US consumers are attracted to loyalty programs, especially those that offer free products or discounts. That’s not to say, however, that consumers don’t wish for some improvements in these programs. According to a new report [download page] from Merkle, first and foremost, consumers wish it didn’t take so long to earn a reward.
Close to half (45%) of the 1,500 US consumers (ages 18-65) surveyed say that the thing they like least about the loyalty or reward programs they belong to is that it takes too long to earn rewards. So, what are consumers willing to do to earn those rewards quicker?
Previous research found that more than 6 in 10 (63%) consumers participating in loyalty programs modify their brand spend in order to get the maximum benefits from them. Merkle found that there are non-transactional actions consumers are willing to take to achieve their rewards faster. Seven in 10 (71%) consumers say they are willing to participate in surveys, while another two-thirds (65%) say they would willingly answer poll questions.
While answering surveys and poll questions could help customers earn loyalty rewards quicker, there is an added benefit for brands in that these surveys and polls also act as a way to collect more customer data in order to further marketing efforts.
That said, an earlier study by Merkle shows that marketers could do a better job when it comes to using the loyalty program data they already have.
Additionally, while two-fifths (41%) of the consumers surveyed for this newer report say they like to be able to personalize their experience, they are cautious about some of the data they are willing to let brands use to create a more relevant reward experience. While many are comfortable with brands using their purchase history (59%) and gender (53%), far fewer are at ease with brands using data involving their current location (29%), address (25%) or income (21%).
Consumers are also willing to write online reviews (43%), download apps (42%), view brand content such as videos or articles (37%), follow the brand’s social media accounts (31%) and refer a product or service to a friend (29%) to get their loyalty rewards faster. And, while 28% say they would go to a physical retail location or attend an event (28%), fewer say they are willing to share a brand’s content on social media (23%) or participate in a lifestyle-related activity (20%).
Consumers Prefer Earning Points
Consumers like rewards schemes that enable them to earn benefits such as free products (75%), discounts (71%) and free samples (67%).
Per the report, earning points for rewards is the favorite loyalty program scheme. Although this has not changed from a year ago, at that time earning points tied with programs that offer $10 rewards when customers spend $100 (a scheme which dropped to #3 this year). With consumers searching for ways to earn rewards quicker, the #2 preferred loyalty program this year is being able to earn points for purchasing across many retailers (up from #4 last year). And, rounding out the top 5 are the option of getting a new reward every Monday (#4) and receiving a surprise reward for participating (#5).
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Results are based on findings from a 2019 survey of 1,500 US consumers ages 18-65.