What it Takes to Lead in the Loyalty Space

How to win in Loyalty program competition

What it Takes to Lead in the Loyalty Space

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be awarded top customer loyalty program in 2021 status? Well, it’s not as hard as you might think.


In February 2021, Estee Lauder’s Loyalty program – The Estée E-list, was named one of America’s leading loyalty programs on NewsWeek’s List, among Mac Cosmetics, and Aveda. But what did Estee Lauder do differently than say, Benefit?

For starters, when it comes to loyalty, the Estée Lauder companies are  experts. As one of the first beauty brands to launch a loyalty program, the ELC brands now comprise over 19 million active members who reap the benefits of their loyalty programs, translating to over $2 billion in lifetime loyalty sales.

estee lauder loyalty program

At first glance, you’ll find that the Estée E-list resembles a typical loyalty program’s features, or at least typical to loyalty program experts. Like others, it engages and encourages customers to spend, and rack up loyalty points. The more points you accumulate, the more you qualify for tier-based reward benefits. Estée E-listers are allured by the array of offerings included in each tier. From discounts, to birthday gifts, included in the basic, ‘Be Excited Tier,’ to more jaw-dropping rewards like access to member-only VIP events, next-day shipping, and free full-size gifts fit for a queen (or king) in the ‘Be Envied,’ tier;  it’s no wonder the Estée experts are the A-listers of loyalty and rewards. 


But obviously, neat gifts aren’t the only benefit a loyalty program has to offer, at least on the consumer end. In today’s world, to succeed in E-commerce means brands need to understand their why – i.e. the consumer. Which takes us to consumer behavior. Understanding consumer preferences and behavior is the cornerstone of any successful business. But how do we actually figure out our consumer? Insert business intelligence. Behind every loyalty program is insightful, yet actionable, consumer data; and how you employ that data to successfully create targeted marketing offers will in turn increase customer retention and recurring purchases impacting customer lifetime value overall. 


The cosmetics and beauty industry is one of the most saturated and fast-growing industries out there. As a beauty brand, you’re probably wondering how you too can build a successful loyalty program similar to that of EL.


So how can you incorporate a successful loyalty program into your e-commerce beauty brand’s store? With beauty brands in general, beauty reward programs need to focus on engagement to set them apart from the competition.

Aim to please- GenZ, that is…

In 2021, to be successful in customer engagement means aligning  your business’s marketing efforts towards one of the most influential groups of shoppers – Gen-Z. 

A recent study on customer loyalty revealed that Gen-Z was in fact the most loyal demographic, when it came to loyalty program memberships and purchase activity. Combining the perfect mix of standard loyalty features  like points for spending, referrals, and feedback with more sophisticated loyalty programs offering features such as gamification, social selling, live selling touches on this demographic’s profound digital culture. 

Gen Z loyalty program

The Pillars of a GenZ-friendly loyalty program


Immersive experiences that drive customers to purchase and come back,  such as Gamification, which attempts to enhance the way businesses create gaming experiences to motivate and engage their prospective customers and loyals. A branded gaming experience is a surefire way to win-over a Gen-Z. 

Live Selling

Another feature that will bring traffic to your Store is Live Sellingan interactive way to sell items, connect directly with viewers, and gain potential customers, all in real time.” Gone are the days of your mother’s favorite infomercial channel blasting in the background of her cleaning escapades. Live selling is the perfect way to get influencers to demo your beauty products for viewers, whilst at the same time answer their questions in real time. Your customers want to get up close and personal with your brand and what better way to do that than through live selling.


These days, it didn’t really happen unless you shared it with your friends and family on social media. 

Well, that’s a stretch. But really, people love sharing their experiences on social media (maybe a little too much). Especially when they’ve had great experiences with a brand.  Some relatively new and fun features you can incorporate into your customer loyalty program are social games, trivia or stories which encourage your users to share the interactive experiences they’ve had with your brand, with their followers. It’s also a way to get word-of-mouth flowing and generate new leads.  

“Touch your customer, and you’re halfway there.”

Finally, if you’re looking to increase your market share and convert your customers into loyal brand advocates, consider adding a blend of the features we mentioned into your own customer loyalty program, sprinkle some great customer service into the mix and you have yourself a solid plan. 

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