Are consumers still loyal to loyalty programs?

Whether it’s plain old print coupons, shiny new digital coupons, frequent flyer points, cashback or dozens of other loyalty programs, consumers seem to be, well, still loyal to their favorite loyalty programs. Our news roundup today looks at the latest research and developments in loyalty programs.

According to new research from Valassis, 79% of consumers can be influenced to switch brands by coupons. A new report from Bond Brand Loyalty says 13.4% of consumers are members of loyalty programs but only 6.7% are active users. 64% of brands reported an increase in loyalty membership according to 3CInteractive‘s new “2017 Mobile Loyalty” report. Excentus said 37% of consumers prefer fuel discounts over credit card rewards, coupons, retailer points and instant discounts.

Inmar’s 2017 Industry Promotion Analysis found consumers redeemed more than 2.2 billion coupons in 2016 with digital coupons making up 16.2% and print-at-home digital coupons 3.6%. 3Cinteractive reports 21% of consumers prefer SMS or push messaging from brands and loyalty programs. Research by Aberdeen Group shows companies using SMS messaging got a 24.5 % year-over-year increase in return on marketing investments.

A University of Alberta study found that patients in a pharmacy loyalty program were 12% less likely to stop taking their medicine. Wyndham Rewards passed the 50 million member milestone driven primarily by simplifying and adding value to their loyalty program. In Perth, Australia the mobile Loyalty app program is succeeding by increasing rewards value and unique features such as sharing rewards with friends.

Coupons Can Tempt 79% of Loyal Consumers to Switch Brands might seem old-fashioned, but they remain a major part of the shopper experience, with 90% of consumers saying they obtain them from a variety of print and digital sources. In fact, coupons may matter more for customer acquisition than brands realize: 79% of self-defined brand-loyal consumers are influenced to buy a brand they wouldn’t typically have purchased due to a coupon’s influence, according to research from Valassis.

“The only true loyalty consumers have is looking for value,” said Curtis Tingle, CMO of Valassis in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That value means different things…it may be an experience they’re looking for in a particular retailer. Consumers always want a good deal, they want the right price for the service or product they’re receiving, and coupons definitely influence that.”

Tingle noted that nearly 56% of coupons redeemed come from new and lapsed users of a brand, giving brand marketers an opportunity to create relationships with new potential consumers. At the same time, since established shoppers use nearly half of these coupons, retailers must continue offering deals that keep them from defecting to a competing brand. Via

Loyalty Programs: The Best Way to Reach Users Is Every Way want a greater variety of ways to interact with their loyalty programs, compared with their preferences from a year ago, according to data from mobile marketing company 3Cinteractive.

Last year, communication preferences were dominated by two channels: texting and email. In 2016, nearly half of US internet users surveyed said they preferred to receive loyalty-related communications via SMS. In addition, roughly one quarter of respondents said they preferred email. A year later, only 21% of respondents wanted texts from loyalty programs, while email didn’t even appear in the list of preferred channels. Why the drastic change? It’s likely because consumers crave more options in the form of other channels. Via

Consumers desire loyalty programs and luxury brands can help: report loyalty programs have been taking off with 64 percent of brands reporting an increase in loyalty membership over the past year. This data comes from 3CInteractive’s new “2017 Mobile Loyalty” report. The research brings together last year’s report on the growing desire for mobile loyalty programs from consumers and this year’s data to find out if brands have been meeting consumers’ desire or not.

“This report shows that while brands are making improvements in their efforts to create and transition to mobile-enabled loyalty programs, there is still a lot of work to do,” said Margie Kupfer, vice president of marketing for 3Cinteractive, Boca Raton, FL. “Simply put, consumers expect a seamless experience across physical and digital properties, and this includes using their loyalty benefits via a mobile device.

“Our research shows this drives more frequent visits and purchases,” she said. “Luxury brands in particular, who count on experiences and rewards to drive revenue rather than coupon discounting must continue to focus on mobile and integrating their own loyalty strategies. Via

Fuel Savings Rank No. 1 Among Loyalty Rewards

Fuel savings are most popular loyalty rewardConsumers have spoken: For the second consecutive year, American consumers have identified rewards that help them save on fuel as their preferred loyalty program currency. Certain types of rewards are even powerful enough to influence where, when and how frequently consumers shop, according to the latest findings from Excentus’ annual survey and report, “Road to Rewards Revisited.”

In 2016, rewards that help consumers save on the cost of gas ranked No. 1 as the most popular loyalty program currency, with 37 percent of consumer preferring fuel discounts over credit card rewards, coupons, retailer points and instant discounts at the cash register.

Consumers said they prefer fuel-saving rewards because they like saving money any way they can (39 percent) and they like earning rewards from everyday purchases made among different retailers (23 percent). Via

New stats released on coupon shoppers

Recently, two power players in the coupon industry released detailed reports on coupon use over the past year, and I’d like to share some highlights from both with you. First, Inmar’s 2017 Promotion Industry Analysis sheds light on just how many coupons were issued and used last year.

