Ecommerce Loyalty Campaigns That Work for Millennials

By Rob Zaleski
Jun 16, 2017

This is a guest article by Alexa Lemzy of TextMagic

With their man buns, beards, thick-rimmed glasses, and vegan cafes, for better or worse, Millennials are taking over the world. Everything they do seems to shift paradigms. Let’s explore how you might be able to reach this group through your e-commerce loyalty campaigns and boost customer retention.

Why should you focus on eCommerce loyalty campaigns?

Building a loyalty campaign for your online store is a must. 59% of consumers claim that they are more likely to shop with a brand that has a loyalty/rewards program; your eCommerce business depends on them. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to get on board.

Take a look at Costco – their paid memberships shape perceived savings on warehouse items. As a result, their sales and memberships continue to increase annually. Each year, millions of new members join and make purchases across their branch stores.


You don’t need to mimic Costco’s business structure entirely for success. However, you can see that a perceived reward is an excellent way to build customer interest.

How do Millennials engage with loyalty program decisions compared to other groups?

Millennials are an interesting demographic group – they’re becoming a lead purchase power and they are clever about getting the most out of eCommerce loyalty programs. Unlike others, it is common for these sly shoppers use tricks like provide fake birthdays, leave items in their cart, and clear their browsing history to receive discounts.

Designing loyalty campaigns that are bold enough to maintain their interest and engaging enough to keep them from gaming the rules is a challenge


As you can see, where online shopping is concerned, Millennials are more astute than the total adult population. Your loyalty program needs to beat them at their own games.

Which e-commerce shopper loyalty campaigns can’t be thwarted?

One of the first things you should look at when creating a loyalty program is whether or not your campaign can be “cheated.” The above data suggests that promo codes, sales, memberships, and birthday campaigns are out of the picture; this doesn’t mean you can never use these kinds of campaigns, only that Millennials have found a way to cheat them. Here are some modern loyalty programs that can’t be cheated.

1. User-Generated Content

In April 2014, Starbucks asked their customers to “doodle” on their disposable cups and share their images with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest for a chance to see their design printed on a reusable cup. In a three-week span, the company saw over 4,000 user-generated images, building brand authority, loyalty, and online traffic.


Campaigns like this aren’t cheated because the participants are excited to share their unique personalities through creativity, intelligence, or whatever it may be that will make them a winner. Conduct UGC campaigns to appeal to Millennials.

2. Purchase History Campaigns

Amazon is leading the eCommerce space with customized shopping experiences for all patrons. They include customer purchase history, wishlist-inspired, and browsing history to generate unique purchase suggestions for registered users on their site.


Modern online shoppers, especially Millennials, thrive on personalization. Purchase history campaigns are highly personalized, hence unable to be thwarted. Use your customer’s purchase history or interests to show them similar or complimentary items (discounted, if you like) that may appeal to him.

3. Real-Time Discounts

Avenue, a plus-sized fashion retailer sends text messages to offer real-time discounts and coupons to their customers. Upon receipt of the first text message, subscribers are asked to enter their email address, giving them access to even more discounts.


52% of Millennials are likely to make impulse purchases and they aren’t able to elude the rules when monitoring software (like that provided by texting software) is in play. Growing a strong mobile opt-in list gives you the opportunity to increase brand loyalty across multiple channels and increase your ROI in a scheme-proof way.

What types of loyalty campaigns are Millennials actually looking for?

Now you know what kind of systems can’t be cheated, and you should learn what Millennials actually want in a loyalty campaign. These guys are savvy and control-centered. They research the best places to spend and how to get the best deals. But, above all of that, they are most likely to spend with socially conscious brands.

75% of Millennials feel it is important for a brand to give back to society rather than just make a profit. Because of this, one of the best loyalty campaign types for this group are charity-based campaigns.

So, when creating your loyalty campaigns, make them social (not necessarily social media) centered. Here are some relevant ideas:

  • Integrate your loyalty campaigns with existing fundraisers
  • Donate a portion of your sales proceeds to charity
  • Share the results of your charity work with subscribers and thank them for participating by shopping with your brand
  • Ask customers for a donation to a new or existing campaigns
  • Launch your own fundraiser on Facebook
  • Ask customers which causes they care about, take action based on their input, and talk about the results on your blog, social media, and across all communication channels
  • Ask users to raise awareness by registering a hashtag and running a UGC campaign around a cause

By creating your campaigns around a cause, you build brand values that Millennials find important – trust, respect, and philanthropy.

Taking time to know what Millennials are looking for, you can build loyalty campaigns around a group that is the cornerstone of online sales. When you can appeal to them through campaigns they can’t cheat through a brand that is involved in something meaningful, you will find success.

Invest in them and they will invest in you. What other trends have you noticed amongst Millennial shoppers?

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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