Women are a really important audience for loyalty programmes. It is critical that loyalty marketers consider what they really want, when designing and managing programmes and rewards. No-one can pretend that there is one solution for all women; they do, after all, make up about half the population, but there are some broad principles that our research uncovered that can help loyalty marketers get it right for this powerful audience.
It matters because women are the primary spenders in most UK households. Their power over household spend and ability to contribute to household income has grown exponentially over the years. 75% of women identify themselves as the primary shopper in the household and they are accountable for 85% of all consumer purchases. They are also rapidly increasing their spending power, with women holding more bachelor’s degrees or higher than men, and 35% of wives now earning more than their husbands, compared to just 25% in 1990 (Time).
They are also the majority of loyalty programme members in the UK. Our white paper, in partnership with YouGov “What the British think of loyalty,” uncovered that 85% of women are part of a loyalty programme compared to just 70% of men. But there are big differences in gender split by sector:
- The biggest programmes in the UK (supermarkets and beauty) are dominated by women. 74% of women are members of supermarket programmes, vs only 57% of men. The difference is even bigger in beauty, with a 40ppt differential.
- However, in other sectors, such as banking, fuel, cinemas, and airlines, men are currently the majority audience.
And they are heavily influenced by loyalty programmes.
So, how can our research help loyalty marketers get it right – engaging women better and attracting more of them? There are four big principles we have found that women want, when it comes to loyalty:
- Offer them a loyalty or engagement programme
It sounds obvious, but women are big fans of loyalty programmes; 77% think programmes are a great way for brands to reward their loyal customers and 61% actually think all brands should offer programmes. So, if you aren’t rewarding and recognising your customers, you should be.
- Help them aim for higher value rewards
Our research identified three main types of redeeming behaviour in the UK – those who save up for high value rewards, those who regularly redeem mid value rewards and those who quickly claim low value rewards. Women are in the first group; they are collectors – 41% like to collect their rewards or points to get a higher value reward. Only 14% redeem the points at the earliest opportunity on low value rewards. Loyalty Programmes need to ensure they are including higher value rewards to aim for.
- Make information about the rewards readily available
Women also want information about the rewards on offer, so they can make informed choices about what they want. 69% like to get advice before buying new things and the internet is their main source of information (69%). It’s important that programmes offer reward information online, so that women can do their research before selecting the rewards they want.
- Offer real value
Whilst they like to save up for higher value rewards, women are very savvy reward consumers. 74% always utilise available deals, promotions and rewards when shopping (compared to only 64% of men). And the main reason women join programmes is value – with 72% subscribing for access to online and instore deals, discounts and offers (vs only 54% of men). They are also big fans of partner rewards – 36% want programmes to offer compelling rewards and offers from partner brands. Those can be an easy way for programmes to offer real added value to their members are lower or even zero cost to the bottom line,
Loyalty programmes we think are getting it right: 3 case studies to inspire you.
- TK Maxx’s Treasure
TK Maxx’s Treasure loyalty programme is a great example of a programme getting it right. Treasure is a brilliant brand-aligned programme, open to all and easy to join. Every month they offer their members the chance to win high value prizes, all designed to excite and inspire. As well as unexpected giveaways, gifts and access to brilliant in-store VIP experiences. There is loads of information available online and instore and the rewards are great value to boot. Check it out at https://www.bigbrandtreasure.com/en/how-it-works.
- Paperchase: Treat Me
Paperchase’s loyalty programme is exciting because it’s all about treats; designed to delight those loyal customers with a paperchase “addiction”. Members get perks including vouchers (based on what they spend), treats on their birthday, payday perks and free greeting card treats. It’s a lovely, simple programme that really works. Check it out at: https://www.paperchase.com/en_gb/treat-me-info
- e.l.f. Beauty Squad
e.l.f’s beauty squad is an American loyalty programme, that cleverly uses points and tiering, more commonly seen in airline and hotels loyalty programmes, to engage its members. Members earn points for every purchase and there are three tiers depending on how many points you have in your account – from glow getters, to rising stars to the top tier A-Listers. Members unlock extra benefits as they move up the tiers – such as free beauty sets, or early access to the sales and the ability to earn points faster. A-Listers can even choose their own sales days, a highly sought after perk. Check it out at: https://www.elfcosmetics.com/beauty-squad/
Women are a really important and impactful audience for loyalty programmes, and it’s critical that any programme ensures it attracts, appeals to engages a female audience. There is, of course, no one size fits all solution, but there are broad principles that can help brands delight their female members. Women want brands to offer loyalty programmes programmes, the chance to earn higher value rewards, great information so they can make informed choices and real value that matters.