Kiehl’s Rewards: a loyalty program which never grows old
3 March 2021
Philip Shelper

Maintaining beautiful skin is important to the team at Loyalty & Reward Co. If the skin care provider has a standout loyalty program, then even better.

Stacey Lyons, our Loyalty Director, regularly declares Mecca Beauty Loop to be her favourite loyalty program, and has provided a clear explanation of why this is the case in her blog article The Beauty Behind Mecca Beauty Loop.

More recently, the team has been having a play with heritage brand, Kiehl’s.

Kiehl’s history

Founded in 1851, Kiehl’s started in New York City as an apothecary, before evolving into a pharmacy. In 1921, they started creating their own products, the first being Original Musk Oil, their signature scent. In 1922, they revolutionised the business with ‘Try Before You Buy’. This principle of personalised customer service, together with generous sampling, has remained a Kiehl’s staple, and one mimicked by many other businesses globally. Kiehl’s was also one of the first companies in the world to list ingredients on its product labels to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions.

Kiehl’s rewards

Kiehl’s Rewards is the company’s loyalty program, and it is delightfully generous.  

The program includes three status tiers with varying benefits:

  • Silver Wings (up to $249 spend p.a.): Access to voucher catalogue, 1x exclusive gift with purchase per year and birthday reward
  • Gold Wings ($250-$499 spend p.a.): Silver Wing benefits plus 1 day early access to annual Family & Friends sale (15% Off), 1 day early access to Annual Holiday Offer and access to double point events
  • Black Diamond ($500+ spend p.a.): Gold Winds benefits plus 2 days early access to annual Family & Friends sale (15% Off), 2 days early access to Annual Holiday Offer, premier access to new launches and access to private exclusive events.

Members earn 50 bonus points for joining, then 1 point for every $1 spent. Members can redeem 200 points for a $10 gift voucher.

Kiehls’ products are premium and costed accordingly. Thus, spending $150 on an initial transaction is not terribly difficult. This means new members can earn their first $10 gift voucher very quickly. From a loyalty program design perspective, this reinforces the value equation early in the member’s lifecycle, educating them on how the program works by completing an earn and redemption cycle. This can act to cement member interest in the program, while stimulating them to explore where else they can access value.

One thing Kiehl’s is great for is gifting. I purchased plenty of product for myself, but also gifted to loved ones. Within about 6 weeks I achieved Black Diamond status, just in time for my birthday. The Black Diamond birthday reward was exceptional, including free full sized product, a tote bag and an exclusive Kiehl’s branded box to keep all my goods in. Delivery of value is at the forefront of the program design.

Samples and bonus points

Kiehl’s provides a choice of samples each time a transaction is made. This makes the member feel rewarded while also introducing them to the wider product range, helping to encourage future purchases.

Double points campaigns can help members access $10 gift vouchers faster, and once enough points have been earned to access a voucher, attention turns to what to spend the voucher on. In that way the loyalty program acts as it should; to encourage future transactions of new products.

Members can also earn $10 vouchers for referring family and friends, something which can be accomplished by sending them a simple referral link.

The verdict

Kiehl’s Rewards is not perfect; the account section of the website would benefit from some redesign, and communications lack personalisation. Online orders could benefit from a more premium packaging approach.

That being said, for true Kiehl’s devotees, the loyalty program is generous and rewarding, and will certainly be helping Kiehl’s retain their most valuable customers.

Join Kiehl’s Rewards here:  

<a href="" target="_self">Philip Shelper</a>

Philip Shelper

Phil is the CEO & Founder of Loyalty & Reward Co, the leading loyalty consulting firm. Loyalty & Reward Co design, implement and operate the world’s best loyalty programs for the world’s best brands. Phil had previously worked in loyalty roles at Qantas Frequent Flyer and Vodafone. Phil is a member of several hundred loyalty programs, and a researcher of loyalty psychology and loyalty history, all of which he uses to understand the essential dynamics of what makes a successful loyalty program. Phil is the author of ‘Loyalty Programs: The Complete Guide’, the most comprehensive book on loyalty programs on the planet.

Read our latest expert insights

Let's talk

Need to level up your loyalty program? Want to tap into our expertise? Let's talk!