Discounts still king for loyalty perks: study

Three-quarters of Canadians want money off their purchase, while customized content is increasingly becoming important, a new report finds.
loyalty cards

More than a quarter of Canadians would ditch a preferred brand if it cancelled its loyalty program, a new report from Bond Brand Loyalty found.

The report, which surveyed 5,500 Canadians, found that 29% of them would likely stop shopping at a store or buying a brand, should that brand remove its loyalty card program.

The report also studied the relationship between brand love and program love – that is how many people would buy the brand and remain loyal even without some program in play and how many people enjoy the loyalty program – and found that consumers often love a brand, but feel indifferent towards the retention program. When someone has brand love, the study found, they are also willing to overlook imperfections in communication and customer service. For those who loved the brand’s loyalty program, it all came down to price in order to retain a customer’s affinity.

The study also found that more than half of people who are part of a loyalty program consider it a consistent experience with the brand overall (in other words, they closely associate the brand experience with that of the loyalty program). Those who experience this consistency are three times more likely to have satisfied customers, the report also found.

Co-branded credit cards (such as travel rewards), had the highest brand-alignment scores at 95%, while only 55% of people considered retail loyalty programs to be consistent with the parent company brand.

When it comes to the most important loyalty program benefits to consumers, discounts rated top at 74%, followed by rebates (70%), cash back (68%), earning a status (58%), brand recognition (43%) or personalized experience (42%). And though less than half of Canadians wanted personalized experience, members of loyalty programs expect more customization, especially in communication. Of those who reported highest satisfaction with their program, 91% said customized communication they received was very relevant. What’s more, 69% of people who participated in the top 10-ranked programs by satisfaction said they “always read” communication from a loyalty program, compared to 32% from the lowest-ranked by satisfaction programs.

Among “customized” content, personalized discounts based on purchasing habits ranked top (50%), followed by personalized offers based on preferences you manage (45%), invitations to local events/ online communities (29%) and special benefits for those who like/follow on social media (27%).

However, it’s a delicate balance: 37% said loyalty programs were asking them for more personal information than they were willing to give.