Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



Why Loyalty is More of a Must-Have Than Ever Before

Posted by Dean Asher on 4/2/15 12:00 AM
Topics: customer loyalty

Do you have a loyalty program at your store yet? A recently-released Bond Brand Loyalty survey reveals that enrollment levels in consumer loyalty programs have reached an all-time high, according to RetailCustomerExperience.com. Consumers are continuing to find them valuable, and students are no exception. Check out the full story here.

The survey of more than 10,000 consumers found that one-third of consumers agree they would not be loyal to the brand if it were not for a loyalty program, and 70 percent of consumers modify when and where they shop to maximize points, up 13 percent over the past two years. In addition, loyalty programs were found to be a top contributor to brand loyalty, ranking higher than factors such as product and service availability, overall price and communications from the brand, the company said in announcing the survey results.

Uncovering loyalty insights

According to Bond, the survey engaged more than 10,000 consumers to uncover insights on brands and loyalty initiatives used in industries such as retail, consumer packaged goods, financial services, entertainment and dining. Key findings are included in the newly released 2015 Loyalty Report, available for download at www.bondbrandloyalty.com.

While the number of programs in which members are enrolled continues to grow, from about 10 programs per person in 2014 to more than 13 per person in 2015, the number of programs in which members are active is not experiencing the same level of growth. "While points and discounts drive behaviors, companies need to engage with consumers at a deeper level if they want to extend program loyalty into genuine brand loyalty," said Scott Robinson, senior director of loyalty consulting and solutions for Bond Brand Loyalty. "This necessitates thinking beyond a program's monetary incentives to focus on how it can better serve customers or make their experience with the brand more enjoyable, including fulfilling customer needs."

According to consumers, the three top functional-based satisfaction drivers in loyalty and rewards programs are the appeal of the rewards, the ease with which rewards can be redeemed, and the amount accumulated per dollar spent. However, experience-based drivers are equally as weighty in terms of their influence on overall program satisfaction. The three top experience-based drivers are effort to participate, the program meeting needs and enjoyment of program experience.

"Brands with established loyalty programs now must make the shift to the future of loyalty and an experience-based model that is consistent with the overall brand," Bond Brand Loyalty President and CEO Bob Macdonald said in the announcement. "It's more important than ever that companies focus on their best customers, and their data, to design a more personalized and authentic experience, which can help build stronger, more meaningful bonds with customers."

When it comes to mobile, strategic and creative approaches to engage consumers are equally essential. Almost 50 percent of consumers want to engage with programs via mobile, yet the study reveals the presence of what Bond says could be termed "mobile loyalty app-athy." While 12 percent of consumers have downloaded a program app (up 5 percent over last year), still 61 percent of smartphone owners are not aware whether the loyalty programs in which they are enrolled offer a mobile app.

Only 30 percent of consumers surveyed strongly agree that loyalty program experiences are consistent with their brand or company experiences, and nearly one-fifth strongly agree that it would be easy to replace a program with one from the competition, further illustrating the need for brands to build more unique experiences.

About Dean Asher

Dean Asher is a former copywriter with MBS. Though he no longer writes for us, he is still proud of having helped this blog continue to evolve as an industry-leading resource of news and original content.

Article comments