Another undifferentiated loyalty program focused on cookie-cutter transactional rewards and lacking in customer insights. Does it sound familiar? Programs like this saturate the market even when retaining customers and earning their loyalty is more important than ever. Our data shows that even though nearly 90% of US online adults belong to a loyalty program, only 46% of loyalty program members agree that it makes them feel more connected to the brand. So how should a brand use a loyalty program to connect meaningfully to its members?

When we talked to PCC Community Markets (PCC), the largest community-owned food market in the US, the loyalty challenge it faced felt all too familiar: PCC’s legacy loyalty program didn’t offer the right incentives, engage the community of customers in the right way, or collect enough customer information.

To improve its impact on both customer relationships and the business, PCC completely overhauled its approach. The results? The new loyalty program saw more membership growth in one year than in the past decade. Here are three ways PCC made it happen and how you can transform your own loyalty program:

  • Take an enterprisewide approach. Programs focused on delivering value for the customer elicit the positive emotions and behaviors required for loyalty success. To get this right, stakeholders across the organization — from marketing to finance to customer service and experience — need a shared set of objectives and key results. PCC’s transformation included bringing together membership, finance, stores, and the board of trustees, as well as its media agency.
  • Research and plan for the program you want. Building a customer-focused loyalty strategy requires an understanding of customer wants and needs. PCC solicited input from members and nonmembers when designing the new program. It also collaborated with finance and store staff teams to develop the program in a way that financially and organizationally met the needs of the business.
  • Lean on partners to close resource, expertise, and tech gaps. No organization is perfectly equipped for a loyalty transformation. PCC needed to update antiquated technology to enact the changes it wanted. It also leaned on agency partners to build a better member experience that boosted membership and engagement with the program.

If you are interested in learning more about how PCC took an enterprisewide approach to revamping its loyalty program, read our new case study. And if you have questions on how to reimagine your loyalty program, schedule an inquiry call with Mary Pilecki, our analyst leading coverage on loyalty marketing.