Woman tapping rewards button on phone

Reimagining an existing rewards platform

to increase user interaction and build brand loyalty.

The Ask

Our client, a Fortune 100 technology leader, had a long-established Rewards program in place that aimed to provide a valuable member experience and foster repeat engagement. The existing program wasn’t working as intended and suffered from declining engagement rates.  They sought a new approach to create a more meaningful brand loyalty experience. Members faced confusion around the program’s offerings, a lack of understanding about point accumulation, and a general dissatisfaction of the ‘transactional’ approach to reward redemption. This led members to dissociate rewards program play from the company’s brand affinity.
Our client came to Smashing to help them re-focus their current rewards program into a customer experience geared towards building deeper loyalty and ongoing use. A fresh approach to the program was sought to incentivize return engagement, increase percentage of monthly rewards redemptions, and bolster customer satisfaction.
High user engagement

Traditional rewards programs offer limited and sporadic success. We developed concepts that utilized a hybrid approach of combining critical elements of loyalty and rewards programs into a singular approach that maximized user engagement.

The Approach
We began by analyzing the differing approaches to successful rewards and loyalty programs. Traditional rewards programs are geared towards recruiting new users utilizing extrinsic motivators, and are aimed at people that have a proclivity to the acquisition of free goods and are not brand loyal. Loyalty programs, on the other hand, seek to strengthen an existing base of customers utilizing intrinsic motivators to deepen engagement, and are geared towards people that have brand devotion.
Our team of strategists and designers identified a customer experience strategy that utilized a hybrid approach of combining critical elements of loyalty and rewards programs into a singular path designed to maximize user engagement. The program was built upon members’ existing interactions, such as game play behaviors, utilization of the company’s search engine, participation with online quizzes, and more. We introduced progressive set completion, upped game mechanic complexity and usability within daily sets, and shifted the information architecture and UX to surface more intrinsic rewards. Members were now able to earn points during program activities which reinforce desired behaviors, creating a sense of value for the program.
The new Rewards program entices users to use our client’s suite of products by giving them points while searching/browsing and engaging in interactive content, such as quizzes. These points could then be used for purchasing our client’s products, gift cards, or could be converted to a donate towards a charity of their choosing. Our solution established a tiered rewards network that built a sense of exclusivity with long-term members, while encouraging new members to build status and acquire exclusive offers, allowing our client to reinforce brand meaning at every stage of the rewards journey.

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