Everyone loves to feel special. Take flying as an example. When you have priority boarding status, your time waiting in line is shorter, and you’re no longer anxious about getting a good seat (on budget airlines). You don’t have to worry about baggage space and you get on board before the crowds so you can sit down and relax – all of which creates a sense of feeling special.
With that same goal of priority boarding in mind, many ecommerce companies have created loyalty programs and membership options that follow the same philosophy of making their customers feel special. While many loyalty programs offer free shipping, there is an opportunity to go further and provide both expedited shipping and “priority boarding” for members. Consider the power behind how a retail loyalty member will feel if the retailer they’ve committed to prioritizes the processing of their order so it is picked, packed, labeled and shipped before others.
As an example, Nike’s free membership program not only gives members free standard shipping on all orders, they also offer discounted expedited and express shipping options. With their membership, expedited shipping is $10 and express shipping is $20. Non-members have to spend $20 or $30 respectively. Another perk of being a member with Nike is that you also have free returns within 60 days of purchase.
Just like the airlines, retailers have created credit card loyalty programs that help you earn more points and obtain a higher status. For example, Nordstroms Nordy Club is a free membership program where you earn points for every dollar spent at Nordstroms. But when you sign up for the Nordstrom credit card, you earn even more points and are able to obtain priority status even faster. In addition to an acceleration in status, another one of their credit card perks is free 2-business-day shipping. The more you spend, the more special you are.
While an increasing number of retailers are embracing loyalty programs, the benefits and qualification criteria vary. Many retail loyalty programs offer either free expedited (or subsidized expedited) shipping as a perk, but few offer faster order processing. One exception is Pink Lily who offers priority order processing for a $5 fee, ensuring your order will hit the front of the queue for picking and packing, accelerating the process where shipping begins. Think of it as a Disney Genie Service (formerly known as FastPass), allowing you to jump ahead in line, ensuring your order takes priority over other customers’ orders. Pink Lily also has a loyalty program, Pink Perks where customers can earn points for every dollar spent. An intriguing evolution for Pink Perks would be to offer priority processing as a free perk for any customers who reach their highest VIP level, Magenta.