Canadians' choices swayed by loyalty schemes

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on April 18, 2011

Canadians' choices swayed by loyalty schemes

Almost all Canadians (94%) are now members of at least one loyalty programme, and many of these consumers say they strategically shop to maximize their points-earning capability, according to the latest in a series of 'Insights' papers by Maritz Canada.

The report, entitled 'Maritz Insights: The Loyalty Report', found that the most common loyalty programme strategies adopted by consumers include changing when and where items are purchased, focusing on a specific loyalty programme to attain certain rewards, and changing to different brands to earn points more quickly.

"Understanding human motivation is key to the success of a loyalty programme," explained Rob Daniel, managing director of research and loyalty for Maritz Canada. "Some 60% of Canadians agree that loyalty programmes increase the chance that they will continue doing business with certain retailers. In fact, the most successful card companies have designed their programmes with members at the top of their mind."

But by far the biggest barrier to joining a loyalty programme turned out to be the consumer's perceived value of the offer. The company's study revealed what Canadians intend to do with their rewards:

  • Relax or make life easier: 45%;  
  • Earn things they otherwise could not acquire: 40%;  
  • Redeem for adventurous, exciting events: 31%;  
  • Use points to 'splurge': 24%.

The company's analysis revealed that the ability to earn points and obtain desired rewards is currently the greatest driver of member satisfaction (42%), while 40% of loyalty programme members said they would like to see improvements in the redemption process, and 53% said they would like to be automatically alerted when they reach a particular points balance.

The research also found that, in general, loyalty programme operators could be doing a much better job of member communication, with only 38% of members saying they felt that loyalty programmes do a very good job of communicating with them.

Financial institutions appear to have designed the most pleasing loyalty programmes, according to the study. More of these programmes' members are satisfied than members of other coalition and retail loyalty programmes. Among the retail programmes in Canada, Scene and Shoppers Optimum fared best for member satisfaction.

"Canadians are sophisticated users of loyalty programmes, and companies cannot take their customers' loyalty for granted," concluded Daniel. "Our survey found that consumers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty with points that accumulate quickly and translate into the goods or services they have been eyeing. The fact that 68% of Canadians said they had passively left a loyalty programme suggests that companies must do more to retain their members."

The insights paper has been made available for free download from the Maritz Canada web site - click here (PDF document; no registration needed).

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