What’s the latest in loyalty programs in 2019?

What do consumers think of loyalty programs in 2019? We’ve got some answers thanks to a new report from HelloWorld. The 2019 Loyalty Barometer Report: What Consumers Think of Loyalty & Reward Programs looks at how consumers are shaping the changing loyalty landscape and how brands can create more engagement and sales by responding proactively.

Four Loyalty Barometer insights

favorite loyalty program benefitsThe Loyalty Barometer offers four key consumer attitudes towards loyalty programs in 2019:

  1. Consumers are impatient: 54% of those surveyed said takes too long to earn rewards.
  2. Consumers want rewards for more than purchases: 75% of consumers said they want rewards for more than just buying products. They want rewards for other activities like taking a survey or watching a brand video.
  3. Millennials are different: while “earn and spend” rewards remain popular with 64% of consumers, millennials (55%) and Gen-X (38%) enjoy when brands offer creative, unexpected rewards on social media or in-store.
  4. Customers love surprises: 61% said “the most important way a brand can interact with them is to surprise them and reward them with offers just for being a good customer,” according to the report.

What rewards are most popular?

61% like surprise rewards

Not surprisingly, free products (77%), discounts (75%), free samples (64%) and free services (57%) remain the most popular loyalty incentives.

41% of consumers like chances to win prizes and 32% enjoy receiving surprises from their favorite brands.

Consumers remain in loyalty programs because they receive discounts or offers (43%), free products (27%), exclusive rewards (10%), and members-only benefits (9%).

What don’t they like about loyalty programs?

What rewards do consumers dislikeWhen it comes to what consumers don’t like about rewards and loyalty programs, their dislikes are very clear: 54% say it simply takes too long to earn a reward; 39% say earning rewards is too difficult; 36% say they get too many communications; 32% said the rewards are not valuable enough; 29% are worried about the security of their personal information.

Smart companies and retailers would be wise to make some simple adjustments to their rewards programs to accommodate consumer dislikes. A few of the fixes are very straight forward and could pay back in higher return sales and more referrals.

What’s trending in rewards popularity?

Earning points for rewards and getting discounts remain the most popular features of loyalty programs. Surprise rewards became the third most popular feature. While rewards for multiple or other retailers decreased to fourth place. Simplicity remained at the fifth most popular feature.

Chances to win rewards and choose their own rewards remained the most popular features of loyalty programs in credit cards, travel, retail, and consumer packaged goods. What are you offering to your best customers?

Information privacy concerns

information privacyWhile 29% of consumers expressed concern about their private information, as members of loyalty programs, they are willing to share some information: purchase history (57%), gender (51%), and self-selected personal preferences (48%).

Beyond this core information, consumers are less prepared to share some information including current location (30%), browsing history on a brand website (28%), address (24%), income (17%), and no information (10%).

All in all, it’s a positive look at the popularity of rewards and loyalty programs. Consumers still like them, and with the right offers, proper communications, and careful attention to personal information and privacy, engagement and sales can still be expected if businesses operate and monitor their rewards programs carefully.

Provide good value, offer surprises, keep things simple, and don’t forget to say “thank you” to your most-loyal customers.

You can download and read the full HelloWorld/Merkle 2019 Loyalty Barometer Report for free here.