What a European Vacation taught me about loyalty programs and memorable moments

(Image of Ponte Vecchio taken by Adam Posner's iPhone on the morning of  7 Jan 2018 at sunrise looking towards the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy)

A recent trip to Europe for a family vacation (Griswolds beware), gave me the opportunity to experience a few loyalty program sign ups as part of the retail therapy that was much needed after visiting too many museums!

Three that were memorable enough to share for various reasons were:

  1. Tommy Hilfiger
  2. Harrods
  3. Harvey Nichols

1.The Hilfiger Club – a simply elegant signup

It was saldi (sale) time in Italy when I managed to find some of Tommy Hilfiger’s clothing at an affordable exchange rate. A high-fashion (price and ambience) store in Florence and one of the few where during this crazy time, service was very attentive (the Italians and others love “the Saldi”).

There was no need for me to use my non-existent Italian to ask for help to locate the items on sale as well as discuss my size and within a few moments the jeans were at the counter.

There I noticed the ipad integrated within the counter asking me to “Join the Club!”

Join the club - Tommy Hilfiger

Whilst my sale was being processed, the sign up directly on the ipad was easy (English was an option) with details including name, address, dob, email and hey presto, a card was linked to the application. (Cards are still part of their program interaction real-estate).

The sale was scanned and connected to my membership, the card inserted into a little carrier (nice) and handed over. Semplice!

For me, the best part was the classy way the ipad was integrated within the counter so that it could not be missed at pos (or go missing) - a nice fit to the brand and so easy to join, even during hectic sale periods.

My memorable moment: So simple to join.

2. Harrods – making members feel special

The retail icon of London, Harrods was an experience, both in size and service. They maintain a high-end positioning and this was reinforced when I found the Harrods Rewards department (a whole department dedicated to their loyalty program) - I just love that!

Harrods Rewards - the department to join their program

The call to action on their brochure reinforced the physical presence of the department – “Join the loyalty programme like no other, simply because Harrods is a store like no other”.

There was a special entrance and a welcome from one of the Rewards Service Team members who offered me a seat at a table, whilst he processed my application to join.

The application required more than the minimum data to sign up asking for 24 different data points, including “what are your interests?”. This was a bit more than I expected, however I was enjoying that “special feeling” so gave them whatever they needed.

At the end I was provided with my card, a handshake a he personally walked me out of the Rewards Department.

My memorable moment: Feeling special when joining.

3. Harvey Nichols – technology only

Another famous high fashion department store in London is Harvey Nichols.

I had only one intention when visiting this store – to join their loyalty program. By this time retail therapy was not needed, financial budgeting was needed!

I searched for the rewards department (thinking they would have one like Harrods) and asked at their concierge services how I could join their rewards program to which I was politely told “you can join by downloading the app on your mobile”.

I did just that and although it was simple and immediate, the technology-only onboarding was a bit of let-down especially since I still had that “special feeling” from the Harrods experience.

My memorable moment: Technology interaction works, however there was no emotional connection which is a bit of a let-down especially since HN is such an iconic and aspirational department store brand.

In summary, these three experiences left me with these insights to share:

When signing up new members to your loyalty program make the moment more emotional and less transactional. Make the experience:

  1. Simple
  2. Immediate
  3. Memorable

Also, understand your brand’s positioning and let your program be an extension of that at every moment.

Have a happy loyalty day!