The Secrets of Consumer Loyalty

sessionm Apr. 30, 2014

Trust. Honesty. Give and take.

To kick off our new series on loyalty, we wanted to see what loyalty means in its most basic sense to consumers. So we asked! We surveyed over 2,000 of the consumers who take part in the loyalty program we power for our publisher partners, to find out what loyalty means to them and how it impacts their relationship with brands.

The first thing we learned is that loyalty is catching. 43% of our respondents say they belong to 3 or more loyalty programs. The most popular category of loyalty participation, with 69%, was Supermarkets & Grocery.

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When asked how a loyalty program impacts their relationship with a brand, 48%responded that it depended on what the loyalty program offered, while 28% said they were more likely to use that brand.

You might have expected an even higher percentage of respondents would have said they’re more likely to use a brand when they have a loyalty card. However, what these two data points suggest is that consumer loyalty directly corresponds to the value being offered. When we asked respondents to actually define what loyalty means to them in an open-ended question, their true expectations for a brand loyalty program become clear.

Trust, honesty, give and take: these are relationship words. Sure, most of us love to feel like we get exclusive treatment and we enjoy the perks of membership — me included.

But what it really seems to come down to for consumers is the balanced relationship  — a “partnership” as many called it, that provides equal value to all involved. Consumers understand that brands want their hearts, minds and wallets. In return, they want consistent loyalty that is a two-way street. To stay interested in a brand they need to feel the brand is interested in them.

Special offers and discounts are tangible ways to show this interest, but only if they’re ones that the consumer actually values. Consumers crave the give and take. They want to show their loyalty, but only if we can find personally meaningful ways to maintain that balance and show them loyalty in return.

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