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How Hyatt, Starbucks, and Domino's layer their loyalty programs for a rich customer experience

Here's the BEST article we've found about the evolving landscape of loyalty. It's short, includes valuable examples, and summarizes HOW we can build a first-class loyalty system without confusing our customers. 

Retail Touch Points: A New Approach To Brand Loyalty: How To Stand Out In The Experience Age, 2018-Mar-9 by Katherine Parsons and Darren McColi of SapientRazorfish

But what is “real loyalty” and how can a brand tailor programming to catalyze it? Following our extensive proprietary research, we explored the context behind why and how the approach to loyalty is shifting, analyzing brands on the forefront of loyalty programs that garner results and distilling our findings into actionable suggestions for brands to incorporate into their own strategies.... 

Much of Hyatt’s earn/burn model is tablestakes for the category: earn points for staying within their network/partners and redeem points for discounts/free nights, etc. However, we see a slight shift in the mechanics of the program that nods to approaching loyalty more broadly. The very notion of Hyatt’s “World of Understanding” campaign seemingly speaks to the shift we need to make, from loyalty living within organizations’ programs or departments to understanding the customer and seamlessly and naturally fitting into his or her world.... 

Starbucks blends loyalty, convenience and services through product- and experience-related benefits such as customized beverages, free upgrades, members-only happy hours, seasonal “surprise and delight” offers and “jumping the line” perks....

Domino’s rewards the spending behavior they want to encourage by giving loyalty members a free pizza for every six digital orders placed totaling $10 or more. Loyalty members also are rewarded based on engagement—those who spread their love for Domino’s on social media are eligible for up to $10,000 each in store profits! 

Based on their recommendations, here are the guidelines for developing a loyalty system in our businesses. 

  1. Think of the customer as a partner in the experience.
  2. Don't structure rewards based on what it's easy for the company to provide--share rewards that mean something to the customer.
  3. Being loyal is about staying connected, which requires consistency and two-way communication channels.
  4. Loyalty is not a program, but a plan to develop and maintain interactions with our customers. It involves every member of the company, and it should have built-in flexibility. 
  5. The best customers are not the biggest spenders but the brand advocates, and they should be invited into our inner circle.