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Loyalty Programs - have we finally cracked it?

I’m here at the 101st NRF Annual Convention and EXPO, and this year’s show is all about using technology to meet the changing needs and desires of consumers. Retail loyalty programs are one of the most successful and proven strategies for learning about and engaging with their customers.

With this in mind, we’re pleased to share findings from a new ACI Worldwide survey that found retail loyalty programs are working – the majority of American consumers report feeling their loyalty programs deliver benefits that are important to them.

Compared to similar research released by ACI Worldwide previously, the results show a marked increase in the number of consumers who are members of loyalty schemes, up from 74 percent in December 2010 to 84 percent now. This increase tallies with an apparent increase in the influence of loyalty schemes with 84 percent of members likely to choose a retailer over its competitor if they were members of the retailer’s loyalty program. Previously, nearly half (49%) of loyalty program members said that they never or rarely take advantage of loyalty program perks when shopping online.

This year’s survey also found women favor loyalty schemes more than men – with 91 percent of women having at least one loyalty scheme, compared to 77 percent of men. Men are also less likely to join as many loyalty schemes as women, with only 18% being members of more than three schemes, compared to 36% of women.

Additionally, the study revealed age plays a role in the level of consumer satisfaction with loyalty programs. More than 3 out of 4 consumers age 18-44 are pleased with the benefits they receive from their loyalty programs. However, satisfaction declines more than 10 percentage points when consumers reach age 45. On average, only 65 percent of consumers age 45 and older feel their loyalty card programs deliver valued benefits. With this in mind, retailers need to look more closely at the benefits they are providing to their customers in this age group.

Considering four out of five Americans (84 percent) are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, this adds up to a big opportunity for retailers when executed correctly. Although it takes time to build a successful loyalty program, the payoff is significant – we are now seeing proof that loyalty schemes are resonating with consumers and creating customer loyalty.

The key to success is placing the customer experience at the center of a retailer’s loyalty and rewards strategy. ACI is making it easy for retailers to integrate their loyalty and rewards programs so they can do what the programs were intended – create greater consumer loyalty.

You can find us at Booth #1362. Enjoy the show!

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