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Marketing

For Esther, new reward program is not about loyalty

Online women’s fashion retailer, Esther.com.au, is set to launch a new reward program for customers on 18 July.

The new program allows customers to earn points when they shop online, follow the company on social media, refer friends to the site and on their birthday.

They can redeem points for exclusive discounts, vouchers, free products and other perks. Depending on their level of loyalty, customers are categorised as silver, gold or platinum members and are eligible for different rewards.

The aim of this is to interact with customers on a more personal level, said Talita Estelle, founder and CEO of the online retail company.

“The digital realm is moving towards personalisation and loyalty is just another aspect of this,” she said.

Esther partnered with a third-party provider to deliver this personalised approach to loyalty. It plans to educate customers about the new program through various points on the website.

“The loyalty program will have its own information page in the navigation bar and when someone logs in, they’ll see their name and point status,” Esther’s marketing manager Travis Wright told Internet Retailing.

According to Wright, Esther will continue to tweak the loyalty program over the coming months, as data emerges around customer interactions with different reward options.

Wright emphasised that the program isn’t just about increasing loyalty. It was also deliberately designed to acquire new customers.

“People earn the most points by referring a friend, and they don’t get the points until a friend uses the link to come to our website and purchase,” she explained.

By rewarding referrals, Esther essentially is incentivising word-of-mouth marketing, which tends to be the most trusted form of marketing by consumers.

While there have been many attempts to scale up traditional word-of-mouth marketing – through social media and influencer marketing – Wright said it’s not always easy to measure the impact.

“We work with a lot of bloggers and influencers and give them products to try and post about. But while we can measure engagement on a post, we’re never sure how it translates to sales, unless we provide a voucher code. Even that being said, it’s still kind of vague about the exact return,” Wright said.

“I’m really excited about this way of doing referrals and word-of-mouth marketing because it makes it really personal. Customers are going to be referring their inner and outer circle of friends because they want those rewards, and they’ll expand the brand at a rate that influencers can’t.”

Beyond the new reward program, Esther is also revamping its email communications with first-time customers to be more engaging and personal.

One of the key themes of the new email series is Esther’s support for charities. The online retailer was one of the first businesses to partner with i=Change, a platform that helps retailers donate $1 from every sale to charity organisations in Australia and around the world.

Since signing up with i=Change about two years ago, Esther has donated $150,000 to charity. The new reward program is being launched to coincide with this achievement.

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