Hard Data on the Choices that Make or Break Loyalty Programs

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If your loyalty program requires too many steps to sign up or takes too long to offer meaningful rewards, you can forget earning the trust of today’s consumers, who flag those hiccups as major roadblocks to engaging with a loyalty program, and who typically actively use three of fewer such programs.

A new report from loyalty marketing firm Kobie Marketing provides cutting-edge insight on the habits and preferences of consumers vis-à-vis loyalty programs. Brands are trotting out these services to capture customers’ attention at a time when retail giants with vast digital resources loom large.

Here are the report’s highlights:

Ask for sign-ups at the point of sale. 38% of customers indicate a preference for signing up for loyalty programs as they check out. This compares to about 20% preferring a follow-up email and only 14% wanting to sign up as they walk into a store.

It’s all about points and prices. 34% of consumers identify price as the most important factor determining whether they’ll return to a retailer for future purchases. That means your loyalty program should be providing clear benefits to that end. At the same time, consumers love points: 86% say “earning points for rewards” is a major pull of a good loyalty strategy. 

For many, efficiency means a swipe card. Among the many types of loyalty modalities out there, swipe cards earn the approbation of two-thirds of consumers of all ages. 22% identify this sort of loyalty program as the one they would most like to join.

Age matters. Gen-Zers—defined in this study as people 21 and younger—are, likely to the surprise of many, the generation most concerned with giving away too much personal information. Gen-Zers prefer that a brand demonstrate that it really knows them and can cater to their preferences, while millennials prefer convenience and discounts. Gen-Xers, born between 1965 and 1979, value quality; they’re less likely to be saving pennies and are more likely to value a strong product.

The report draws from a survey of over 1,000 consumers across four generations. 

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]