DSW’s 20-year-old loyalty program has undergone several enhancements since its conception. Here’s how the brand transformed its program with features that would actually connect with current consumers.

Currently, its VIP program has nearly 25 million members and features several tiers: VIP Club, VIP Gold, and VIP Elite. Each tier comes with additional benefits including birthday gifts for friends and special occasions to earn extra points. In order to ensure that loyalty benefits resonated with members, DSW conducted a survey of over 4,000 of its rewards members to gauge consumer interests and shopping habits, as observed in Gartner L2’S report on loyalty.

Using the survey as a feedback mechanism, the brand mapped its rewards back to survey results to maximize program utility. For example, since 25% of surveyed customers have owned shoes for more than twelve years, the brand now offers members points in exchange for shoe donations to Soles4Souls, with donations accepted at all locations. Additionally, 72% of surveyed shoppers owned more than 21 pairs of shoes. With this in mind, DSW provides free shipping and returns to members in order to encourage them to explore new trends.

In order for loyalty programs to remain beneficial to brands, they must adapt their programs to target audiences by diversifying both monetary and experiential rewards, boosting personalization efforts, and creating a seamless mobile experience. In doing so, DSW was able to shape-shift its loyalty program to match the current consumer lifestyle.

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