The Key Rewards: Are coalition programs the future of retail?

by | Jan 12, 2022 | Loyalty Frameworks, Loyalty Programs, Member Benefits

Retail is possibly the most saturated industry in the world with new brands and products sprawling out of every corner on a daily basis. This makes it particularly challenging for the industry to capture loyalty due to the sheer flexibility consumers have in choice and price range. As a result, many shoppers find it increasingly difficult to access any value from these programs, often leading to early member disinterest and program failure.  

It’s too hard to pick. So, don’t! 

Homeware brands Pottery Barn (+ teen and kids), West Elm, Williams Sonoma (+ home) and Mark & Graham aim to ease such troubles by banding together to offer the Key Rewards loyalty program.  

Key rewards is a coalition program, meaning that members will be recognised for shopping at any of the aforementioned brands to access benefits via a single loyalty program.  

What do they offer?

The program offers members two avenues to join, each avenue functioning as a tier. This means that the value of benefits accessible will depend on whether a member chooses to simply sign up and create an account or apply for a Key Rewards credit card.  

All members will be given access to the Key Rewards Silver benefits. The real benefits, however, are only accessible to Key Rewards card members.  

Benefits Credit Card Member: Gold Rewards Member: Silver Rewards 
Member-only offers YesYes
Free Design Services YesYes
Earn when you shop with the brands 5% 
2x for the first 30 days  
Earn when you shop at restaurants and grocery stores (excludes fast food) 4% 
with a Key Rewards visa
Earn when you shop anywhere else1% 
with a Key Rewards visa 
Free standard shipping at Williams Sonoma Yes 
12-month promotional financing  Yes
Exclusive perks including Birthday rewards, VIP events and early access Yes

Although the idea of applying for a credit card may be deterring to some, it may provide some solace to know that there are no annual fees involved with owning a Key Rewards credit card.   

Overall, the benefits for Key Rewards card members are very flexible. Not only can members earn for transacting with the participating brands, but also earn a benefit for everyday spending (though admittedly not very much). 

Discounts aside, benefits such as free design services are highly relevant to the homeware customer base, making it very valuable and desired. Unfortunately, besides this one benefit, Silver Rewards members have access to very few perks, to a point where I imagine not every the most avid homeware shopper would find much value in signing up.  

Final thoughts

It is clear that the true rewards are only for members who apply for a Key Rewards Credit card. Though the benefits of this card are flexible, it is debatable whether the loyalty program itself holds enough value in benefits for members to go out of their way to apply for something as involved as a credit card.  

The Key Rewards may want to alternatively consider card-linking instead, which would overcome the deterrent of adding yet another card to the member’s wallet and would offer a much more streamlined shopping experience.  

The loyalty program would also benefit from expanding their emotional benefits. The free design consultation is a wonderful service. Building on this with styling workshops, DIY competitions, social media polls and even exclusive mini clubs would be some of the many great ways to help build emotional rapport with members.  

As a lover of interior products myself, the concept of earning and being rewarded for shopping with multiple brands is a dream come true, and I am excited to see more retailers follow this model in the future.  

Amy Gavagnin is a Strategy Consultant at Loyalty & Reward Co, Australia’s leading loyalty consulting agency. She has worked in various areas of marketing including digital, social media, graphic design, eCommerce, email and event marketing, previously supporting departments at Westfield Scentre Group, Cass Brothers and Harvey Norman Commercial Division. As Strategy Consultant, Amy applies her skills across all aspects of the business, including promotional campaign management as well as loyalty program design, loyalty strategy development, and market research.​

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