Have you ever heard someone say it’s easier to resell to existing customers than it is to get new customers? There’s a lot of truth in that, and I’m sure you could point out some repeat purchases or favorite brands that you go back to again and again. One of the reasons you might favor a specific brand could be its retail loyalty programs. These customer loyalty programs come in different styles with varying perk levels. The one thing they all have in common is their ability to make you feel like a VALUED customer. Who doesn’t want to feel important?
What exactly are retail loyalty programs?
Retail loyalty programs are a marketing tool retailers use to encourage repeat purchases. Customer loyalty programs reward loyal customers with perks. Some perks include cash back with loyalty cards issued by the brand. Other perks involve loyalty points that translate into discounts or prizes, free shipping offers, and consistent discounts.
Loyalty members feel special as these reward programs set them apart from other shoppers. Most customer loyalty programs even have tiers in which your benefits get progressively better as you spend more on products. Having all these perks means more convenience for you as a customer, and it implies customer retention for a brand. It sounds like a win-win situation to me!
Top 16 Retail Loyalty Programs
Now that you know loyalty to a brand actually pays, we will walk you through the top 15 retail loyalty programs on the market today. These reward programs stretch across multiple industries, including, but not limited to, groceries, clothing, beauty, outdoor recreation, housewares, etc.
As a self-proclaimed loyal customer of Amazon, I can say that I buy most of my things from them. Need a new lamp? Look to Amazon. New dress? Amazon again. New toolkit? Yup, Amazon has it. There is not much that this online shopping giant does not offer. I’m sure that most of you can relate to this because Amazon has quickly risen to become one of the biggest shopping empires in the world. The online retailer has also made its CEO the richest man in the world.
With over 197 million people frequenting Amazon every month, it’s an unavoidable truth of life today. Amazon Prime, the company’s flagship customer loyalty program, has 105 million customers enrolled.
The main reward for Amazon Prime members is free two-day shipping all over the U.S. and even same-day or two-hour delivery in certain areas. You pay $119 per year (or $59 if you’re a student.) Other Prime perks include unlimited movie and TV streaming, reading, music streaming, and free photo storage.
Sephora Beauty Insider
Anyone interested in makeup, skincare, and perfumes has probably heard of or shopped at Sephora in their lifetime. Sephora is one of the two largest beauty retailers in the United States after Ulta Beauty.
Sephora’s loyalty program, known as Beauty Insider, is a three-tiered program with levels called Insider, Very Important Insider (VIB), and Rouge. Each of these tiers offers progressively more rewards, and advancement is based on the total dollar amount spent per year.
Insiders receive one point per dollar, and these reward points can be used to redeem samples, etc. Insiders also receive two choices from birthday presents. There is no spending limit to become an Insider, and you can sign up for free.
If you spend $350 in a calendar year, you advance to their VIB tier. This tier offers 1.25 points per dollar. You also get access to full-size products in their rewards bazaar, where you can spend your points. You get four choices for your birthday gift and three options for your tier celebration gift when you enter.
Spending $1,000 in a year on Sephora will allow you to progress and become a Rouge member. This topmost tier offers 1.5 points per dollar spent. You also get free standard shipping and access to exclusive events and early releases. Rouge members can also swap out 2,500 points to receive a $100 Rouge reward.
Ultamate Rewards Program
Ulta Beauty is the other top beauty brand in the U.S. that offers a wide range of cosmetic products and hair care. Ultimate Rewards is Ulta’s way of increasing customer engagement and thanking loyal customers. Their system is divided into three tiers: Member, Platinum, and Diamond.
Anyone can become a member for free, and this allows them to earn one point per dollar. Points at Ulta directly translate to dollar savings and discounts on future purchases. As a member, you can receive a free birthday gift. Additionally, all purchases made in your birthday month will get you two times the number of points as you usually would receive.
