t might come in the form of stretch pants, presidential surprises or advice from a pharmacist, but more retailers are wagering that their best shoppers will pay for the privilege of loyalty.
Just ask Lululemon, CVS and Loblaw. These retailers are testing paid loyalty program memberships, both as a way to compete with the likes of Amazon Prime as well as to give their members an air of distinction.
When the average American holds memberships in nearly a dozen reward programs (based on 3.8 billion U.S. memberships, according to the COLLOQUY Loyalty Census), charging for the privilege of rewards may be the most effective option for exclusivity. Loyalty memberships have become so commonplace that the perks members once cherished as special – birthday gifts, free upgrades and the like — are increasingly seen as entitlements.
The result: More retailers will likely begin experimenting with fee-based loyalty program memberships in 2019.
Lululemon Stretches Rewards, CVS Prescribes Attention
What makes the Lululemon, CVS and Loblaw programs noteworthy is that they aim to make shoppers feel special expressly because they are willing to pay for that distinction. In short, they’re servicing an emotional need.