Who doesn’t like freebies? More than 60 percent of marketers have caught on to the giveaway game because it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current customers coming back. And we at IDD think gift-giving is a great way to thank customers and show them some love! Here are four types of customer rewards we think are pretty cool.

Surprise Customer Rewards

Panera's Surprise Customer Rewards

There’s no such thing as a free lunch? Panera disagrees. Rewards programs aren’t always based on how much you buy. Panera, for example, randomly gives customers free food items, discounted meals and even free soup or a sandwich. You’ll also find them cleverly promoting their newest menu items with a deal you just can’t refuse.The next time the cashier scans your rewards card, you may be in for a surprise treat!

DirecTV may surprise long-term customers with discounts and temporary free channels. Ask and you might receive! Staying instead of switching can pay off, which brings us to…

Creating Community

Patagonia Community Incentive

Loyalty goes the distance at Harley Davidson. The motorcycle company creates a community for its loyal customers, organizing social and educational events where customers with a common interest can come together, talk and learn about the product and share stories. Every company can offer coupon codes and discounts, but businesses that can provide value to the customer in ways other than dollars can really connect with their audience.

Patagonia, for example, really understands its customer base. Last year the retailer of durable, eco-friendly, outdoor apparel partnered with eBay and implemented their Common Threads program (above) that helps customers resell their Patagonia clothing.  The initiative helps Patagonia customers be green and make some green! While this program doesn’t make Patagonia any money, it follows the company’s larger initiative to be sustainable – and earns it some major brownie points with its loyal base.

Racking Up Points

Aveda Customer Rewards

Aveda offers a purchase based, points-reward system with some truly great products & services you can get for those points – free spa day, anyone? Even if you only have two points racked up, the company will still treat you to a birthday coupon redeemable for a free custom fragrance. Customers walk out feeling invigorated after sniffing aromatic oils and smelling like the one-of-a-kind that they are after receiving a fragrance made just for them!

At Sephora, customers earn points that can be redeemed for high-end, deluxe samples that change frequently. The company also gives customers a gift if they visit the store on their birthday. Perks like free makeup applications and classes are separate from their rewards program, but we think sharing knowledge is often just as sweet as giving a gift. Talk about a great takeaway!

Plain ‘0l Cash

DSW Customer Rewards

What says customer appreciation better than cash? DSW values their customers’ desire for shoes and keeps them trying and buying by sending coupons for $10 and $20 off. It’s always easier to go shopping when you have free cash to spend! Suddenly you DO need another pair of black pumps…

Target, meanwhile, gives customers cash, but not by mailing a coupon. When customers use their Target Red Card, five percent of their total purchase is instantly deducted. Target Red Card users also get free shipping at Target.com. Those savings add up and just might get more customers to buy more items more often for more savings. See how that works? No more explanation needed.

Reward customer loyalty and entice them to come back again and again with proven customer rewards programs. When you show them some love, they’ll show it right back!