Tiered Loyalty Programs Demystified: Answering Retailers' FAQs

As retailers strive to build and maintain a loyal customer base, tiered loyalty programs have become an effective strategy. But retailers often ask… “How to create a successful tiered loyalty program?” Read further to fully unlock the potential of tiered loyalty programs for retailers.

Tiered loyalty programs offer a structured approach to reward customers, but they often come with questions and uncertainties for retailers.

If you’re a retailer considering implementing a tiered loyalty program or looking to enhance your existing one, this article is here to help. We’ll address the frequently asked questions surrounding tiered loyalty programs, providing insights and clarity on possible benefits, implementation, measurement of success, and combination with other loyalty initiatives.

What is a tiered loyalty program?

A tiered loyalty program is a customer loyalty program that offers different levels or tiers of rewards and benefits based on the customer’s level of engagement, spending, or loyalty.

Customers earn points or rewards as they make purchases or engage with the retailer, and these rewards increase as they move up the tiers.

How do tiered loyalty programs work?

Tiered loyalty programs typically have multiple tiers, such as bronze, silver, gold, or platinum, each offering escalating benefits. Customers start at the base tier and can progress to higher tiers by meeting certain criteria, such as reaching a specific spending threshold or accumulating a certain number of points. As customers move up the tiers, they unlock additional perks, exclusive offers, personalized rewards, and special benefits, as well as getting recognition for their loyalty.

What are the benefits of implementing a tiered loyalty program?

Implementing a tiered loyalty platform provider can offer several benefits for retailers.

  • Firstly, it encourages customers to increase their spending and engagement to reach higher tiers, fostering customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
  • Tiered programs also provide a sense of exclusivity and recognition to customers as they progress through the tiers, increasing their satisfaction and affinity for a brand.
  • Additionally, these programs provide retailers with valuable customer data and insights that can be used for targeted marketing and personalized experiences.
customer centricity data in retail

How do tiered loyalty programs drive customer engagement?

A tiered loyalty program incentivizes customers to engage more frequently with the retailer’s brand.

Customers strive to reach higher tiers to unlock better rewards and benefits, which motivates them to make additional purchases, refer friends, or participate in specific activities designated by the program.

This increased engagement leads to stronger customer relationships, increased brand loyalty, and higher customer lifetime value.

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What types of rewards and benefits are typically offered in tiered loyalty programs?

Common rewards include:

  • points that can be redeemed for discounts,
  • free merchandise,
  • exclusive access to events or sales,
  • personalized offers,
  • birthday rewards,
  • free shipping or returns
  • dedicated customer support
  • early access to new products,
  • and more.

The rewards and benefits become more valuable and desirable as customers progress through higher tiers. Bear in mind that specific rewards and benefits will vary depending on the retailer and program structure.

retail loyalty program rewards www.loyal.guru

How can retailers measure the success of a tiered loyalty program?

Retailers can measure the success of a tiered loyalty program by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer retention rate, average spend per customer, program engagement metrics (e.g., tier progression, redemption rates), customer satisfaction, and overall revenue growth.

These metrics provide insights into the program’s effectiveness in driving customer loyalty, increasing customer lifetime value, and generating a positive return on investment.

Regular monitoring and analysis of these metrics allow retailers to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize the program’s performance.

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How can retailers ensure the success of a tiered loyalty program?

To ensure the success of a tiered loyalty program, retailers should focus on simplicity, transparency and clear communication.

Customers should have a clear understanding of the program structure, how to earn and redeem rewards, and the benefits associated with each tier.

Retailers should also regularly communicate with program members, provide updates on their progress, and offer personalized recommendations based on their preferences and behaviors.

Monitoring and analyzing program performance and making adjustments based on customer feedback are also crucial to improving the program over time.

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How can retailers prevent customer dissatisfaction with a tiered loyalty program?

It’s important to give customers a quick win after joining a tiered loyalty program, meaning they shall have the ability to get their first reward quickly.

Retailers can also prevent customer frustration or dissatisfaction by setting achievable milestones for progressing through the tiers and ensuring that the rewards and benefits are meaningful and valuable.

It’s important to avoid making the program too complicated or requiring customers to spend excessively to unlock worthwhile rewards.

Regularly reviewing and updating the program based on customer feedback can help address any issues or concerns that may arise and keep customers engaged and satisfied.

How can tiered loyalty programs be integrated with other marketing initiatives?