Upon spending $450 in a year, you advance to their Platinum level, which allows you to earn 1.25 points per dollar. You are also entitled to a $10 birthday coupon, and your Ulta points will never expire.
Spend $1,200, and you will be considered a Diamond member at Ulta. This level comes with 1.5 points per dollar spent and additional perks like free shipping on orders of $25 and an annual $25 beauty services gift card.
Here are what points at Ulta translate to in terms of dollars:
- 100 points = $3 discount
- 250 points = $8 discount
- 500 points = $17.5 discount
- 750 points = $30 discount
- 1000 points = $50 discount
- 2000 points = $125 discount
Starbucks is basically an American neighborhood staple at this point. Almost everyone has sipped one of their coffee blends or nibbled on one of their sandwiches. However, I bet you didn’t know that Starbucks has an excellent rewards program for its loyal members.
Starbucks rewards members earn stars for every purchase they make, and they can then use stars toward more purchases. You can get two stars for every dollar spent on a registered Starbucks gift card or their app. If you collect 50 stars, you can get a free hot coffee, tea, or bakery item. Going all the way up to 400 stars can even get you a signature Starbucks cup or a bag of coffee to take home. All you have to do is to sign up here.
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From every day groceries to trendy clothing, Target has your back. If you’re one of those people who walk into Target to buy a gallon of milk and walk out with a million other items, then their new customer loyalty program will be your best friend.
This program rolls out on Oct. 6 and requires no membership fees. You get 1 percent back on every purchase you make. You can keep accumulating that to use as a discount for future purchases. You will also receive a birthday gift each year. Target hasn’t revealed what it will be yet, but we’re sure it will be something impressive.
DSW VIP Program
Designer Shoe Warehouse, or DSW, as it is often referred to, is a one-stop-shop for all your footwear needs. Their VIP program is based on a point system and is divided into three tiers based on the amount of money spent in a year.
The first tier is called Club, and it only requires you to sign up for their VIP program. You can earn one point per dollar spent on each eligible purchase, and you can also get free four- to seven-day shipping. Being a Club member also comes with a $5 gift card on your birthday.
Their second tier is known as Gold, and you need to spend $200 to be a part of it. Along with all the Club member benefits, as a Gold member, you can choose two days a year when you earn double points for your purchases. You also get free return shipping for up to 60 days.
The third and final tier, “Elite,” requires you to spend $500 in a year. Incremental rewards include the ability to choose one day in the year when you get three points per dollar, free two-day shipping, and a $10 birthday gift card.
REI Co-op membership
If you’re an outdoorsy person, then you probably know what REI is. Recreational Equipment, Inc., or REI, serves all your outdoor needs by providing items such as tents, bicycles, and more.
Joining REI’s co-op membership program requires a one-time payment of $20. Members enjoy 10 percent cash back on all their purchases and access to special pricing for vacation rentals and tours. The program also includes member-only events such as garage sales and local social events with fellow adventure lovers. You can sign up for the program here.
Whether you need a quick flu shot or need to grab some last-minute eyeliner, CVS has got you covered. The pharmacy chain offers a wide range of products, so it is no secret that its loyalty program knocks the ball out of the park. CVS offers a shopping loyalty card that you can use to get 2 percent back in ExtraBucks rewards with every purchase.
Being an ExtraCare member also enables you to access unique loyalty points and discounts via emails and store newsletter alerts.
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Whether they’re sports lovers or not, most people know about Lululemon and their top-quality leggings. Lululemon’s new loyalty program is currently limited in geographical scope, but it is rapidly expanding across the United States and Canada.
At $128 a year, Lululemon’s retail loyalty program offers a free pair of leggings or shorts. It also offers free expedited shipping on all orders and access to exclusive events such as workout classes and store openings.
This sportswear and athletic shoe brand offers perks, such as member-exclusive products. The loyalty program also offers access to personalized workout routines and training plans and priority access to sports events in your area.
