Don't Short Sheet the Rewards Catalog

Your loyalty rewards catalog is central to the user experience and core to your loyalty strategy. Catalog-related failures break loyalty relationships rather than just strain them. Even though online shopping makes up a little more than 10% of all retail sales, the use of online ordering in loyalty programs is nearly 100%. A poor customer experience with ordering online can derail your efforts to keep participants loyal.

Step One: Make it Easy

The first and primary element contributing to pleasurable human experiences is ease of use. If you want to deliver a good experience, it must be easy. Our lazy brains simply won’t tolerate a difficult exchange when we perceive an easier one is (or should be) available.

Though most browsing is done on smartphones, the majority of orders are still placed on desktops. With that in mind, build your site to maximize browsing on smartphones (and tablets) and easy shopping cart resolution on the desktop.

Figure 1: Zappos Filter Extravaganza

Figure 1: Zappos Filter Extravaganza

Browsing should be easy with strong and flexible filters. Participants should be able to search for “What can I get with the points that I have” as well as general searches by point value, category, brand, color, size, popularity, delivery status, etc. Take a tip from Zappo’s when it comes to online filters: more is better. See Figure 1, to the left, for an example of far they take filtering.

Pricing should be all-inclusive. Take a tip from Apple with their pricing of iTunes songs: They don’t charge you $0.85 for the song plus $0.15 for royalties plus $0.20 for technology plus $0.05 for taxes. No – it’s one price: $1.25 for each song. Products should be priced inclusive of all relevant taxes and shipping costs. No one likes to be surprised at check out with additional charges for shipping and taxes.

Take a tip from Apple with their pricing of iTunes songs

Make the navigation functional and relevant to your catalog. Depending on how deep and wide the offering is, tailor the navigation for the shortest number of clicks between the landing page and the product. This includes using an auto-fill search function. Take a tip from Amazon on how to lay out a complex and diverse navigation tree, if your catalog is similarly diverse.

And, of course, make the checkout process easy. One click should be all that’s needed to confirm the account, shipping address, products and estimated delivery date.

Step Two: Make it Attractive

This starts with promotion outside of the catalog itself. Leverage seasonal messages to highlight changes and updates to the rewards offered. Promote new brands and new models that are hot in the consumer space as being available and ready to ship.

The best messaging is personalized and includes items that a participant can redeem for right away with their current balance. Personalization should highlight what products are relevant to the shopper – by value, by lifestyle, by location, by what others looked at, by popularity, etc.

Once inside the catalog, it should have a contemporary appearance. Lead with lifestyle imagery by category so that the landing page is not a matrix of thumbnails. The pages should also load quickly – a need that is too often overlooked in favor of high-quality images. Find a balance between image quality and speed of loading that makes sense for your catalog. See Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: Lead with Big Images

Shoppers like details so having multiple, hi-res images for each product along with manufacturer’s specifications are always preferred. If there is anecdotal information such as, “this brand tends to run big,” is important to include as well. Anecdotes are key to the personalization story by revealing your brand by how you promote, layout and identify products while you’re personalizing the catalog for your participants.

Lastly, don’t forget to highlight areas such as discounted items, new, trendy, and seasonal specials to make the experience easy.