Loyalty Points | Design Ideas & Best Practices for a Standard Astro Points Program

Loyalty Points | Design Ideas & Best Practices for a Standard Astro Points Program

The first thing to consider while creating your Loyalty Points Program is what you were hoping to accomplish with the implementation of this program.
  1. Is your goal simply to reward your regular customers with a fun loyalty program that rewards them for all purchases made at your store rather than just Frequent Buyer purchases?
  2. Were you hoping to direct your customers towards making certain purchases or possibly increase their quantity of purchases?
  3. Did you want to keep the program static and consistent, or did you want to mix it up a bit with double-points earning events or reward certain actions with points?
  4. Do you want to encourage your customers to use an etailpet platform (e-commerce), or introduce customers to it who haven't used it yet?
  5. Do you want to offer the same Points program to your etailpet customers as your in-store customers, or did you want to differ them slightly?
  6. Were you planning on just rewarding Purchases or do you plan on rewarding certain Actions as well?
  7. Will your Points Program be automated via a POS or etailpet integration? Or will your cashiers be issuing and redeeming Points manually for customers during checkout?
  8. Did you plan on excluding certain items from earning Points when purchased? (This is only possible on certain POS integrated systems.)

Popular Design Options for Points Events and Rewards on the Astro Points Platform

Here are some common and creative Point Events (how customers earn points) and Rewards (how customers can spend their points) that retailers have chosen for their programs. 

Points Events

Do you want to issue Points for the Total $ amount spent on a purchase (the after-tax after-discount total) or for the Sub-Total on a purchase? Whatever you choose make sure your cashiers are trained. Some integrated systems will let you program these preferences.

In order for a customer to earn a Point or a Fraction of a Point (ex. 0.25pts) they must at least spend $1.
  1. 1 Point for every $1 spent
    1. This is the most common Points Event on Astro. 
  2. 2 Points for every $1 spent
    1. Usually run as a limited time promo, either on a specific day of the week - "Double Points Tuesdays" - or for a couple days running. You can use these limited promos to draw customers in on a slower day of the week, promote an event or holiday, or further reward a weekend shopper so they fit you into their errand schedule. 

Examples of Unique Points Events that reward Actions rather than Purchases

These will need to be rewarded manually in-store by the cashier. Feel free to modify the number of Points each Action earns. 
  1. 10 Points for bringing a Reusable Shopping Bag
    1. This is becoming more and more popular especially since so many trendy grocery stores offer similar incentives for those using re-usable bags.
  2. 20 Points for Downloading the Free Astro Mobile App, Opting-In to SMS Text Messaging, or joining your Mailing List
    1. If your cashiers feel funny asking your customers for an email address, phone number, or prompting them to download the App they may feel better about it if they can give your customers something right then and there in return for that information. We have also seen that this added incentive has resulted in a higher rate of return in collecting this contact information.
    2. If the customer does all three they can earn 60pts in one go!
  3. 50 Points for donating to a Local Rescue/Shelter 
    1. There are several retailers currently running similar events to reward customers for being philanthropic. Customers are encouraged to bring donatable items to the store (food, supplies, etc.) and the retailer then distributes those donations to local shelters.
  4. 100 Points for writing a Google Review 
    1. This was a great idea thought up by one of our retailer's and it has been working out very well for him. Every time a new review is written he is notified by Google. He then checks and sees if the person who wrote the review has a Pet Owner Account on his Astro Account and then he issues the points.
  5. 50 Points for Referrals - 50pts for you and 50pts for your friend!
    1. This Event was inspired by the referral programs that we see offered by many popular services. There are several ways to track this event.
      1. Social Media - Create a post with information about your shop and the referral program and pin it to the top of your page. Your customers who follow your page can then opt to share it with their friends via their Timeline or Messenger. If a new customer comes into your shop and flashes the post you can make them a New Pet Owner account and give them 50pts and then ask them who referred them and make a note so you can also issue that person 50pts.
      2. Business Cards / Gift Certificates / Mini-Flyers / Coupons - Something physical that your customers can give to their friends. Make sure that it includes a place for your referring customer to write their name so you know who to issue the other 50pts to.

Points Rewards

This is where you can have a lot of fun and give your customers variety and surprises. You can have multiple Rewards running at any given time. Most retailers will offer a range of Rewards at varying levels. Customers can choose to spend their points early on a lesser valued reward or hold onto their points in order to spend them on a higher valued reward later.

The key here is to examine how much a customer has to spend in order to earn the points that are required to redeem a reward - this is how you determine the value of the "cash back" they have earned and whether it is fair to your profit margins while still providing an incentive to the customer. 3% Cash Back is pretty standard.

Here are some examples where the customer has earned 1pt for every $1 spent. If your Event issues Points based on a different Point:$ ratio then the Rewards will need to be adjusted to better compliment that ratio.

  1. 300pts = 10% Off Any Purchase 
    1. If the customer has earned enough points to redeem this reward they have already spent $300 at your store. The discount they are getting depends on how much they decide to spend on the sale on which the discount is applied. If the discounted sale is $50 they are getting $5 off, which is about 1.6% Cash Back based on the previous $300 spent. If the discounted sale is $100 they are getting $10 off, or 3% Cash Back based on the previous $300 spent.
    2. Since you working with a %Off rather than a $Off the $ amounts rewarded will vary. A customer is encouraged to spend more when the reward is applied in order to the get the highest cash back return - so in some cases you may be rewarding higher than 3% cash back, but this number is regularly offset by those who do not choose to spend a higher amount at redemption time.
    3. When choosing a %Off Reward you may want to consider the average $ sale made at your store. If customers are typically spending over $100 a visit then you will want to raise the points requirement they will need in order to earn the reward, or lessen the %Off rewarded. 
  2. 500pts = $15 Off Any Purchase over $15
    1. This rewards exactly 3% Cash Back since the customer has to spend at least $300 in order to earn the 300pts required to redeem. $Off Rewards are a little easier to plan for since you know exactly what the customer must spend in order to earn the reward and you know exactly what they will be rewarded.

