Six Incentives That Motivate Customer Behavior

An advanced loyalty solution like SessionM can deliver incentives that bolster customer frequency, spend and brand advocacy.

”Incentive” is a broad term–and for good reason. Customers have varied values and motivations, and expect incentives that are unique, compelling and engaging. Delivering these flexible incentives allows brands to increase customer value, but implementing them can be challenging, and each type of incentive has its own considerations.


Experiences are some of the most commonly used motivators, often to create “Surprise and Delight.” There may no declared value shown to the customer, and focus is on quality of experience. Examples include event tickets, meet-and-greet, product or experience upgrades and “VIP” service.


Points-based incentives typically require a published loyalty program as a prerequisite. They encourage customers to pad their loyalty accounts with point bonuses and multipliers.

Stored Value

Stored value can be tied to a published loyalty program or as a single campaign. As with most incentives, these typically motivate customers to take an upfront action, but stored value can also motivate customers to also make a future purchase with the brand. However, this approach can carry a financial liability and can be seen as margin eroding. Stored value may also have limited ability to restrict usage in terms of dates, locations and product categories.

Blog (Re)Publish: Six Incentives That Motivate Customer Behavior 2


Discounts incentivize customers to make a purchase by offering a lower price. They are highly motivating, but they can also often be perceived as lowering a brand or product’s value, especially if they are widely and often available. Used sparingly, discounts can be a powerful tool to increase customer value.

Exclusive Access

Exclusive access incentives share common characteristics with experience-based incentives. The value typically is not quantifiable for the customer, but it can be exciting for customers who already frequently engage with the brand. Examples include secret menu items, early access to product, special seating, “backstage” passes or rare merchandise.


Enter-To-Win Sweepstakes can be a fun and low-cost way to engage with customers. Well-designed sweepstakes entice and educate customers about the prize while also motivating them to make a more modest step, like a purchase, signup or event attendance.

With such varying incentives available, it can be daunting to choose the right incentives. Brands should engage customers with a combination of incentive types, often by creating a mix of published and unpublished rewards.

SessionM, a Mastercard company, recommends a data driven-approach. The first step is to aggregate data to “operationalize” customer profiles. Offers are issued to test audiences and results are measured by engagement and lift. This comprehensive approach employs technology, industry experts and brand marketing to achieve optimal results. When executed properly, it is a win for customers with better engagement as well as a win for the brand with increased customer value.