THE CLARUS Blog

Why the Club O Premium Loyalty Program Continues to Grow, Featuring Raj Karkara of Overstock

Overstock’s Club O premium loyalty program continues to grow.

It’s success can be largely attributed to its unwavering focus on the overall customer experience. It returns to a basic and prevailing belief about what premium loyalty programs should do. They help increase customer loyalty and retention by providing immediate value to the customer and addressing their biggest pain points.

We caught up with Raj Karkara, Vice President of Loyalty and Financial Services, to discuss the Club O premium loyalty program.

Can you talk about the thought process behind Overstock launching its premium loyalty program? When did it technically launch? What impact has it had on your customers and their subsequent behavior?

Karkara: Club O, Overstock’s loyalty and rewards program, was first launched in 2004. At Overstock, we are constantly finding new ways to make the customer experience better.

Creating an Overstock.com loyalty and rewards program was a no-brainer because it gives our customers extra perks and benefits that keep them coming back to shop on our site. Club O members are our most valuable and loyal customers.

Why do you think the program has resonated so well with your loyal customers?

Karkara: Club O, Overstock’s single-tier loyalty and rewards program, isn’t just free shipping and a loyalty program that provides you with rewards when you shop on Overstock.com.

It also offers many other lifestyle perks like restaurant rewards and discounted stock trading. Introducing unique aspects to Club O helps us engage with our customers and deliver a wide variety of services to our most loyal customers.

Can you talk about how the program works and what the benefits are?

Karkara: Club O is Overstock.com’s membership-based loyalty and rewards program that provides customers unique benefits at the low price of $19.95 per year. Customers enrolled in the program receive free shipping on every order, at least five percent in reward dollars for all purchases, and access to extra rewards on select products in the Extra Rewards Store.

Members also receive five percent rewards from all participating restaurants, free returns on select products, discounted stock trading at $1.99 through Overstock’s FinanceHub™, and they can use their rewards for their membership fee as well as stack them with other promotional offers on Overstock.com.

Overstock.com offers Club O Memberships free of charge to teachers and students; active, retried, or reserve members of the United States military; members of first responder groups such as police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians; and Club O Rewards Mastercard Cardholders.

Points-based loyalty programs are still around, but often fail to forge true differentiation. Premium loyalty programs are growing in popularity. Can you talk about the overall appeal of a premium loyalty program in today’s marketplace?

Karkara: Premium loyalty programs are important in today’s marketplace because consumers have so many different shopping options.

Premium loyalty programs help increase customer loyalty and retention by providing immediate value to the customer. At Overstock, our loyalty program is designed to address our customers’ biggest pain points, such as paying for shipping or returns.

What have been your biggest takeaways from a customer insight perspective since Club O launched? How has membership progressed during that time?

Karkara: Testimonials from valued Club O members reaffirm the importance of having a premium loyalty program.

Lucylux M. commented: “Smart choice to join Club O membership. In just a month, it has saved me money and has paid for itself. I’ve been able to get rewards dollars for all purchases thus saving more on future purchases. Would highly recommend.”

Another valued Club O member, Shamieca S., said: “This actually pays for itself. I should have joined some time ago. I’ve made other purchases and it would have been nice to get the rewards for those purchases. But the rewards and free shipping are worth the purchase of joining.”

The testimonials support Club O’s goal of providing customers with many benefits at the low price of $19.95 per year.

Members receive free shipping on every order and at least five percent in reward dollars for all purchases, which are major perks for customers and the membership eventually ends up paying for itself. Club O paid memberships and renewals have grown year-over-year by 50 percent as new benefits are added to the program.

Premium Loyalty Provides Immediate Value

Overstock launched in 1999 near Salt Lake City and evolved from a fledgling startup to a billion-dollar online retailer. Overstock’s commitment to customer experience and customer-centricity has been wall-to-wall since Day 1 and it’s no different with Club O.

As Karkara points out, a key benefit of a premium loyalty program is providing members with immediate value and provides elevated experiences to your customers.

And the testimonials that Karkara offers shine a light on the appeal of a the Club O premium loyalty program.

Check out these other brands that are rethinking retail with premium loyalty programs.

By addressing customer pain points and adding new program benefits intermittently, a premium loyalty program plays a major role in retaining your best customers.

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