Cashback News – Oct 10: Loyalty program news, trends and innovations

loyaltyTime for a quick update on loyalty programs including several very interesting new programs introduced by US retailers. A report from ICLP says consumers want more from their loyalty programs including personalized offers, invites to VIP events, in-store recognition and offers and discounts. According to an Urban Airship study, 69% of consumers are more likely to use a retailer’s loyalty  program if they can store it on their smart phone.

Customer Think looks at the impact of loyalty programs on travel industry bookings and online travel agencies. Forrester says online marketplaces provide the perfect opportunity for retailers to build customer loyalty as 90% will shop again in the marketplace because of convenience. Banks will be challenged to integrate digital payments and digital loyalty programs in the future says a report in American Banker.

Facing profit pressure, Bed Bath & Beyond is testing a new loyalty program that may replace its popular discount coupons. Yahoo Finance takes a look at the top nine loyalty programs in Australia and finds 49%  of consumers are members of Woolworth’s loyalty program. Online shoe seller Zappos launched its first rewards program with four reward levels for consumers. Walgreens introduced Beauty Enthusiast, a new subset of its Balance Rewards  program offering points and personal beauty product recommendations.

Today’s consumers want more from loyalty programs are the days when just a loyalty card on which points rack up is enough. Today’s consumers want more. They want personalized offers, invites to VIP events, in-store recognition and, of course, offers and discounts.

Recent research from loyalty marketing agency ICLP highlights the demand among consumers for loyalty programs that are engaging and innovative. Demand is highest among Baby Boomers with nearly three-quarters saying they would be encouraged to make purchases with a brand that has a loyalty program. Just over half (58%) of Generation X and 41% of Millennials expressed the same sentiment.

“Nowadays, personal, unique rewards are more important as loyalty drivers than price alone. To win in this competitive retail landscape, brands need to focus on creating loyalty programmes that generate insight and enable retailers to entice customers back with relevant offers – encouraging them to spend and shop more frequently,” says Jason De Winne, General Manager at ICLP. Via

Consumers want robust digital loyalty programs

credit cardsRetailers shouldn’t only seek to take money out of a shopper’s wallet, they should also live in a consumer’s wallet.

Their digital wallet that is. That’s the advice from mobile commerce vendor Urban Airship Inc. in its recently published study “The State of Mobile Wallet Marketing.” The study surveyed 1,000 U.S. and 1,000 UK smartphone-owning adults between May 31-June 3 about their mobile wallet and retail loyalty program use. Of the survey respondents, 72% belong to between 1 and 5 loyalty programs, 19% belong to six or more, and 8% belong to none….

54% of consumers have used a mobile wallet , and 30% have used a mobile wallet within the past week, according to the study. Millennials, or consumers ages 18-34, are more likely to use a mobile wallet, as 67% of the millennial survey respondents have used a one in the last three months, compared to 51% of Generation X consumers (consumers ages 35-54 ), and 28% of Baby Boomers (consumers older than 55). Via

The Traveler’s Path to Purchase that many loyalty programs are centered on the hospitality industry, it’s natural that both leisure and business travelers are looking to cash in on accrued loyalty points. This can have a huge effect on where and how an individual books their trip, particularly for OTAs.

As we noted in our research, the main appeal of booking on an OTA site for loyalty program members is the promise of an easier, more efficient, and cheaper avenue. However, for hotel loyalty program members, it’s more common to book a visit through a brand website or loyalty program site as opposed to an OTA. This could be tied to some confusion around booking a hotel through an OTA and earning loyalty points; elite-level loyalty program members, in particular, are less willing to forego points by booking with an OTA.

Yet OTAs still come out on top in terms of cross-shopping and comparisons, as well as immediate savings on bookings. Even the majority of élite program members — a full eight out of 10 — are shown to visit OTA sites first, presumably looking for the best deal. Via

Survey: Online marketplaces boost loyalty, build trust

ecommerceAccording to a recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting and sponsored by Mirakl and ChannelAdvisor reveals that consumers around the world love online marketplaces. 89% of global consumers surveyed agree that online marketplaces offer convenience, while 90% said they would shop with same marketplace again when purchasing a similar product.

