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Dec 22, 2022 | 5 minute read

eCommerce Loyalty Programs: How to Manage a Loyalty Experience

written by Abisola Adeyemo

In today’s market, it’s critical for brands to implement impactful merchandising strategies that drive conversion and customer lifetime value (CLV).  A study by Extu found that integrating a loyalty program with your commerce platform can increase your average order quantity by a whopping 319%. Another study from KPMG revealed that 75% of consumers will favor a brand if there is a loyalty program.

At Elastic Path, we understand how impactful it can be to curate loyalty experiences for your customers. That is why we built functionality within EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) that enables merchandising teams to easily create and manage loyalty experiences, without relying on custom work from their developer counterparts.  

What is a Loyalty Experience?

A loyalty experience is a marketing strategy created by brands to nurture and reward their best customers with perks for being a member. Memberships can either be free or paid and members can receive special discounts, deals, rewards or points that can be redeemed for prizes. The more the member engages with the brand or buys products, the more incentives they can receive.

A loyalty program is a great start but what if you could curate the products and prices your loyalty customers see?  At Elastic Path we believe that traditional "loyalty programs" are just a starting point for nurturing relationships with your regular customers.  We think all brands should be able to curate loyalty-specific experiences that encourage their highest value customers to remain loyal, return regularly, and purchase more. Let’s dig into how you can manage a loyalty experience of your own, using Elastic Path Commerce Cloud.

How to Manage a Loyalty Experience with Elastic Path

EP Product Experience Manager (PXM)

Merchandise Every Unique Product Experience, Without Custom Dev Work

Go to EP PXM

To best understand the steps required to build a loyalty experience, let’s walk through a sample scenario. 

STEP ONE: Offering Early Access to Loyalty Customers 

For this example, we’ll pretend you are a retail brand that wants to offer early access to our best customers for our upcoming products. The idea of “pre-ordering” products that we commonly see in brick-and-mortar businesses, is exactly what we will be doing in this scenario.

Once you are in Commerce Manager from Elastic Path, your merchant should head straight to EP PXM and choose “Configurations.” Then you will choose your hierarchy or category of products that you want for pre-order. For example, choose the “Fall Pre-Order” hierarchy. This will allow you to start merchandising the products that you want to list for pre-order. Your nodes are the subcategories, like men and women.

You could also add child nodes, which would be the subcategories within the subcategories. To begin the process, click on the node or subcategory. For example, the “Men” category. Then click on the Add SKUs button and add the SKUs or products that you want to make available for pre-order within this category.

For pre-order products, there are a few additional steps we need to take with EP PXM to ensure the correct availability and quantity shows on the product detail page. To get started, you are going to use product templates to hold custom data for your different products.

For each product in this example, you would choose the correct product templates and then check the pre-order box. You would also type in the “Limit Inventory” number to establish the maximum number of products for preorder and the “Max Quantity per Order” which is the maximum number of products that a customer can purchase within the pre-order catalog. 

STEP TWO: Adding Pre-Order Products to Existing Catalog

In order to add these products to the appropriate loyalty catalog, go to the catalog section within EP PXM. You would choose your pre-configured loyalty catalog or create a new loyalty catalog if you did not have one already. In the hierarchy section of your loyalty catalog add “Fall Pre-Order.” 

STEP THREE: Adding Specialty Pricing to Loyalty Catalog

Not only do we want to give our best customers early access to these products, we also want to incentivize them with promotional pricing. So, in the loyalty catalog you will go to the price book dropdown menu and select “Loyalty Pricing.” 

In EP PXM, a price book contains a list of product SKUs and the prices you want to change for those products. If your brand serves multi-geos, a price book can contain prices in each of the supported currencies.
Once you have selected the loyalty price book, click publish and the catalog will be updated.

STEP FOUR: Use Rules To Assign an Audience 

How do you ensure that only the members of your loyalty program gain access to your loyalty catalog? You create rules. In the catalog section of EP PXM, select the Rules heading. As you edit the rules section add your loyalty catalog. Then, add accounts or the list of people that you want to have access to this loyalty catalog. This can be done in numerous ways, whether via API, an integration with CRM, or uploading a list.

STEP FIVE: Shop The Loyalty Experience 

At this point, we’ve created a product experience specific to your loyalty customers. Let’s check it out! To see your customer’s view of the loyalty experience, log in to your front-end store. If you or your customers do not log in they will get a general catalog experience. You should now be able to see the new top-level navigation for “Fall Pre-Order” as part of your loyalty catalog.

Your loyalty shopper can explore the loyalty-only, pre-order products that you added to the loyalty catalog. Based on whatever rules you have for pre-orders, that product will be shipped when appropriate. 

Driving Your Loyalty Experience Forward

With EP PXM, you can easily create loyalty product experiences within minutes. At Elastic Path, we will continue to give merchandisers the control to create product experiences that drive conversion and revenue. If you would like to learn more about our merchandising capabilities, check out our latest blog on how to create dynamic bundles.