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  • Zsuzsa Kecsmar

How to Build Loyalty in Fashion

I’m Zsuzsa Kecsmar from Antavo, a loyalty technology provider and partner of Shaw + Scott.

Based on what we see in our fashion clients, there are four main reasons retailers want to start a loyalty program or optimize their existing program:

  • Boost customer retention and sales with better data

  • Reduce customer acquisition costs Offer a better experience

  • Build a unified profile to better understand customers and personalize

Those are pretty good reasons. But there’s a lot to think about when planning the program, so here are a few tips to get started with.

Choose between “earn-and-burn” and “inner circle” loyalty programs

When starting or revamping a fashion loyalty program, first consider how you want your customers to see the program: “earn-and-burn” or “inner circle”? If your goals are mainly transactional (e.g. getting more returning customers, higher average order value, etc.), then you may benefit from having a loyalty currency: customers earn points that can be spent on rewards. This is what we call “Redemption Loyalty.”

However, if you’re going for a more VIP membership or “inner circle” feeling, you can use tiers instead of points. Rather than having customers earn points that will later run out, they can work toward earning a permanent status with your brand, making them eligible for benefits that they’ll never run out of. This makes the loyalty program about exclusivity and membership, helping you better curate the customer journey. We call this “Recognition Loyalty.”

There is so much to offer beyond discounts

Regardless of which approach you choose, there’s no doubt the focus of your program will need to be on rewards and perks. The act of redeeming rewards and taking advantage of program benefits is what transforms customer feelings toward your brand.

So, when you’re considering rewards, another important structural element of your program is how you want customers to earn their rewards. Do you want the rewards to be obvious and advertised, a-la Sephora’s Rewards Bazaar, or would you prefer to add an element of surprise?

One trend that’s really changing the game right now is “surprise and delight” loyalty. Brands are starting to reward behavior at seemingly random intervals. That’s because customers have been telling brands that they want to be surprised. Over 80% of respondents in a recent KPMG survey said they prefer surprise offers and gifts over traditional program benefits, saying these surprises are even more important than exclusivity!

Simply Be is using Antavo to power their loyalty program, using “surprise and delight” tactics to engage customers.

Fashion brands have a distinct advantage in that they can offer rewards in the form of shopping, fitting, and delivery services, above and beyond physical gifts, discounts, and experiences. The following perks typically work wonders in online and offline fashion and can be affordable reward options:

  • Extended returns

  • Express or free delivery options

  • “No questions asked” guarantees

  • Zero wait time for customer service

  • Free alterations

  • Personal shoppers

  • Priority access to products

Overall, the loyalty program should reward activities that your brand would like to see more of. Driving repeat purchases is most often the main goal, but it’s important to know that loyalty programs can do much more than simply reward purchases. Keeping that in mind will help you build a successful program that suits your business goals.

If you’d like to read more on how to reward your customers, dive deeper into Antavo's ebook. Or take the next step and start building a loyalty program of your own by contacting Shaw + Scott at +1.520.762.4842 and press option 1, or reach out through our simple contact form.


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