As retail competition intensifies, and Amazon increasingly targets the beauty category, a strong loyalty program is proving to be one of the savviest ways stores can attract and reward customers. Here, some of the most popular loyalty programs on offer by leading beauty retailers – and how they work.
Loyalty program: Beauty Insider, with additional tiers based on how much a consumer spends in a calendar year.
What makes the program special: Tiered rewards and exclusive experiences look to create an unmatched prestige program for guests.
Date established: Beauty Insider launched in July 2007, VIB (for premier members) in 2009 and VIB Rouge (for super premier members) in 2013.
Card carrier: Guests receive a physical card when they sign up in-store. Those with the Sephora mobile app also have an e-card that provides them quick access to their card, view their status and current reward offerings.
How it works: Beauty Insider is free to join and is tiered by annual client spend. Consumers who spend $350 or more in a calendar year earn VIB [Very Important Beauty] status, while those who spend $1,000+ have VIB Rouge status. Every dollar spent earns points that clients can redeem for rewards, including one-of-a-kind experiences, personalized services and coveted product samples. Beauty Insiders have access to a free birthday gift during their birthday month, as well as free Beauty Classes all year long. After filling out a profile online, they receive personalized product recommendations for their skin type, complexion and eye color. As one moves up in tier, VIBs can earn seasonal savings and early access to select product launches, as well as a free custom makeovers in-store. VIB Rouge members unlock unlimited access to the Beauty Studio and custom makeovers, receive complimentary flash two-day shipping on all orders and have access to Rouge-only events.
Loyalty program: Ultamate Rewards
Date established: Ulta Beauty has had a loyalty program since 1995, and in 2003 it started to test Ultamate Rewards in select markets. It rolled out an Ultamate Rewards loyalty program to all guests in 2014.
Why the program is special: The program allows Ulta Beauty to learn about their guests while brand partners are provided rich data and insights on their business with the opportunity to engage the most relevant customers. More than 90 percent of sales are from loyalty program members. Across the business, there is an understanding and appreciation for the importance of Ultamate Rewards.
Card carrier: Yes, members receive a card. They can also be looked up by phone number at checkout, or they can log in at ulta.com and/or the mobile app to access their Ultamate Rewards points and offers.
How it works: Members earn points for every dollar they spend in-store, online and on hair, skin and brow services. Guests can redeem points on any of the 20,000 products offered. The program also features members-only offers, such as free samples, product exclusives, early access, bonus points offers and richer rewards, as well as a free birthday gift. Ulta Beauty offers a Platinum tier with even greater rewards for those who spend at least $450 in a calendar year. Platinum members earn points faster and the points never expire. They also receive two birthday gifts and exclusive offers and experiences. Recently Ulta beauty introduced the Ultamate Rewards store and co-brand credit cards, another way guests can earn more points faster.
Number of participants: There are more than 21 million active Ultamate Rewards members. (Active is defined as guests who have made a purchase in the last 12 months.)
Loyalty program: Beauty Bonus Program
Date established: 2012
Why the program is special: Beauty Collection looks for ways to add value for loyal clients by providing special promotions and events, plus the added benefit of testing new product arrivals for Curators, those who spend more than $500 a year.
Card carrier: No card offered. Beauty Collection uses email for all correspondence and maintains customer profiles at point of sale.
How it works: Every purchase earns a bonus. Collector benefits include 10 percent Beauty Bonuses on all purchases, priority notice of all sales and events, automatic entry into quarterly sweepstakes (over $100 value), a birthday gift and a gift when one completes an online customer profile. For those who spend over $500 in a year, they receive Curator benefits including all Collector benefits, a $75 Salon Service Gift Card, additional discounts, VIP gift bags at events, Double Bonus on every purchase after an additional $500 spend, and automatic entry into a quarterly sweepstakes (over $250 value). A new benefit – Concierge Program — launched in July 2016 to introduce new items for those with Curator status.
How many consumers participate: There are 23,850 members year to date.
Loyalty program: N.dulge
Date established: October 2010
Card carrier: Yes, members get a card.
How it works: The program offers members a point for every dollar spent in Space NK’s 27 US stores or on spacenk.com. When they reach 100 points, they receive a $5 reward credit on their card to put towards the next purchase. Members who spend $1,000 dollars within 12 months are upgraded to N.dulge de luxe and receive a $10 reward for every $100 spent. Members also receive a host of benefits including N.dulge Double Points shopping days, advance access to sale and sell-out promotions, exclusive store events and off-site master classes, competitions, pre-launch product previews and birthday gifts.
Why the program is special: N.dulge gives 5 percent back to N.dulge clients and 10 percent back to N.dulge de luxe clients, every time they spend $100 dollars. It also offers members the chance to attend exclusive events, such as store opening preview parties and special events with brand founders.
Loyalty program: Dermstore Rewards
Date established: The program is launching in beta in 2017 with a private beta version in Q1 2017 and a public beta version in Q2 2017.
Card carrier: No card offered.
How it works: Shop, earn, redeem. Guests earn five points for every dollar spent on Dermstore.com. The program offers various redemption amounts, but once a guest earns 1,000 points, $10 Dermstore Dollars can be redeemed toward their next purchase.
Why the program is special: Dermstore Rewards is how the online retailer shows appreciation to loyal guests.
Loyalty program: B. Cos, named by store manager, Maria Campitiello Good
Date established: Launched in-store August 2016 and online November 2016.
Card carrier: There is no physical card. Points automatically drop into a customer’s account from wherever they purchase.
How it works: If a customer provides her birthday and email, she’s in. A customer receives one point for every dollar spent. She gets $3 off for every 100 points they earn. They also receive bonus points for signing up, writing an onsite review, their birthday and more.
How many consumers participate: Thousands of customers have joined and hundreds of thousands of points have already been redeemed, and growing fast.
Why the program is special: Customers have been shopping with Cos Bar for 40 years. There are also customers discovering the store for the first time. Cos Bar wanted to launch a program that was easy to understand and use, and truly rewarded loyal customers by giving 3 percent back on every purchase. Cos Bar also aims to surprise and delight customers throughout the year with special bonus offers.
Loyalty program: Beauty Enthusiast (Balance Rewards Beauty Club)
Date established: Beauty Enthusiast launched October 2016.
Card carrier: Beauty Enthusiast is a beauty club within Walgreens’ Balance Rewards loyalty program, which provides cardholders who register for Beauty Enthusiast with additional rewards on beauty and personal care items, as well as other benefits.
How does it work?: Sign up is free, and Beauty Enthusiast members receive 5,000 Balance Rewards points for every $50 spent on cosmetics, skin care, hair care, oral care, grooming, sun care, fragrance and bath product purchases. Beauty Enthusiast members receive free samples and exclusive promotions and coupons, as well as special beauty offers, new product information and expert tips throughout the year. In addition, members receive a one-time digital coupon for 20 times everyday points on any beauty purchase to welcome them to the club.
Why the program is special: Beauty Enthusiast is a natural extension of Walgreens’ loyalty program and offers easy enrollment, more points and additional rewards to make feeling good easier.