Tiered loyalty programs can be integrated with other marketing initiatives to create a cohesive customer experience.

For example, retailers can use customer data from the loyalty program to personalize marketing messages, target specific promotions to different tiers, or tailor product recommendations.

Loyalty program members can also be given early access to sales or new product launches, helping to create excitement and drive engagement.

Integrating the loyalty program with the retailer’s mobile app or online platform can further enhance the customer experience.

Are tiered loyalty programs suitable for all types of retailers?

The answer is: Not really.

Tiered programs are particularly effective for retailers with a substantial customer base and high-frequency purchases, as they provide opportunities for customers to progress through the tiers and unlock rewards.

It’s important for retailers to evaluate their customer demographics, purchasing patterns, and business goals to determine if a tiered loyalty program aligns with their objectives.

Can tiered loyalty programs coexist with other types of loyalty initiatives?

Yes, tiered loyalty programs can coexist with other types of loyalty initiatives.

For example, retailers can have a tiered loyalty program alongside a points-based system or a referral program.

By combining different loyalty initiatives, retailers can cater to different customer preferences and motivations, providing a comprehensive loyalty ecosystem.

It’s important to ensure that the different options are clearly communicated and integrated to avoid confusion for customers and to ensure a seamless experience.

Retail media for grocers customer app

How can retailers encourage customers to actively participate in a tiered loyalty program?

Retailers can encourage active participation in a tiered loyalty program by offering initial incentives to join, such as a welcome bonus or exclusive introductory offers.

Regular communication, including progress updates and personalized recommendations, can also keep customers engaged and motivated to reach higher tiers.

Offering bonus points or accelerated progress opportunities during promotional periods or special events can further incentivize participation.

Additionally, retailers can create a sense of community and exclusivity by providing access to member-only events, sneak peeks, or personalized surprises.

award loyalty points for a special occasion

Are tiered loyalty programs more effective for retaining existing customers or acquiring new customers?

While tiered loyalty programs can contribute to both customer retention and acquisition, their primary focus is often on retaining existing customers.

By offering progressively better rewards and benefits, tiered programs incentivize customers to continue engaging with the retailer and discourage them from switching to competitors.

However, well-designed tiered programs can also attract new customers who are enticed by the program’s benefits and see it as a reason to choose that retailer over others.

The balance between retention and acquisition goals can be adjusted based on the retailer’s specific objectives.

Can tiered loyalty programs be implemented in both brick-and-mortar and online retail environments?

Yes, tiered loyalty programs can be implemented in both brick-and-mortar and online retail environments.

In brick-and-mortar stores, customers can earn and redeem rewards by presenting their loyalty cards or mobile apps during checkout.

Online retailers can integrate the program into their e-commerce platforms, tracking customer purchases and rewarding points accordingly.

It’s important to ensure that the loyalty program seamlessly integrates both offline and online channels, providing a consistent experience for customers regardless of how they choose to engage with the retailer.

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What examples of tiered loyalty programs are there?


Kroger Plus Card – Kroger:

Kroger, one of the largest grocery chains in the United States, offers the Kroger Plus Card as its tiered loyalty program. Customers can earn points on eligible purchases, and the program includes different tiers such as Standard, Silver, and Gold. As customers move up the tiers, they unlock benefits such as personalized coupons, fuel points for discounts on gasoline purchases, and exclusive discounts on select products.

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Clubcard – Tesco:

Tesco, a leading grocery retailer in the UK, operates the Clubcard loyalty program. Customers earn points on purchases, and the program offers different tiers based on customer spending. As customers progress through the tiers, they unlock benefits such as bonus points, exclusive discounts, access to exclusive

Meijer mPerks – Meijer:

Meijer, a regional supermarket chain in the United States, has a tiered loyalty program called mPerks. Customers can earn rewards and personalized offers by signing up for the program. The program includes different tiers based on spending thresholds, and higher tiers provide additional benefits like exclusive discounts, personalized savings, and early access to sales events.

PC Optimum – Loblaw Companies Limited:

PC Optimum is a popular tiered loyalty program offered by Loblaw Companies Limited, one of Canada’s largest grocery retailers. Customers earn points on their purchases at participating stores, including Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, and Shoppers Drug Mart. The program has tiers such as Insiders, Influencers, and Elite, with each tier offering progressively better rewards, personalized offers, bonus points, and exclusive promotions.


