Loyalty programs? Do they really work?

Loyalty programs are a popular strategy in e-commerce, but their effectiveness is often misunderstood. While they can significantly boost your business, it's crucial to recognise that they amplify existing customer behaviour rather than creating it. Let’s delve into how loyalty programs work and how to make them truly effective for your e-commerce business.

Amplifying Existing Customer Retention

Loyalty programs excel at enhancing your current retention rate. If you have customers who regularly return to make purchases, a well-designed loyalty program can encourage them to continue doing so, increasing both their lifetime value and your repeat purchase rate. However, if you're struggling to retain customers in the first place, a loyalty program alone won't solve this issue.

Addressing Fundamental Customer Experience Issues

Before implementing a loyalty program, ensure that your basic customer experience is solid. Issues with product expectations, delivery, and the unboxing experience can deter repeat purchases. Loyalty programs cannot rectify these foundational problems.

Beyond a Generic Approach to Loyalty Programs

When creating a loyalty program, avoid the one-size-fits-all approach. Many businesses simply use a generic template from their e-commerce platform like Shopify, which often results in a lacklustre program. Customisation and integration with your brand’s unique identity are key to creating an engaging and effective loyalty program.

Integrating Loyalty Programs with Email Marketing

A successful loyalty program should be seamlessly integrated with your email marketing strategy. Utilising platforms like Klaviyo can help bring all loyalty-related notifications into one place, allowing for consistent branding, messaging, and better control over notification frequency. This integration not only enhances the customer experience but also improves your understanding of the program’s performance.

The Synergy of Email and Loyalty for Maximum Retention

Loyalty programs, when combined with a strong email marketing strategy, can significantly increase customer lifetime value and return customer rates. However, it's important to remember that these programs are tools to bolster retention, not a standalone solution for attracting repeat business.


Loyalty programs are undoubtedly powerful, but their success hinges on your existing customer retention rates and the overall customer experience you provide. They should be thoughtfully designed and well-integrated with your overall marketing strategy to unlock their full potential in boosting your business.

Consider the current state of your customer retention and overall experience. Is a loyalty program the next step for you, or are there other areas that need attention first? When you’re ready to implement a loyalty program, ensure it’s customised, integrated, and geared towards genuinely engaging your customers.