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Loyalty Newswire
January 30, 2024

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on January 30, 2024

This Week's News

The weekly Loyalty Newswire from The Wise Marketer delivers a curated list of the latest news and announcements from around the globe on all topics related to customer loyalty. We share news on a spectrum of topics, all with the intention of giving you an “info boost” to start your week.

The Loyalty Newswire makes it simple for busy professionals (that means YOU) to quickly digest important industry news and to *maybe even* enable you to star in your next big meeting.

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Thanks for being on this journey with us!

Stay. Loyal. Always.

U.S. Convenience Store Census Shows Continued Growth

According to the just released 2024 NACS/NIQ Convenience Industry Store Count, there are 152,396 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.5% increase from last year’s totals. Although industry attention gravitates to big chains like 7 Eleven, Circle K, Casey’s, Wawa, and others that fill out the Top 100 list, the bulk of the industry is composed of operators with between 1-10 stores. These smaller operators compose 63.1% of all US convenience stores with 96,156 locations. Of this total 91,799 are single-store operators.

The national distribution has a barbell shape as chains with over 500 locations ranked second with 32K locations or 21.6% of the total. The report goes on to say that based on an estimated US population of 336 million, there is about one store per every 2,204 people. The NACS report is based on stores in operation as of December 31, 2023.

New Merkle report shows AI-powered technologies are critical to the future of brand experiences

Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, has released the latest instalment of its Imperatives research, sharing insights into what customers are looking for in 2024 and highlighting the consumer appetite for AI-powered technologies to deliver better digital journeys.

The research, which surveyed 2,100 consumers and 820 brands across 18 countries and three continents, found that 87% of consumers believe that Natural Language Processing (NLP) driven by AI would improve their brand experience. In addition, 83% reported the same positive sentiment about smart devices, while 82% also said the Metaverse, Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) would improve their brand experience. You can read the full press release on the Wise Marketer and download the report here.

Loyalty Academy CLMP™ Certification Workshop planned for 27-29 February in Dubai

The Loyalty Academy™ and QBF Consulting are presenting a public Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional™ Workshop to be held in Dubai 27-29 February. The workshop will be led by Chayya and Manav Fernandez, principles of QBF Consulting. For those who wish to achieve the distinction of Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional™ (CLMP), this workshop is for you! More information can be found here.

Antavo releases its 2024 Global Customer Loyalty Report 

You’ve probably seen accolades for this report on LinkedIn and yes, the 2024 Global Customer Loyalty Report from Antavo has been released and is available for download. Wise Marketer contributed to this report along with many others as Antavo analyzed over 30 million loyalty member actions, surveyed more than 600 loyalty executives, and recorded 1,500 minutes of qualitative interviews with experts in the field.

The report helps decision-makers better navigate the world of loyalty programs and provides statistics, charts, and actionable insights on how to invest wisely in the current economic climate. By reading the report, you can learn how top global loyalty execs are preparing their loyalty strategies for the future and get fresh insights into topics including micro-targeting, diversified reward options, premium loyalty programs, and more upcoming loyalty trends. Get your copy here and power up your loyalty program.

Bilt Rewards reaches valuation milestone

As outlined in this post, Bilt Rewards announced a $3.1 billion valuation after raising $200 million in a round led by General Catalyst with participation from Eldridge Industries & others. The startup, led by CEO Ankur Jain, added Kenneth I. Chenault as chair as part of the transaction. Look for an interview with Bilt Rewards SVP, Head of Loyalty and Partnerships, Dave Canty here soon.

5 Feb will be a big day for McDonalds and its Loyalty Program

McDonalds stock is up 7% in the past year, but Wall Street is expecting more growth ahead of the company’s latest quarterly results on Feb. 5. During 2023, economic uncertainty, rising costs and fears around the impact of new weight-loss drugs negatively impacted the share values of some fast food stocks. For McDonalds, the story may be different, and it could be their new loyalty program that is making a big contribution.

As cited here, Citi analyst Jon Tower anticipates breakfast challenges for the entire industry but called McDonald's digital efforts and massive scale a "core advantage." "McDonald's has done a phenomenal job of … ramping this mobile order ahead and loyalty program in the US," Tower told Yahoo Finance Live. He added that higher app usage will allow better data collection, enabling McDonald’s to gain more insights into customers and their behaviors, added Towers.