In 2016, consumers redeemed 2.2 billion coupons! While digital coupon usage continues to rise, paper still tops the list of which kind of coupons consumers use most. Last year, 34.6 percent of coupons redeemed came from the coupon inserts in the newspaper. In fact, paper coupons found in the store, on product packaging and in the mail encompass another 35.5 percent of coupons redeemed.

Fully electronic forms of digital coupons, including load-to-card and electronic checkout offers encompass another 16.2 percent of coupons used. Print-at-home coupons, while technically paper, are considered digital coupons, too. They represent 3.6 percent of the coupons shoppers used last year. Via

Consumers Prefer SMS, Push Notifications Equally When It Comes to Brand Communication today want more options when it comes to how they can interact with their loyalty programs: According to research from 3Cinteractive detailed in an eMarketer report, customers prefer to receive loyalty communication via SMS, push notifications, and in-app in nearly equal amounts.

In an omni-channel world, it isn’t surprising that customers prefer to have diverse options. What’s interesting is that the split between how customers want brands to communicate with them is so even; there is no true consensus. Just last year, in 2016, customers clearly preferred SMS and email for receiving loyalty-related brand communication. Today, 21 percent prefer SMS or push, and 18 percent prefer in-app or communication via mobile wallet.

What are marketers to make of this? First, that what these top methods have in common is mobile: It isn’t news, but if a business’ loyalty program itself isn’t mobile-first, consumers will move on. Mobile access is critical, and so is offering communication through the device — whether that’s in-app, via a messaging application, or simple SMS.

Second, it appears that it pays for brands to ask consumers how they want to receive communication and updates at the time that they join a loyalty program or download the app. Consumers Prefer SMS, Push Notifications Equally When It Comes To Brand Communication

How Important is it for Loyalty Marketers to Use Messaging to Communicate with Customers? important is messaging for loyalty marketers when they communicate with their customers?

Consider the following two eye-opening statistics from a new report from Aberdeen Group titled, “Customer Messaging: Happy Customers, Productive Employees, & Better Financials,” which was commissioned by Sparkcentral:

Companies that use messaging achieve a 24.5 percent year-over-year increase in return on marketing investments. Companies that use messaging achieve 2.9 times greater annual increase in NPS compared to All Others (12.3 percent vs. 4.3 percent). Customers are happy when they can get their needs met with minimal effort. Via

Patients on loyalty programs more likely to stick with medication filling prescriptions at pharmacies with loyalty programs are more likely to stay on their medication, a new University of Alberta study shows.

Researchers looked at Alberta Health data on 160,000 Albertans who took drugs for diabetes (metformin) and high cholesterol (statins) between 2008 and 2014, Scot Simpson, a professor in the faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences who led the research, said Friday.

People with high cholesterol who used pharmacies offering Air Miles, Shoppers Optimum or other programs were 12 per cent less likely to stop taking their medication, according to the study, published earlier this month in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Via

Wyndham sees “unprecedented growth” in its award-winning loyalty program

Wyndham Rewards programWyndham Rewards has undergone a major transformation in recent years, which has been accompanied by countless accolades. What’s more, the award-winning loyalty program just passed a serious and prodigious milestone: 50 million members.

A little under two years ago, we completely re-imagined our program. Prior to that, we were competing with others in the space, but we weren’t differentiating ourselves. We lacked a true brand identity and what’s more, a strong value proposition. When we re-launched the program, we changed all that. We overhauled our branding—introducing the Wyndham Rewards Wyzard—and completely changed the mechanics of how the program works. Our premise was simple: Create a point of distinction by moving away from the trends of over complication and point devaluation that were happening elsewhere in our industry and use those to establish ourselves as a leader in the space.

We knew from customer research that a free night was the absolute most important reward to our members and, yet, that same research overwhelmingly showed that most felt that reward was out of reach. With the new program, we introduced a flat redemption rate of just 15,000 points per night at any of our more than 8,000 hotels and simultaneously made it so that members earned a minimum 1,000 points with every stay. With a move toward transparency, not tricks, members knew exactly how many points they needed for a free night and what they would have to do to earn those points. As a result, membership and redemptions have gone through the roof. Via

On Other Side of the World Mobile Loyalty Takes Hold with Locals West Australia, primarily Perth, a true multi partner app is ready to shake up the rewards industry with its unique value proposition.

Loyalty app offers its members the ability to earn points on niche purchases such as paying rent, where payments would typically become dead money. Users can also share their favorite Loyalty app partner businesses and earn more points when their friends shop there too; plus paying with points is simple and transparent.

The rewards program app, available on iPhone or android, features no sign-up expenses for businesses, or cards to carry around for consumers. Loyalty app says the program was developed to respond to consumers’ frustration at not getting true value or transparency from their existing loyalty programs. Via