Saturday, 13 August 2011

Where next for the LEGO VIP Program?

Over a year and a half ago LEGO came up with a new way to reward customers who buy from them directly, and now it’s been rolled out to any country that LEGO ships to online. Recently LEGO have been surveying fans to find out where the LEGO VIP scheme should take us next. There were a variety of ideas, are any of them the best way forward?

Initially, the LEGO VIP scheme simply replaced the previous version of the loyalty card. In its old incarnation, taking your card along to the LEGO shop got you stamps for every £15 you spent (more or less depending on the country), and then gift vouchers every time you collected eight stamps. The benefit of the new VIP card is that every £1 you spend gets you a point, and points can be collected in store, online or over the telephone. Just as long as it’s a LEGO branded shop or LEGO Shop at Home selling you the stuff.

Since then, there have been special promotions in which certain items each month earn the customer double the regular amount of points, or 100 bonus points get added to large items. But a recent survey from LEGO suggested that now the company wishes to give us a little more reward than points. This makes sense, since the it takes a lot of points to earn rewards, and many of us probably need a bit more incentive to buy from LEGO directly rather than wandering into a local toy shop.

Some of the ideas in the survey seem more appealing than others. “Exclusive access to building instruction downloads” is an ambiguous one. If this means we get alternative instructions for models, it sounds exciting. But if this means that regular building instructions, that currently anyone can download, are only available to VIP members it doesn’t seem like a reward or bonus at all.

“Access to exclusive products only available for VIP members to purchase” sounds interesting, as how would this work? LEGO Shop at Home already have exclusive products, what sort of product could only be available to VIP members? It couldn’t be a huge, £100+ set as these need the biggest market possible. Equally, it would have to be different enough to make people want it. I don’t know if the upcoming collectable Minifigure 5-pack would cut it.

“Exclusive access to online master building classes” sounds appealing. Unfortunately I don’t tend to make the time to build creatively as much as I would like, however something like this would certainly give me the extra encouragement. This sort of exclusive, that wouldn’t mean spending more money (like extra exclusives) or isn’t boring as heck (like free shipping) seems to strike a good balance. “VIP access to LEGO events” sounds similar, but these sort of rewards tend to be very limiting depending where the VIP member lives.

“Exclusive access to free printed LEGO bricks and other collectibles” is also promising, as this really does sound like something unique, and again doesn’t mean spending additional money. As long as it is handled better than the woefully under stocked Shadow ARF Trooper mini-figure then it could be the best idea of the bunch.

No matter which of these rewards goes forward, if any, means too much though. No child will be left out of a “LEGO Store birthday”. Because the VIP scheme is free to join. Anyone who can be bothered to click "sign up" gets to be a VIP. So perhaps what these rewards are really about, rather than incentivising those of us who have already joined it, is encouraging new customers to join the scheme. So let’s hope in pursuing those customers, LEGO gives us all a little extra for our hard spent cash.

For details on the LEGO VIP Program, take this link.