Unique Rewards

These can reward specific items and are best when offered alongside one another in order to give your customers a choice. This gives the customer the option to choose to spend their points on the reward that best suits them. They are encouraged to work towards that reward and hold out on cashing out on their points until they reach that goal. They can reward fun items like treats and toys or practical items like supplies and services. It also makes sense to rotate them or introduce new Rewards in order to introduce customers to new products.
  1. 50pts = Free Nutritional Consult
    1. You may be thinking, I would offer this for my customers for free! My question for you is, do your customers know that you offer this service? Or that you are capable of providing such a service? We know how knowledgeable our retailers are, but your newer customers may not have realized this yet. If you are running a 1pt:$1 Event and a customer is purchasing one bag of food that day then they could redeem this reward along with their purchase. Now they get to witness how knowledgeable you are and it gives the consult they are receiving the value it deserves.
  2. 200pts = Free Bag of Treats 
    1. You can choose to limit them to treats valued under a certain amount or to a specific treat.
  3. 400pts = Free Stuffed Toy
    1. You can choose to limit them to toys valued under a certain amount or to a specific toy.
  4. 600pts = Free Pet Wash / Grooming Service / Daycare / Boarding / etc.
    1. Consider the value of the service that you are giving away. Does it fall within a fair % Cash Back? Another option is to reward a %Off or a $Off of a specific service rather than giving the service away completely for free.

API Points Events & Rewards - How to Design for an Integrated Platform

If your Points Events and Rewards are linked to an API then you have some additional design options that have the ability to be automated.

etailpet e-Commerce

If you are using an API integration with etailpet you have some additional design options that aren't available to those simply using a standalone Astro system. For one, you have the option to enable your points program on etailpet, or you can reserve your Points Program solely for your in-store shoppers. You can also make it so that etailpet orders earn a different point to dollar ratio, either lesser or greater than the ratio earned by in-store sales. 

Most retailers who use etailpet have opted to make it so etailpet purchases are able to earn points so their customers are encouraged to use the online platform to place their orders.

The Points Rewards integrated with etailpet are able to be redeemed by customers when they place their online orders. They can redeem a Reward for an Instant Rebate ($Off), a Percentage Discount, or a Free Item. 

Are you new to etailpet?

If your store is new to the etailpet platform, or e-commerce in general, it may be a good idea to offer a larger Point : Dollar Ratio to customers using the etailpet platform. Meaning if your customers earn 1pt for every $1 spent in-store you could offer 2pts for every $1 spent on your etailpet site. A customer who may not have otherwise tried placing an order from you online may now be more interested in trying it out. You can choose to run this Double Point Promo for a limited amount of time, just make sure your customers are aware of the time frame. Or, if you want to continue to incentivize your customers to place their orders online, you can continue the program indefinitely. 

Find a more in-depth guide for creating etailpet integrated Points Events here. If you are using both etailpet and integration with your POS System this may effect how your Points Events and Rewards are designed. You can opt to have a single Points Event integrated with both etailpet and your POS System, or you can have one Points Event running for your etailpet purchases and one or multiples running for your integrated POS purchases.

Integrated Points Events with Exclusion & Inclusion Settings - Lightspeed & Vend Integration

These systems allow for the Exclusion or the Inclusion of product from earning Points when purchased. This gives you greater control over how Points are earned.

The Exclusion or Inclusion is based on the Category (Lightspeed) or Tag Word (Vend) assigned to the Product in your POS System. 

Lets say you have all of the product in your POS Inventory grouped into the following general Categories/Tags: Food, Treat, Toy, Litter, Service, Accessory.
You want to reward 2pts for every $1 spent on Treats and Toys. This would best be accomplished with a Purchase Event with an Inclusion applied since the categories of items you wish to issue points for (2 = Toy, Treat) is lesser than the total number of categories present in your store's inventory (6 = Food, Treat, Toy, Litter, Service, Accessory). [You could make this as an Exclude Purchase Event but it would require you to write more Categories/Tags onto the Exclude line.]
Here's what this would look like on an Purchase Event in Vend:

This Event will reward points to every item Tagged as Treat or Toy in the Vend Inventory and Exclude everything tagged differently.

If you also wanted to reward 1pt for every $1 spent on Food it would require a second Purchase Event to be made with the "Food" tag added to the Include line. This would result in 2 separate Purchase Events running simultaneously, each rewarding different products with a different value of points when purchased. 

Fully Integrated POS Systems with Automated Point Rewards - Celerant, PetShop360, Pinogy, and etailplus

These systems allow you to created Points Rewards that are capable of automatically rewarding %Off (Percentage Discount), $Off (Instant Rebate), and Free Items (by associating a UPC with the Reward). If you want to offer multiple Rewards to your customers it may be simplest to make each of them require a different Points Total in order to redeem. 
200pts = Instant Rebate of $5 Off Purchase
300pts = Percent Discount of 10% Off Purchase
500pts = Free 12in Braided Bullystick
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