This week marks the launch of Lancôme Elite Rewards, one of the first loyalty programs in the discount-averse luxury cosmetics category. And social media participation is as important as purchases for this program.
Behind the luxe look are hardcore customer relationship management (CRM) goals, according to Alessio Rossi, vice president, Lancôme digital marketing.
“We’re pushing harder on customer acquisition and retention,” he says. “We thought we could not achieve it with anything else. Lancôme has been very innovative and is an extremely data-driven company, but we saw a limit with traditional CRM.”
Of course, acquisition and retention are based on consumer engagement, so Lancôme Elite Rewards will leverage what Rossi says is a deep well of content that’s already available on different channels to increase engagement with the brand. The program will allow the brand to analyze which content is most engaging.
To create and produce Lancôme Elite Rewards, the brand worked with Olson 1To1, the loyalty division of digital and ad agency Olson, as well as CrowdTwist, which provides the platform. “They were able to add onto a traditional loyalty program the engagement component,” he says.
While Lancôme Elite Rewards hasn’t been promoted yet, Rossi says that registration has been overwhelming in the 10 days of its soft launch. The brand will include information about the loyalty program in all its existing touch points and there may be a dedicated media program to boost acquisition.
Customers can join the program at no charge and begin to rack up points not only by buying products, but also by connecting and interacting with Lancôme USA through social media. In fact, consumers get more points for social media than for shopping. For example, Lancôme Elite Rewards members earn 10 points per dollar spent; they earn up to 25 points for sharing products on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; and they can earn up to 50 points when they connect with the brand on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Foursquare. Points also accrue when program members watch makeup tutorials on Lancome.com or check in at events via Foursquare.
Does this mean that Lancôme actually knows how much a like is worth? Maybe. The L’Oreal-owned brand sifted through seven years of customer data, analyzed in different ways, to try to determine the value of interaction at every customer touch point, a process Rossi says was both challenging and eye-opening. “Brands tend to look into how can I monetize this today. Instead, it’s about building a relationship with a human being. You don’t do it overnight. We had to take a longer horizon,” he says.
Each member gets an online dashboard on Lancôme’s U.S. website to track and manage points. They can redeem their points by choosing full or trial sizes of 100 selected Lancôme products, for beauty consultations and treatments, and for access to events like New York Fashion Week.
The loyalty program is launching on desktops and tablets. Despite the fact that Lancôme, like all businesses, has seen an explosion in mobile usage, the Lancôme Elite Rewards apps are not expected until later this year. “We had to pick priorities, but it will be on mobile extremely fast,” he says.
Rossi expects the loyalty program to be a key driver of growth for years to come, and promises that it will evolve a lot, as it provides more and more fruitful insights.
He says, “We didn’t want to just throw another promotion or discount. Instead, it’s a bi-directional communications channel with consumers to understand them better, collect information about how they go through the decision-making journey, providing more insights so ultimately we can provide an even more personalized experience.”