to exclusive shopping opportunities and giveaways.
Not an influencer? No problem! Vuori offers discounts to all loyal customers through their Refer a Friend program.
Faherty is a family-owned lifestyle and apparel brand. The brand’s goal is to build a new American legacy by creating high-quality, sustainably-minded favorites. As you can see on Instagram, their social media presence exudes family values and a genuine desire to make the world a better place. They support indigineous communities via philanthropy and use their platform to showcase causes they care about.
Faherty’s offers customers multiple loyalty program options.
First of all, the Faherty Perks Program provides points for purchases, product reviews, social media engagement and more. Set up your profile here.
Second, Faherty’s affiliate program that provides 8 – 13% commission on all confirmed orders, and a 17% payout for exemplary performance. Affiliates are the first to know about promotions, contests, and sales opportunities. Additionally, they have support when they need it, thanks to an in-house affiliate management team.
The affiliate application asks for basic contact information, promotion method preferences, what country your promotions will be in and what currency you’d like your payment in.
Based in the UK, Simply Be is a go-to online destination for women sizes 12-32 who love fashion. The brand’s loyalty program, Perks, is unique in that it offers personalized rewards based on each customer’s history of brand interactions instead of offering points or loyalty cards. The rewards, based on survey responses, focus on customer well-being.
Perks encourages customers to create user-generated content and rewards them with experiential rewards. Rewards cater to their preferences and are based on customer value, individual preferences and past rewards claimed. Benefits also include perks from Simply Be’s brand partners, beauty goodies, deals, and entry into competitions for VIP status at special events and exclusive giveaways.
Simply Be also has an affiliate program that offers 5% commission.
How BrandChamp Can Help
If you have a social commerce brand like those mentioned above, we can help. No matter what type of program you prefer, we will optimize it for the best results possible. In addition, we support brands with hybrid programs or multiple programs. When you explore our website, you’ll see that our all-in-one brand ambassador management platform streamlines every aspect of customer loyalty programs. From recruitment to rewards, we put it all in one easy-to-navigate place.
To launch a customer loyalty program for your brand, or to upgrade an existing program, get in touch today.