Endowed Progress EffectOpen Access

Endowed Progress Effect

We reach our goals faster when we have help getting started

Giving customers a helping start to reach the new goals you’ve set out for them will lead to greater brand loyalty over time.

Nunes, J. C., & Drèze, X. (2006). The endowed progress effect: How artificial advancement increases effort. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(4), 504-512.

The study

Setup

300 customers at a car wash were split into two groups and given one of two different loyalty cards for a free wash upon completion: either one with space for 8 stamps or one for 10 (with 2 spaces pre-stamped).

Results

Despite both cards requiring the same amount of effort, completion of the non-pre-stamped 8 card over a 9-month period was only 19% whereas the pre-stamped 10-card was 34%.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Get them started. Endow progress with a fraction of points, stars or a brand-specific measure. Make sure you endow enough to motivate use, aiming for between 10-25% of the total effort required for the first reward.  As well as helping with initial effort, make the reward itself substantial and meaningful to assist habit-forming.

Takeaway image

Never endow at the end. The closer we are to a goal, the more we value our own internal efforts to complete it. Doing so on their behalf will devalue existing effort, perceived reward value and reduce loyalty strength.

Takeaway image

Make it seamless. In Christmas 2013, 1 in 8 Americans got a Starbucks Gift Card. On redemption they were automatically endowed with progress in the form of loyalty stars, creating 1.5m new loyalty members as a result. How can you seamlessly channel gift customers through to your loyalty scheme?

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
Endowed Progress Effect

Endowed Progress Effect

We reach our goals faster when we have help getting started

Giving customers a helping start to reach the new goals you’ve set out for them will lead to greater brand loyalty over time.

The study

Setup

300 customers at a car wash were split into two groups and given one of two different loyalty cards for a free wash upon completion: either one with space for 8 stamps or one for 10 (with 2 spaces pre-stamped).

Results

Despite both cards requiring the same amount of effort, completion of the non-pre-stamped 8 card over a 9-month period was only 19% whereas the pre-stamped 10-card was 34%.

study graph
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