Everyone knows that loyalty programmes make good sense in eCommerce marketing. Why wouldn’t you give existing customers the reward of discounts or points for their faithful purchases? Surely it’s common sense that every brand looking to dominate as one of the best eCommerce websites needs to offer incentives for repeat purchases. But think about Apple. No one could accuse this iconic brand of not trying… so, where is Apple’s loyalty programme?
Of course, the answer is that this brand has achieved a niche that makes the impossible look easy – a product that seems to boast, without feeling the need to spell it out, that ownership of their products and loyalty to Apple is its own reward. Although you may not agree, enough people seem to.
Apple continues to update its products in line with changing technology, and each time it creates another aspirational prize for its eager brand affiliates to salivate over. Not just new products, but whole new product lines that are marketed to overcome a wide range of barriers to purchase. An impressive spectrum of demographics, budgets and aesthetic preferences are targeted with each regeneration, not just with differentiated marketing campaigns but with actual differentiated products.
Another relevant point is that, although there’s a high similarity with other brands, Apple products use a unique operating system, so for a customer to switch brands means a big shift, not just in brand affiliation but also in working behaviours, as well as a re-investment in the whole realm of associated software and hardware.
The luxury factor of Apple products means that customers are willing to pay above the odds for goods that represent a higher financial commitment than other comparable brands. There’s a whole culture about the Apple brand that is built around lifestyle aspirations, beautiful aesthetics, intuitive interfaces and cutting-edge functionality. Why would a brand offering these merits need to give out points like Tesco? Well, that looks like their theory.
Other operating systems are available of course, and not everyone is an Apple fan. But their apparent lack of Apple loyalty programme certainly provides a good exercise in eCommerce marketing analysis for the rest of us.