As a Nike Plus member, you would also be privy to early access to their latest releases. You will also be able to reserve your favorite pieces in your size.
This retail clothing giant offers a customer loyalty program known as The Nordy Club. The club is free to join, and you earn one point per dollar spent. Being a member allows you access to special discounts and services such as curbside pickup, exclusive access to beauty workshops, and much more.
Here’s how their point system translates to dollar savings:
- 500 points = $5
- 1000 points = $10
- 1500 points = $15
- 2000 points = $20
The Nordy Club also offers four loyalty tiers, and your benefits advance as you climb up the ranks.
The first tier is the Member tier. Spending $0 to $499 entitles you to be part of this tier. It gives you first shopping privileges at particular brands, access to beauty and style workshops, free basic alterations, and curbside pickup.
Once you spend $500, you are a part of their Insider tier, which includes additional perks like being the first to shop Clear the Rack. Insiders also receive one personal double-points day when each dollar spent counts as two points.
Spending $2,000 in a year will bump you up to Influencer status and get you access to incremental benefits. Some benefits include two personal double-points days and priority access to Style events!
To get into The Nordy Club’s topmost tier, you need to spend $5,000 in a year. Becoming an “Ambassador” comes with perks like three personal double-points days, an in-home Nordstrom stylist, and access to invite-only fashion events.
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Bed Bath & Beyond +
Many people wander into a Bed Bath & Beyond store and find themselves leaving with hundreds of dollars’ worth of new bedsheets and bathroom accessories. While this retailer usually offers some pretty decent coupons, it is worthwhile to consider their customer loyalty program known as Beyond +.
Beyond + offers 20 percent off your purchase and free shipping for just $29 a year. This program is an absolute steal, considering how often some homeowners rush to Bed Bath and Beyond.
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Office Depot Office Max Rewards
Regardless of whether you work in a traditional office setting or a relaxed home-based space, you need some sort of office supplies to keep you productive. Office Depot is your go-to place for all kinds of office supplies ranging from simple copy paper to computers and printers. Enrolling in the Office Depot Office Max Rewards program is also an excellent idea for any small business owner.
The rewards program is divided into two levels: Members and VIP Members.
Members receive 2 percent back on their purchases. They also get access to members-only savings and rewards for repeat purchases such as ink cartridges.
When you spend more than $500 in a calendar year, you move up to their VIP membership. VIPs get 5 percent back in rewards and free shipping on all orders.
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Barnes and Noble
For only $25 a year, Barnes and Noble’s membership program is a steal for book lovers everywhere. The membership offers 40 percent off list price on all hardcover bestsellers and 10 percent off the B&N price of almost everything else. It also includes free express shipping on all orders. Additionally, you will be privy to special members-only offers and discounts throughout the year via email.
This department store is a wealth of treasures in terms of clothing, shoes, cosmetics, jewelry, handbags, and more. A JCPenney store is pretty much a staple for every city in America. Thus, enrolling in their customer reward program might be a worthy investment.
Their rewards program offers one point for every dollar spent with your JCPenney credit card and $2 spent with any other method of payment. Two-hundred points translate to $10 worth of rewards, and you also get a special birthday gift.
Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards
Kohl’s offers a free-to-enter loyalty program that entitles members to earn one point for every dollar they spend. Once you collect 100 points, you receive a $5 reward that month to thank you for your engagement with the brand. You also receive a special birthday gift and access to bonus point events. At these events, you can grow your points much faster than their usual one point to $1 ratio.
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The Right Program For You
With all these excellent retail loyalty programs on the market, we know that it can get a bit overwhelming and confusing. However, always remember that the best loyalty program for YOU may not be the same one that is ideal for your neighbor or even your mom. Choose a program associated with a retailer whose brand philosophy you genuinely appreciate. Also, look for retailers where you see yourself potentially spending a lot of money.
Comment below and let us know what loyalty programs are your absolute favorites and why.