The South African consumer who gets the most benefit from membership of rewards programmes is the one who banks with FNB, flies British Airways, shops with an Infinity card, and is a member of the Discovery Vitality wellness scheme, according to a survey by technology research firm, World Wide Worx (WWW).
The FNB, British Airways, Infinity card, and Discovery Vitality rewards programmes came out top of their respective categories (financial services, frequent flyer, multi-vendor retail, and wellness) in the latest South African Value in Loyalty Programmes 2003 survey.
According to WWW, a hypothetical South African consumer who chooses the best of each category would belong to any number of retail loyalty programmes, since they would know all about 'double-dipping' (the simultaneous earning of loyalty points on two programmes with a single transaction). For example, when they pay for their BA flight using an FNB credit card, they earn both BA miles and eBucks.
"This tactic is known as 'playing the game' in the industry," said Bruce Conradie, director of Razor's Edge Business Intelligence, who conducted the research with Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. "It is very much in evidence in the USA whilst South African consumers are still catching on to the joys of loyalty programmes."
"As we saw in our previous survey last year, most programme members do not know how much value loyalty programmes provide," said Goldstuck. "They usually perceive the cash value of rewards as the main benefit but this is often so difficult to calculate that few members make the effort."
Even when the cash value of loyalty points is known, the total value offered by a programme often remains obscure. It can depends on, among other things, the range and value of rewards offered, the possibility of collecting enough points to earn a reward, the rewards' inherent appeal, and any value-added benefits offered.
The annual report, now in its second year, examines these factors, as well as 68 core characteristics of each of the surveyed programmes. It includes an in-depth analysis of 18 rewards programmes, examining the value offered to their members.
Each programme was rated against 18 criteria that define the 'value mix' offered by the programmes, categorised into cash value, reward choice, reward appeal, attainability of rewards (whether the expenditure needed to obtain a reward is within reasonable reach), value-added benefits, programme effort (the time and effort required by members to participate in the programme), and the psychological benefits to members.
For each loyalty programme examined, the report also details the background and history of the programme, how points are acquired and redeemed, which companies have partnered with the programme, how members can communicate with the programme operators, and how each programme operates. The full survey and report can be obtained from World Wide Worx, at a cost of R4200 (approx. US$560) for a single site license.