October 13, 2023

The North Face Case Study: A Deep Dive into its Customer Loyalty Program

Triyon Sengupta

In the competitive realm of outdoor and athletic gear, customer loyalty can be the decisive factor for a brand's success.

The North Face, a renowned player in this industry, has demonstrated a keen understanding of this fact. This case study explores the brand's innovative approach to fostering customer loyalty, particularly through its revamped loyalty program known as XPLR Pass.


The Genesis: From VIPeak to XPLR Pass

The North Face has long recognized the value of customer engagement and loyalty in propelling sales. The brand initially introduced its VIPeak program as a means to strengthen its customer relations within its direct-to-consumer model. However, in April 2021, the brand ushered in a new era by replacing VIPeak with the XPLR Pass program. This strategic decision aimed to enhance the loyalty program structure and amplify the brand's commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience.

How XPLR Pass Operates

The North Face's XPLR Pass program is an evolved and improved version of the previous VIPeak program. It extends a 10 percent discount on the first purchase to new members. Additionally, it employs a points system where members earn a point for every dollar they spend.

Members can join the program for free, either in-store or through the company's website. Once enrolled, they can earn points through online or physical store purchases. The points are redeemable for rewards, with every 100 points equating to a $10 reward.

Ways to Earn Points

Ways to earn in XPLR Pass

Members can accumulate points in various ways:

  • Referring a friend: Each successful referral earns the member 25 points.
  • Shopping from Renewed Collection: This earns the member 25 points (exclusive to U.S shoppers).
  • Downloading the mobile app: This earns 10 points.
  • Using the mobile app for in-store check-in: This offers an extra 5 points per month for one location.
  • Being environmentally friendly: Members earn 10 points twice a year for using reusable bags during shopping.
  • Exploring iconic locations: Members can earn 5 points a month for checking in at a national monument or park using their mobile app.
  • Participating in surveys: This earns members extra points.

Rewards are issued three times a year, and unused points expire 12 months after acquisition. Members receive email notifications to redeem their rewards and can do so online or in-store.

Strengths of the XPLR Pass Program

One of the standout features of the XPLR Pass program is its visibility. The program is prominently displayed on every product page, encouraging new and regular customers to join. The direct link to the XPLR Pass landing page allows potential members to easily learn more about the program.

The program also offers generous rewards, thereby adding value to customers' purchases and potentially increasing Customer Lifetime Value. The spend-and-earn model allows customers to accumulate points and rewards quickly.

XPLR Pass vs VIPeak: Spotting the Differences

Although XPLR Pass is essentially a rebranded VIPeak program, several differences exist between the two. The VIPeak program offered 10 peak points for each dollar spent online or at retail stores and 5 Peak points for each dollar spent at the outlets. XPLR Pass simplified the structure, offering a point per dollar spent.

Another difference lies in the exclusive privileges. VIPeak members could attend global expeditions, movie premieres, and annual VIPeak events. XPLR Pass has yet to introduce such benefits.

The Improvements in XPLR Pass

The XPLR Pass program exhibits some notable improvements over the VIPeak program. For instance, the point-earning capacity is clearer, and customers need fewer points to redeem rewards. The program has also introduced new ways to earn points, thereby increasing chances for members to earn rewards.

The XPLR Pass program offers additional perks such as gear field-tests, dedicated customer service, birthday surprises, and exclusive deals. These elements were not present in the VIPeak program.

Drawbacks of the XPLR Pass Program

A notable drawback of the XPLR Pass program is the absence of exclusive local events and VIPeak Travel that were part of the VIPeak program. Despite this, the North Face has made significant strides in improving its loyalty program by prioritizing customer satisfaction.


The North Face's transition from VIPeak to XPLR Pass demonstrates the brand's commitment to elevating its customer experience. While the program has room for improvement, it has already shown promising results in fostering customer loyalty. Brands seeking to enhance their customer loyalty programs can glean valuable insights from the North Face case study.

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