When your average customer is willing to drop thousands of dollars for one pair of shoes, it’s worth keeping them around. Keeping this in mind, U.K.-based premium sneaker brand Side Kicks decided to prioritize its customer retention strategy. 

In the sneaker re-sell market, Side Kicks works with sellers and end consumers to offer rare, limited-edition shoes without carrying an expensive inventory. In a competitive market where demand consistently exceeds supply, founder Mo Farhadi knew they would have to operate differently to stand out. 


“A lot of companies in this space don’t really fight to win over customers in the long term because they know that customers need the shoes from them rather than the brand needing the customers to buy the shoe. We want to focus on volume, customer loyalty, and retention for the long term.”
– Mo Farhadi, Founder of Side Kicks

Combining a VIP program with experiential rewards 

Most luxury brands want to preserve their image as elite brands by limiting discounts, sales, or reward programs. However, when used correctly, a VIP rewards program can set you apart from competitors in the eyes of your customers. And that’s exactly what Side Kicks has done. 

The premium sneaker brand operates in the luxury re-sell sneaker market. With limited editions often costing thousands of dollars for one pair, it’s clear that customers value the exclusivity and status that comes with the product. Side Kicks recognized early on that their industry was unique in that customer demand will always supersede supply. 

The challenge then became figuring out how to retain customers long-term. The solution?

A VIP loyalty program packed with unique, exclusive, experiential rewards that customers value. The program has three tiers that customers can reach—Golden after spending £2,500, Diamond after spending £7,500, and Onyx after spending £15,000 in a calendar year. 

Should You Offer Transactional or Experiential Rewards?

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