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Cecilia Beard
Content Marketing Writer @ Yotpo
May 12th, 2022

How Loyalty Programs Solve Seasonality

Loyalty helps you make the most of on- and off-season sale cycles.

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For U.S. and UK brands, the summer sale season is about to begin while Australian businesses are beginning to hunker down for their winter sales cycle. Whether you’re a sunscreen brand prepping for fun in the summer sun or a skiwear brand dusting off your inventory for the slopes, seasonality plays into how you do business. For season-dependent brands, maximizing on-season sales is a must. But, how do you best handle off-season?

Loyalty programs help brands solve for seasonality and make the most of their on- or off-season. Brands can use programs to engage shoppers during slower months, preventing them from buying from a competitor. They can also encourage high-value members to spend more with your brand during peak seasons. According to Yotpo’s State of Brand Loyalty 2022 report, loyalty programs make the majority (60%) of global shoppers more loyal to a brand. And brand loyalty means direct communication with your top customers, increased CLTV, and lower churn rates to competitors.

And, loyalty programs are applicable across industries. Respondents in the U.S., the UK, and Australia want to participate in loyalty programs offered by brands in several categories, including Food & Beverage, Beauty, Fashion, and more.

Here’s how loyalty works to solve seasonality.

Using loyalty to deal with off-season

The off-season can be a particularly stressful time for many brands. Fewer purchases and less overall consumer engagement is one issue. But, time away from your brand also presents customers with time to look into competitors before the next on-season arrives.

Using loyalty, brands can engage with shoppers no matter the season and keep themselves top of mind. By rewarding shoppers for social follows, SMS sign-ups, and email sign-ups, you ensure your brand stays relevant. You can send out timely messages about upcoming promotions prior to your on-season’s official launch. Or, clue shoppers in on how to earn points without making a purchase. Using data from your program, you can even remind loyalty members of their existing points balance to trigger a purchase.

Off-season is also the perfect time to educate consumers on why your brand is better than competitors. Since the pandemic began, more than 65% of consumers are trying different shopping behaviors and intend to incorporate those behaviors going forward, according to research by McKinsey. Shoppers are readily switching to new brands, but loyalty programs give them a reason to stick with yours.

Loyalty members get clear value from engaging with a program — points, exclusive perks, personalized offers — and it encourages them to learn more about your competitive edge. Many brands also reward shoppers for engaging with educational content, like blog posts or recipes. This gives your brand the opportunity to get in front of shoppers and explain why your brand trumps competitors — even before the next sale cycle begins.

Baked by Melissa indulges in nontraditional holiday cheer

Brands can use loyalty to launch surprise and delight campaigns during the off-season to keep consumers engaged. Baked by Melissa, a New York City-based bakery known for its signature bite-size cupcakes, implemented rotating rewards for nontraditional holidays to spark an opportunity for gift-giving.

Their occasion-based business transformed. Customers were gifting cupcakes for traditional holidays like Mother’s Day and Christmas but also unique occasions like Friendsgiving. The result? A 110% increase in purchases per customer YOY.

Using loyalty to maximize on-season

Loyalty programs also help you make the most of peak season, as loyalty members are often brands’ highest-value shoppers. In fact, over 83% of global shoppers say belonging to a loyalty program influences their decision to buy again from a brand. During on-season, make sure you’re marketing effectively to your best customers.

Before your peak season starts, make sure you’re promoting your loyalty program effectively. On-site banners, social campaigns, emails, and SMS campaigns remind non-loyalty members of all they have waiting in store with your program. To boost sign-ups even further, consider offering instant points for joining. Upon entry, new members immediately have a reason to shop with your brand and cash in their points.

Just before on-season officially starts, send VIP members sneak previews of your upcoming launches to build excitement. This can also include exclusive access to new product drops before they officially launch. VIP members will feel excited about the new season before it even begins while showing customers how much you appreciate their loyalty.

You can also offer loyalty member-only seasonal promotional deals to boost early sales and narrow your discount offerings. Rather than offer seasonal discounts to all shoppers, make them exclusive to loyalty members or even specific VIP tiers.

Cure uses loyalty to keep things fresh

Cure is a plant-based, science-backed solution to maximize shoppers’ hydration. With the hot temperatures, summertime is often when they see their sales begin to spike. But, the brand also sees an uptick in sales around the holidays. To keep things interesting for shoppers and beat the seasonal sale cycle, the brand launches timely, engaging loyalty promotions.

“We really want to be thoughtful and strategic about what promos we’re running when,” said Hannah Bender, Senior Marketing Manager at Cure. “We’ll start the year by targeting account sign-ups. Then, we’ll do a February sales promo…and then we’ll plug a social promo. For us, it’s all about keeping that variety that keeps things even throughout the year.”

During the summer, when Cure sees a peak in their traditional sales, they focus their loyalty efforts on other business goals, like email subscriber sign-ups and social media follows. That way, when off-season comes around, shoppers are in direct communication with the brand.

Engage shoppers year-round

By creating a loyalty program that takes seasonality into account, brands can communicate directly with and increase purchases from their high-value shoppers no matter the time of year. Loyalty is the best way to stand out from the competition and keep shoppers engaged year-round. Ready to talk loyalty? Connect with one of our commerce experts.

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