Study Reveals Consumers Want Loyalty Program Shift

Sixty-four percent of all consumers still find it appealing to earn points for purchases, but there is a need to shift the role loyalty plays within the consumer journey, according to a study by Helloworld, a digital marketing solutions provider.

The report, which examines generational consumer sentiments toward loyalty programs, as well as areas where brands can pivot to accommodate consumer preferences, reveals that while traditional models remain successful, there is a growing appetite for innovation.

Findings suggest that rewards must stretch beyond foundational “spend-and-earn” models. For example, 75% of consumers indicated they want to be rewarded for things like watching a brand video or taking a survey, suggesting that time is increasingly perceived as a form of currency.

Non-traditional loyalty programs are steadily resonating with consumers. Seventy percent of consumers  overwhelmingly like the idea of programs partnering with other brands to increase ways to earn loyalty points. However, younger consumers are more inclined to prioritize innovative tactics in loyalty programs, with 55% of Millennials and 38% of Gen-Xers expressing a preference for surprise and delight tactics, a feat less appealing among Baby Boomers (23%). Meanwhile, 40% of Millennials believe loyalty programs should offer interactive games, emphasizing the importance of engagement and creating fun, meaningful brand connections.

The report also examines common pain points consumers across generations encounter within loyalty programs, with the greatest frustration being the amount of time it takes to redeem points. 53% of all consumers said it takes too long to earn a reward, suggesting that programs should be designed for instant gratification with frequent rewards built in. 32% of consumers also worry about the security of their personal information, with consumers also citing too many communications and rewards that aren’t valuable as additional pain points.

“When it comes to brand engagement, the investment in driving consumer loyalty is more prominent than ever,” said Michela Baxter, Senior Director of Loyalty at HelloWorld. “However, as programs become ubiquitous, brands across industries must devise ways to connect with consumers and create experiences that directly correspond to their needs. This report arms brands with actionable insight into consumers’ sentiments towards loyalty program across generations, helping them bolster meaningful relationships and provide rewards that truly delight audiences.”

Highlights of 2017 Loyalty Barometer Report: What Consumers Think of Loyalty & Reward Programs

Consumers believe a loyalty program should:

  • Offer personalized rewards – 77%
  • Recognize them when they make a purchase – 72%
  • Partner with brands to increase ways to earn – 70%
  • Have exclusive services – 66%
  • Have unique experiences – 59%
  • Let shoppers combine points with family and friends – 58%
  • Offer fun games – 29%

When it comes to loyalty programs, consumers prefer:

  • Discounts and offers – 82%
  • Free products – 77%
  • Free services – 66%
  • Priority customer service – 39%
  • Surprises from the company – 38%
  • Members-only products – 25%
  • Members-only events – 20%

 

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