Capturing the Loyalty of the Skeptical Consumer

August 29, 2018 Catherine Malone

CrowdTwist recently conducted research into consumer attitudes towards loyalty programs, brand engagement, emerging technologies, and shopping experiences. The research found that only 46% of consumers are willing to share their data in exchange for personalized experiences. In addition, most are reluctant to try new technologies designed to enhance brand experiences. However, the research finds that engaging, omnichannel loyalty programs are valuable to consumers. During this age of increasing consumer distrust, loyalty programs provide brands the opportunity to capture rich, opt-in customer data.

Here are some of the key findings of our research and recommendations for brands on how to engage the skeptical consumer.

Loyalty programs offer a competitive advantage

Our research finds that loyalty programs offer a competitive advantage and have significant influence over brand selection and loyalty. 63% of the consumers we surveyed answered that they could be persuaded to choose one brand over another due to the presence of a loyalty program. Premium (fee-based) loyalty programs like Amazon Prime are becoming more and more popular. 63% of consumers stated that they would be willing to pay the fee for a loyalty program if the perks were valuable. Consumers want instant gratification and are willing to pay for benefits up front. Brands should consider investing in a loyalty initiative or modifying their offerings to provide desirable perks at a fee.

Personalization needs greater investment

Consumers are much more concerned about data privacy than ever before. We found that only 46% of people said yes to sharing their data in exchange for personalized experiences, despite the fact that 84% answered that they would complete a survey for points as part of a loyalty program. Our research also indicates that consumers want a personalized experience, as more than half of respondents answered that they want to receive in-store personalized promotions. Brands that invest in loyalty programs provide their customers with the opportunity to opt-in and share data in exchange for relevant brand experiences and rewards. Brands need to invest in technology that can capture data and segment customers to provide compelling brand experiences for customers through meaningful communications, relevant promotions, and personalized rewards.

Rewards need to be relevant

28% of the consumers we surveyed said they abandon loyalty programs when the rewards aren’t compelling or relevant enough. 89% of people want discounts and cash back rewards, 67% want free products, and 22% want experiences like free concerts and sporting events. In an age where it’s easy for consumers to find products at a lower cost, brands need to build cost-effective benefits into their loyalty program. Consider offering discounts, coupons and perks such as free shipping or free returns on online orders. Also consider offering consumers the opportunity to sample new products as part of your rewards offering. This allows them try something new from a brand they already buy from. Concerts and sporting event experiences help create unforgettable brand moments that build emotional loyalty.

Shopping experiences need to be frictionless

Our research finds that consumers are active across all channels, digital, social and in-store. Invest in creating a single brand identity and seamless shopping experience across all of these channels. Our research indicates that in-store is a channel that requires improvement. 41% of consumers still enjoy trying and buying in-store, however 40% of consumers stated that long check-out lines are their biggest in-store shopping frustration. Consider offering payless shopping technology whereby customers can make purchases via an app on their phone. Not having access to store inventory and not being able to find what they want is the second biggest frustration, yet only 37% of respondents are willing to download an app to help them navigate a store and check inventory. Consider installing iPads in-store to help customers find what they need.

Consumers should be rewarded for engaging with a brand

Reviews are a valuable customer acquisition tool. Our research finds that consumers, particularly affluent consumers, are more likely to research a product before purchasing. Our research finds that 49% of consumers are willing to write a review in exchange for points. Furthermore reviews, in addition to surveys, also provide brands with valuable feedback about their products and services and can help steer business strategy.  

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in loyalty

The tactics a department store will use in their loyalty program are completely different to those of a luxury retailer. It’s important to understand what resonates with your target audience. A luxury retailer targeting affluent customers (those with a combined household income of $150,000 or more) could pull from this research that having a loyalty program is beneficial, considering 86% of consumers in this bracket are active in at least one loyalty program, and actually have the highest redemption rates. VIP treatment is important to this group but not as important as discounts and cash back. Whereas for popular retail stores like Kohl’s that have a broader appeal, especially for the savvy shopper, cash back deals and discounts resonate best with their core customers.

The insight gathered from our survey should help brands define their loyalty strategy and provide better brand experiences for their customers. Download “Loyalty Research Report: Engaging Consumers in an Age of Increasing Brand Distrust” for a complete overview of the findings. 

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