Red Cross has connections with multiple travel loyalty programs

The Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to people affected by disasters and supplies about 40% of the US blood supply. Winter storms forced the cancelation of more than 530 American Red Cross blood drives in January, leading to as many as 15,000 blood and platelet donations going uncollected in the first month of the year. As a result, the Red Cross must collect an additional 8,000 blood donations each week over the next few weeks to recover from the current blood shortage.

The Red Cross has created an extensive partner network in two categories, Cause Marketing and Consumer Loyalty programs. It is striking to see the long list of loyalty programs that allow members to convert points into donations to the Red Cross. Included are Citi ThankYou® Rewards, Discover Cash Back Bonus, Wells Fargo Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club, Best Western Rewards, and Choice Privileges. Now might be the time to consider such a donation if you are so inclined, but at a minimum, the Red Cross partner network is an illustration of how loyalty programs can serve a greater good.

UK Loyalty programs under investigation by Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Loyalty schemes such as Tesco’s Clubcard and Sainsbury’s Nectar came under formal investigation this week as the UK’s competition watchdog launched a probe into whether their labelling misleads shoppers. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) plans a review of loyalty scheme pricing by supermarkets, considering its impact on consumers and competition in the groceries sector.

These news sources cite that CMA will assess whether deals advertised under club schemes are as attractive as advertised or if only giving good deals to scheme members is discriminatory. Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said there has been an increase in the use of loyalty scheme pricing by supermarkets, which means that price promotions are only available to people who sign up for loyalty cards. “This raises a number of questions about the impact of loyalty scheme pricing on consumers and competition and the CMA will launch a review in January 2024,” she said. An interim report is expected in July with a full report by the end of the year.

ID.me crosses threshold of 50 million Users

ID.me, the market-leading secure digital identity network, announced today it has reached a major milestone with 50 million users verified to the federal standards for consumer authentication, NIST Identity Assurance Level 2. This market adoption marks a transformation for customer experience tied to login and identity verification.

Once users have created an ID.me login and verified their identity, they are fast-tracked to easily access services across hundreds of governments, private sector, and non-profit organizations. Similar to payment wallets, ID.me's identity wallet allows registered users to simply login and consent to release their previously verified identity to access services at multiple agencies. If you want to hear a powerful case study of how Sonny’s BBQ and Verizon put ID.me to use, listen to this webinar, part of the CRMC Wise Marketer webinar series.

QR Codes are driving online payments in China

One of the key driving forces behind the growth of online payments in China is the widespread adoption of mobile payment apps. Leading the pack are Alipay and WeChat Pay, both developed by tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, respectively.

Using QR codes as the primary mode of transaction, these mobile apps have made it incredibly convenient for users to make payments. Whether it's buying groceries, settling restaurant bills, or making peer-to-peer transfers, the simplicity and speed of mobile payments have won over consumers.

How Visa and Mastercard are Embracing Blockchain

Visa and Mastercard recognize that, as blockchain technology adoption increases, they risk being left behind. This article provides a solid analysis of how Visa and Mastercard are experimenting with blockchain for facilitating cross-border payments. For example, Visa has been trialing settlements on Ethereum and Solana, while Mastercard has developed platforms like MTN to enhance payment efficiency and security.

Both companies participate in trials of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in various countries and Visa and Mastercard are collaborating with numerous crypto platforms to issue cryptocurrency-linked debit and credit cards. As expected, both companies are actively pursuing patents related to blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Loyalty Global Connect announces massive industry event in Dubai, 23-24 April

Loyalty Global Connect has announced Loyalty Connect Global which they describe as the loyalty equivalent of “Gitex” (tech industry), to deliver a ‘flagship’ loyalty event designed specifically for the business needs of all global loyalty stakeholders.

Loyalty Connect Global is poised to deliver a highly focused conference with globally respected industry speakers, 40+ exhibitors showcasing the latest technology and innovations, culminating in an industry recognition celebration of the top 10 global trailblazer brands in loyalty across the world. This awards ceremony is the 2023 version of what was previously known as the International Loyalty Awards.

The event is scheduled for 23-24 April in Dubai. Contact Marian Kelly (marian@loyaltyconnectglobal.com) for more information.

Career Opportunities and Jobs in Loyalty Marketing

We’ve gathered some interesting career opportunities across the Loyalty Marketing industry. We share here a partial list of all that is on our desk and there are excellent brands represented. To learn more and express your interest, please click through the individual links below.

We also have a curated concise list of executive-level resources and other professionals who are available to support your team. If you are interested in connecting with anyone on the list, please email Bill Hanifin. All inquiries are managed in a confidential manner.

Stay. Loyal. Always.