Those survey results support the role of online marketplaces in building strong affinity for sponsoring brands. The study, titled “Retailers Must Seize the Marketplace Opportunity,” evaluates the success of marketplace retailers and what they must do to better serve today’s empowered customer; it concludes that marketplaces encourage customer loyalty, increase average order values and build trust. Via

How Loyalty Programs Will Shape Mobile Payments

euro-loyaltyCredit card rewards programs were born in the heyday of plastic and paper. As payments go digital, banks will have to make sure their loyalty programs keep pace.

For example, Wells Fargo recently upgraded its options for customers to keep tabs on their points. Cardholders can now see their rewards alongside their other accounts, they can view them on any platform (mobile, tablet or desktop) thanks to responsive design and they can set up automatic redemptions toward deposit accounts, some credit lines or for certain merchant gift cards….

While the move may seem small in the scheme of mobile banking, the digitization of loyalty rewards programs is the underpinning of the adoption of mobile payments. For decades, banks have fought hard to ensure that their cards are the ones their customers grab first by offering perks. But the meaning of “top of wallet” is evolving. Via

Bed Bath & Beyond Launches New Loyalty Program Bath & Beyond may be ditching its coupons in exchange for a loyalty program. The home retailer is testing “Beyond+”—a beta of an invitation-only membership service that offers a 20% discount on all purchases as well as free shipping.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the program aims to generate new revenue, boost customer loyalty, and improve its margins, while helping it better compete with Amazon’s Prime membership program.

Originally, the 20%-off coupons that Bed Bath & Beyond customers know and love were used to get them in the door. But in recent quarters, profits have declined, and the company is blaming the dip on the wide-spread coupon usage, according to the Journal. In its most recent quarter, earnings slid 17% as sales slowed. Via

HotelTonight’s New Loyalty Program Is the Simplest One Yet, the indispensable booking app which has saved many a last-minute traveler from paying full price for a hotel room since it launched in 2010, has finally announced its own loyalty program called HT Perks.

Instead of the usual loyalty program structure filled with black-out dates, promotional sign-ups, and gradual point accumulation, HT Perks offers rewards to members as soon as they book and spend $100 through the app. That amount will put members into Level 1, where they can earn extra discounts of 8 to 12 percent off the listed HotelTonight rates at participating properties, marked in the app with a blue HT Perks badge. Currently, rooms in Palm Springs start as low as $79 but a majority are over $100, meaning just one night could be enough to put guests into Level 1.

Level 2 requires a bit more spending—$750 or more—but members of this level will get another 5 percent discount off the Level 1 rates, along with other “exclusive offers and surprises.” To climb up to Level 3 requires spending $5,000 on HotelTonight bookings, but members are promised a 10 percent discount off Level 1 rates, a dedicated VIP customer support phone number, and more exclusive perks. Via

Top 9 Aussie loyalty programs love loyalty programs, with new research showing close to three-quarters of Australians are members of at least one customer rewards club.

Supermarket giant Woolworths possesses the greatest proportion of customer loyalty members, with almost half the population (49%) signed up for Woolworths Rewards, according to

Coles’ flybuys program is almost as popular, attracting 45% of Aussie adults, while more than one fifth (21%) of Australians are members of Myer’s loyalty scheme, MyerOne. Via

Zappos launches loyalty program has launched its first-ever loyalty program with four tiers of benefits for shoppers. Zappos Rewards is the shoe retailer’s way to offer customers rewards points toward future purchases, free expedited shipping on all orders, and early access to exclusive products and sales. will now offer free one- and two-business day shipping on all orders, with no minimum order values or membership fees….

The program offers silver, gold, platinum and invite-only élite tier programming. Customers can redeem every 1,000 points earned for $1 in Reward Codes. Ten points are earned for every $1 spent; 50 point for logging onto; and 100 points for writing a review. Via

Walgreens debuts new subset of loyalty app targeting beauty fans is introducing a new subset of its Balance Rewards application, called Beauty Enthusiast, that offers users rewards points and personalized product recommendations, showcasing the potency of targeting specific groups of consumers with relevant content.

The beauty club is housed within the company’s larger rewards app, called Balance Rewards. Beauty Enthusiast offers similar points and redemption offers as the standard app but specified for a beauty-focused audience….

Walgreens’ Balance Rewards app already provides rewards points, which can be redeemed for store credit, to customers who make purchases. Beauty Enthusiast is a subset of the loyalty program that will be housed in the larger app. Via

Holiday retail and India Festival sales ahead

That’s your loyalty program news update. Watch for upcoming posts on US retail projections and a report on the critical Festival e-commerce sales season in India.