< back to index

When You Give a Little, They Give a Lot Back

April 25, 2013

Sometimes when you give away something, the benefits you gain in return are far beyond what you’ve imagined. Rather than just sending ads of discounts and new products to their customers, Bare Escentuals decided to go a different route by offering a twist on their customer service loyalty program.

This non-traditional approach gives customers personalized gifts and invitations to insider events. Each member is also given a customized birthday gift and gets to pick a day throughout the year to receive 15% off their purchases. On top of these offers, Bare Escentuals also sends out unexpected personalized gifts to members at different times of the year.

The Friends and Benefits Loyalty program has been a hit for the company as 40% of online and in-store customers signed up for the program within the first three months. This is double the typical sign-up rate for customer loyalty programs for other companies. Most loyalty programs reward their customers with points towards discounts and offers based on their previous purchases. Unlike the others, Bare Escentuals went in a different route by giving customers things they don’t expect.

“We are using the gifts and community to build emotional bonds with our customers and prospective customers. We can harness that for sales growth,” said Nina Ciminelli, senior manager of relationship marketing at Bare Escentuals.

The core target of the loyalty program are women between the ages of 25 and 44. When customers receive surprise personalized gifts from the company, they are more inclined to advertise what they received to their friends and family via social media. The bigger surprise is that it isn’t necessary for these customers to even make a purchase. The only necessary requirement to join the program is to fill out a profile. People expect points and offers sent to them once they purchase a product from a site, but doing the unexpected is what really inclines people to participate in brand engagement.

In August of 2012, Bare Escentuals sent 100 Friends and Benefit Loyalist members a “soon-to-be-released” foundation sample in each individual’s skin shade to test out their new product.  In turn, these members tried the product, wrote reviews and also spread the word about the new foundation to their friends and family through multiple social media networks.

By personalizing gifts and sending unexpected rewards, the customer satisfaction towards Bare Escentuals has grown past their competitors extensively. The benefits given back to the company have also far exceeded the risks and costs to satisfy their customers in the long run, making this the most successful marketing route.