H&M Loyalty Program – H&M:

H&M, a multi-national fashion retailer with over 4700 stores across 69 countries, offers a tiered loyalty program for its customers.

The program includes different tiers, such as Basic, Plus, and VIP. Customers earn points for their purchases, and as they accumulate points, they unlock benefits like exclusive discounts, early access to sales, free shipping, and invitations to special events.

The Nordy Club – Nordstrom:

Nordstrom Rewards is a tiered loyalty program in the fashion retail sector.

The program consists of four tiers: Member, Influencer, Ambassador, and Icon.

  • MEMBER—no minimum spend amount
  • INFLUENCER—minimum of $500 net spend on qualifying items at Nordstrom locations
  • AMBASSADOR—minimum of $5,000 net spend on qualifying items at Nordstrom locations
  • ICON—minimum of $15,000 net spend on qualifying items at Nordstrom locations using a Nordstrom card

Customers earn points for every dollar spent, and as they accumulate points, they move up the tiers.

Benefits increase with each tier, including early access to sales, alterations benefits, and bonus point days. Higher tiers also offer perks like priority access to style events, exclusive concierge services, and personalized experiences.


ASOS, an online fashion retailer, offers the ASOS A-List loyalty program. I

t consists of three levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

Customers earn points for purchases, and as they advance through the levels, they gain access to benefits such as exclusive sales, birthday discounts, free next-day delivery, and early access to new collections.


NikePlus – Nike:

Nike, the leading sports brand, offers the NikePlus loyalty program, which includes different tiers based on customer activity and engagement levels. Members earn points for purchases and activities, and as they progress through the tiers, they unlock benefits like exclusive product access, early access to sales, personalized training plans, and invitations to special events.

adidas Creators Club – adidas:

Adidas, the well-known sports brand, operates the adidas Creators Club loyalty program.

It offers different tiers such as Insider, Icon, and MVP.

Members earn points for purchases, engage in brand activities, and gain benefits like early access to product launches, exclusive discounts, personalized content, and invitations to special events.

The North Face VIPeak – The North Face:

The North Face, a renowned outdoor sports brand, operates the VIPeak loyalty program.

The program offers different tiers such as Base Camp, Summit, and Himalayan.

Members earn points for purchases, outdoor activities, and engagements with the brand. Benefits include early access to new products, exclusive events, personalized rewards, and expedited shipping.

PUMA Select – PUMA:

PUMA, a global sports brand, has a tiered loyalty program called PUMA Select.

The program includes levels such as Friend, Select, and Elite.

Members earn points for purchases, gain access to exclusive collaborations, receive early sale access, and enjoy personalized offers based on their preferences and purchase history.


Starbucks Rewards:

Starbucks Rewards is a popular tiered loyalty program in the food retail industry. It offers multiple tiers: Welcome, Green, and Gold. Customers start at the Welcome level and can progress to higher tiers by earning stars through purchases. Benefits include free in-store refills, birthday rewards, and personalized offers. The Gold tier offers additional perks like a personalized Gold card, free drink or food item after every 125 stars, and access to exclusive events.

Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards:

Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards is a tiered loyalty program in the food retail industry, specifically in the pizza delivery segment. It offers three tiers: Piece of the Pie Rewards, Gold, and Platinum. Customers earn points for qualifying orders and can progress to higher tiers. Rewards include free pizzas, exclusive member-only promotions, and faster delivery. Higher tiers offer additional benefits such as surprise rewards, exclusive gifts, and sneak peeks of new menu items.

Sephora Beauty Insider:

Sephora Beauty Insider is a tiered loyalty program in the fashion retail industry, focusing on beauty and cosmetics. The program has three tiers: Beauty Insider, VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider), and Rouge. Members earn points for every purchase, which they can redeem for rewards. Higher tiers offer enhanced benefits, including access to exclusive products, early access to sales, birthday gifts, and special event invitations. The Rouge tier provides additional perks such as free shipping and private beauty services.

These examples demonstrate how tiered loyalty programs are implemented in the food, fashion and sports retail sectors, offering different rewards and benefits as customers progress through the tiers. Each program is designed to incentivize customer loyalty, encourage increased spending, and provide a sense of exclusivity and personalized experiences for program members.

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If you’re a retailer and you’d like to talk about any of the tiered loyalty tactics or strategies outlined in this article in more detail, then get in touch with us here – we’ll be happy to show you examples or talk through your brand’s unique challenges.