Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M, is a Swedish multinational retail clothing company that most probably does not need an introduction. It was founded in 1947 and is still very successful worldwide, mainly due to putting all of its customers central. H&M’s online presence in terms of a web shop, a smartphone application, and several social media accounts plays a major role in H&M’s success, as this has enabled H&M to continuously observe and interact with its customers. The 31st of March, H&M will come with something new to take its customer relationships to the next level. Namely, it will introduce a digital customer loyalty program in the Netherlands. This will make the Netherlands the second country in the world with a H&M loyalty program. According to the country manager of H&M in the Netherlands, this move is now made in order to capitalize on the relatively high amount of online orders of customers in the Netherlands.
The past years loyalty programs have become more and more digitalized. The non-digital loyalty programs involved getting stamps for every €5 spent. They evolved into digital loyalty programs with member cards that had to be scanned after every purchase in order to receive loyalty points. Currently, there are loyalty cards that have to be connected to an online account to collect customer demographics information. Clearly, loyalty cards came into existence to bind customers to a certain business. Over the years this mindset has changed, and at this time businesses primarily want to have as much relevant customer information as possible to be able to better adapt their products and deals to their customers.
H&M is taking a slightly different but more advanced approach with its loyalty program ‘H&M Club’, by integrating a customer loyalty card in the H&M application. Joining the club is free, and when one has joined the club, he or she will receive one point for every euro spent, in addition to 50 free “welcome points”. The points can be redeemed for weekly changing discounts, but more importantly, these points can also be exchanged for access to exclusive events. Customers are given the opportunity to attend designer events in cities such as New York or Paris, be present during H&M photoshoots, or get a guided tour at H&M’s headquarter in Stockholm. This method has been selected because it is more sustainable not to have an actual member card, but the main reason is that customers are demanding more and more engagement and transparency from H&M.
H&M’s loyalty program seems to be a promising addition to H&M’s existing business model, especially since it offers its customers the opportunity to increasingly engage with the brand. The free welcome points give the customers a head start which may lead to a greater use of the program, as the rewards become easier to reach. Furthermore, points can be redeemed in different quantities, depending on the chosen deal. Moreover, the discounts and events offered by the H&M Club are most likely treats that customers would not spend their own money on and can lead to customers buying things that they would not have considered buying before. The previously mentioned components of the H&M Club have been cited by scholars as important levers of loyalty (Nunes & Drèze, 2006). Based on this and H&M’s long-term success, its loyalty program is likely to succeed.
Nunes, J.C., & Drèze, X. (2006) Your Loyalty Program Is Betraying You. Harvard Business Review, 84(4), 124.