To create an online store, I analyze what influenced what I bought in one online store more than once. I buy a lot in different online stores. I do not even remember most of these stores. Internet shops, in which I regularly buy, "hooked" me the first time, it affected - convenience, good service and an attractive loyalty program. Against the backdrop of stiff competition and a drop-in consumer demand, the loyalty program has become a distinction that creates added value. This turns casual buyers into regular customers. How to make loyalty program online store a real competitive advantage and driver for business development? There is not one recipe, but there are a number of basic principles and rules that will help reduce the risks of unsuccessful launch and increase the base of regular customers.

The goals of the loyalty program are the formation of the core of regular customers. 
Remember that the growth of repeat purchases by selecting and promoting target groups of customers is the main goal when you create an online store.

Increase in consumption (share of wallet): creating conditions for meeting all the needs of customers in a certain category through a system of privileges and bonuses. Buy all in one - a model that should encourage a loyalty program. Return of lost clients (struggle with outflow): reduce the outflow of customers and work with buyers in the risk zone. The loyalty program is a bait, through which an online store can return a customer. Attraction of new clients. Although the main goal of the loyalty program is to retain existing customers and increase the share of repeat orders, it can also be used as a tool for involving new customers with the help of referral mechanics. Collect information about customers. By tracking patterns of customer behavior, analyzing their appeals and requests, you can improve various aspects of the store, ranging from the convenience of user interfaces and advertising effectiveness and ending with customer service and product line planning.

Why encourages customers? To start selling online, first, you need to stimulate one action from the client. This is a repeat purchase. As additional ways of motivation, you can use registration in the store, recommendations to friends, actions in social networks, etc. The main thing is to keep the rules for customers and not overload the program with unnecessary mechanics. Use the "ingredients" very carefully, otherwise instead of saving customers you can get the opposite effect: dissatisfaction of participants, improper use of the budget for stimulation, fraud on the part of professional prize hunters and employees.

What loyalty program do you choose? Accumulating bonus program is the simplest type of program, many consumers are already familiar with it. Customers receive bonuses for purchases or actions. They can be exchanged for discounts or privileges. This type works best to start selling online products with a high frequency of purchases and a low purchase price.

 If the products of your online store do not involve frequent purchases, then the effectiveness of the standard loyalty program is questionable. The time between the receipt of bonuses and their use is large enough, and the number of bonuses received for the first purchase, as a rule, is insignificant. Buyers simply forget about the program and bonuses. To avoid this situation, you need to use other mechanics or their combination. Use a system of levels or statuses. For example, if you buy a product for a certain amount of money, the customer, in addition to or instead of bonuses, receives a special «A» status that allows you to use certain privileges or gain access to additional features. At the first purchase customers receive a basic status and a small reward to engage in the program and lay the foundation for subsequent communications. The cost of bonuses and privileges granted should increase as the number and frequency of purchases increase.

Apply a regular discount. Discount programs are an alternative to bonus programs for products with a long consumption cycle. The main drawback of the discount scheme is the reduction of marginal sales. The bonus program, taking into account the utilization factor, is cheaper. In this case, the store gets more opportunities in terms of the variability of the use of bonuses in promotions. Do not use a flat scale. The system of discounts should be progressive. Set a correlation between the discount size and the date and amount of the next purchase. For example, if you make a purchase within the next 6 months, the discount will be 5% starting from the seventh month - 3%. Discounts can be tied to product categories or brands. This, on the one hand, avoids the impact on the profitability of sales of goods with a low premium, on the other - to stimulate additional and cross-selling in positions with high margins.

Add games to attract and maintain interest in the program. Play on the strings of the soul of your customers. Make the purchase process fascinating. Gaming is one way to influence customers emotionally. The choice of concrete mechanics is determined on the basis of tasks, features of the target audience, the size and capabilities of the store. It is not necessary to perform expensive quests or to connect a specialized platform.

Below are some examples of mechanics that do not require serious investment:

Stimulation of repeated visits: regular prizes among participants, "happy" hours, in which a limited number of products are sold at an overpriced price.

Promotion of product reviews: icons for shopping reviews that can be exchanged for a discount or a privilege, prizes for the most useful reviews.

Attracting new customers on the recommendation: "Make purchases with friends at $ 200 in our store and get a 10% discount on the next order, as well as a chance to win tickets for the concert.

Conclusion: Launching a loyalty program is simple, it's much harder to change. Clients react painfully to any changes, even those that could potentially benefit them. Therefore, before announcing the customer loyalty program, check the key hypotheses and mechanics that you plan to implement. Any concept requires verification and analysis.