“Non-monetary rewards are created around customer values. Loyalty programs that use this do not offer monetary incentives but, rather, offer value-centered incentives that entice customers to buy.” (Peiguss, 2012)
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, brands often end up engaging in a “discount race” to try and offer the most competitive prices to their consumers.
While cash incentives are more traditional and are quite successful for many businesses, not all brands benefit from them.
They can negatively impact the perception of the brand quality and can prove unsustainable in the long term, depending on the business.
An alternative to more conventional loyalty strategies is non-monetary loyalty strategies. These can equally excite and engage customers without discounting prices.
Non- monetary include brand donations to a charity or local school as a result of a customer sale or free gifts or rewards with a customer purchase.
Studies have also shown increased customer-company engagement when customers’ purchases are tied to the company’s effort to achieve a social good (Leo, 2013).
When those values are promoted or matched by a company, customers experience higher levels of emotional brand attachment (Malar, Krohmer, Hoyer & Nyffenegger, 2011)
Toms are a shoe brand, renowned for its One for One approach, in which the brand donates a pair of shoes to an underprivileged child for each pair of shoes purchased.
Customers feel as if they are directly donating a pair of shoes to an underprivileged child.
As a result, customers have a feeling of ownership in helping social causes through customer purchases.
E-bay’s Sell it Forward program allows customers to sell their used or new products for free using E-bay’s service and any unsold items are donated to charity.
Patagonia is an eco- friendly outdoor clothing brand that makes use of the e-bay sell it forward program to work in conjunction with its loyalty program.
Patagonia implemented the Common Threads Initiative that enables customers to resell Patagonia clothing online via Patagonia’s website.
This reinforces their branding around the sustainability of their product and it also shows a deep understanding of their target audience’s values.
Specialty’s Café & Bakery, a restaurant chain in California, has a non-monetary rewards program that offers rewards for online and kiosk purchases.
They use technology to offer online and group ordering systems this builds loyalty by offering customers with
an online Specialty’s account the non-monetary reward of ease and convenience,
this appeals, in particular, to their corporate and large group clients.
To deliver non-monetary initiatives or rewards you need to truly understand your target audience’s values.
Conducting customer research is strongly advised before implementing this type of strategy.
Depending on your industry, your customers may find more value in non-monetary or discounted rewards.
Use your data
Consider using an integrated loyalty platform to capture real-time data and continue to gain valuable insights about your customers.
Review your non-monetary offerings regularly and use your data to understand what motivates customers to want to engage with your program.
Businesses with frequent shoppers or with utilitarian shoppers or a large millennial audience are best suited to this type of loyalty strategy.