Loyalty schemes ‘must get under skin of shoppers’

loyalty-cards-2Consumers’ appetite for loyalty schemes is showing no sign of waning but – and this is a big but – brands must make their programmes far more engaging if they want to attract the next generation of shoppers.
That is according to a new report by ICLP, which reveals that effective loyalty programmes need to get under customers’ skin and cater to what they value most, such as being greeted by name when entering a store, and personalised offers or VIP events, in order to drive engagement.
Of course, the findings have to be tempered by the fact that ICLP is a loyalty company so it does have its own agenda. Nevertheless, with retailers such as Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Waitrose recently embracing loyalty schemes for the first time, and Co-op, Morrisons and Nectar overhauling their programmes, the findings will give retailers a pointer to what customers expect.
While consumer interest in loyalty programmes is high – three-fifths (59%) of shoppers stated they would be encouraged to shop more with a brand if it had a loyalty scheme – retailers need to look beyond traditional points-based programmes to find ways to inspire higher or more frequent spend from shoppers.
Other findings include:
· 63% of all shoppers would be encouraged to shop more frequently or spend more with a brand if they received discounts on future purchases
· 36% of consumers expect offers that are personalised and relevant to them when they walk into a store, showing that many expect retailers to use data insights to create a more valuable, customer-centric relationship
· So-called Millennials are much more likely than Generation X and Baby Boomers to be driven to loyalty through a personal approach, as a quarter will be loyal to brands that offer a stylist to advise them based on purchases, and 22% claim suggestions based on past purchases drive their loyalty
· 18% of consumers are likely to spend more in a retail store where they are greeted by name and made to feel like a valued customer
· Companies that are able to send receipts via email get more repeat visits from consumers, as this is something 22% of those questioned stated would lead them to shop more frequently with a retailer
· Increasingly, consumers will choose retailers that offer money-can’t-buy experiences (11%) or a stylist to advise on purchases (11%) over those that don’t offer personalised benefits. This shows the need for loyalty programmes that offer unique and exclusive experiences
ICLP general manager Jason De Winne points the the fact that retail continues to evolve at a rapid rate, with brands both online and offline battling for loyalty in an increasingly crowded space. Gone are the days when a loyalty card alone would encourage consumers to choose a particular retailer above all others – the stakes are much higher now, he insists.
De Winne added: “Personal, unique rewards are more important as loyalty drivers than price alone. To win in this competitive retail landscape, brands need to focus on creating loyalty programmes that generate insight and enable retailers to entice customers back with relevant offers – encouraging them to spend and shop more frequently.
“From money-can’t-buy experiences to personal greetings and a strong social media presence, customers want to ensure their hard-earned cash is spent with brands that are prepared to invest in a meaningful and personal relationship.”

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