Chipotle’s loyalty program is tops in Canada

The latest LoyalT study adopts a new methodology that captures how personalized content drives engagement.

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Chipotle’s loyalty program is sizzling, but coalition programs are losing ground with Canadians.

That’s according to the fifth iteration of the LoyaltT study by Leger and R3 Marketing in collaboration with Dialog Insight, which polled 10,000 Canadian respondents. And first time entrant Chipotle claimed top loyalty program honours overall in engagement, behaviour and attachment, with another first timer, Proxi Extra by Harnois energies, a runner-up.

This year’s LoyalT study comes with an “attachment” score reflecting the “Attachment Index,” which replaces for the Recommendation Index and Net Promoter Score (NPS) previously used to determine the rankings. This is because it was found that NPS had very little correlation with overall program performance – while NPS will still be tracked, the scores are now based on engagement, behaviour and attachment.

Despite methodological changes, some stalwart brands and retailers remain in the top ten, carried over from last year’s loyalty program rankings: these include PC Optimum (last year’s fifth-place program, which recently ran a large contest to drive app downloads and has jumped up to third), Starbucks Rewards (last year’s second, now in fifth), Metro’s metro&moi (eighth to tenth), EKO’s Milliplein (staying at foruth) and the SAQ Inspire program (from ninth to eighth).

Other than Chipotle, the results reveal another newcomer gracing the top ten: Domino’s Pizza for its Piece of the Pie Rewards, ranked seventh overall.

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Notable exits from the top ten include Tims Rewards (third place last year), Petro Points (seventh) and Walmart Rewards (tenth). Coalition programs also underperformed, with Aeroplan having fewer and fewer retail partners and none of Air Miles’ partner programs making the top 20.

According to Paul Lafortune, partner at R3 Marketing, programs that produce personalized content and offers based on transactional data continue to outperform those whose main actions are to award points based on total spend and push promos to members.

The LoyalT study’s analyses reveal a direct correlation between content personalization and the program’s ability to modify the purchasing behaviour of its members in terms of more frequent visits and annual purchases. The same is true for the correlation between the generosity users see a program as having and the impact it has on their purchasing behaviour.

Leger says loyalty program usage has not yet returned to normal. In 2018, 87% of members regularly presented their cards and, since the pandemic, 69% have done so. And although Canadians are members of more programs – 13.5 programs on average in 2021, compared to 10 in 2020 – only 53% of them are actually used. When it comes to program participation, there is a slight overindexing of people under 35, 26% of whom take part in loyalty programs, compared with 22% for the 35-54 set.

Among the other study highlights, 47% Canadians use a mobile device to view loyalty program communiques, up by 5% from the year prior.

Lastly, 44% of respondents are members of Amazon Prime, which, in two years, has seen almost 20% membership growth.