When it comes to brand loyalty most consumers still think of it as a program in exchange for rewards.
A new report by Merkle highlights that 70% of consumers prefer discounts and offers, especially given the financial uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused.
Another 81% said they wanted a relationship with a brand, that is they want to be supported when purchasing products or services
Among the most redeeming ways to interact with consumers, 58% said they preferred brands to interact via surprise offers and gifts.
Another 57% of consumers also said they did not change brands in 2020 because of lockdowns and events.
“Customer loyalty is the brand’s most precious resource. This year’s report showcases just how important loyalty and rewards programs are in building customer relationships with brands,” said Chris Wayman, executive vice president, Promotion and Loyalty Solutions at Merkle. “Viewing the brand, product, service, and sales experience from the consumer’s perspective enables loyalty marketers to create programs that deliver higher customer satisfaction and increased revenues. Our report reveals that when done correctly, loyalty programs can be among the most effective strategies in driving lifelong brand loyalty.”
So what exactly do customers expect? According to the study, discounts (44%) and free products (26%) are the main reasons for consumers to participate in loyalty programs in 2021.
Free products (65%) and discounts (70%) were the top rewards, but consumers also said they didn’t like it when rewards took too long to earn (45%). For brands and retailers, the key should be on making it easier for consumers to join and adopt loyalty programs.
Regardless of industries, consumers prefer the chance to win large prizes as part of loyalty programs.
In return, most are happy to allow companies access to their purchase history, and rewards status. But the survey highlights that data privacy is a growing concern with fewer participants willing to share information about their gender in 2021 compared to 2019.