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Customer loyalty schemes are not necessarily driving brand loyalty, according to a new report.

Research conducted by The Logic Group and Ipsos MORI found that 68% of consumers are members of supermarket loyalty schemes, but only 47% of those feel loyal to their supermarket.

Overall 77% of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed are members of one or more loyalty schemes, and 69% are satisfied with their schemes.

The motivations for 'satisfaction' provide clues as to why supermarket schemes don’t necessarily engender customer loyalty. 35% of respondents said that receiving points they could use in lieu of cash was the main reason for satisfaction, followed by discounts (25%) and rewards (24%).

The fact that points and freebies drive satisfaction suggests that consumers would be just as happy getting their discounts from a different brand.

This tallies with research from LinkShare which found that that 56% of people would buy from an unfamiliar brand if offered the right deal at the right time, while a further 41% said they have purchased something online they would never previously thought of buying because of a voucher or offer.

Similar findings were also found in other studies from Lithium and ExactTarget, pointing to a desire for 'free stuff' being the main reason for handing over personal information to a brand, plus this also being the motivation to connect with businesses within social media.

When asked about specific ways that they want to interact with and benefit from loyalty schemes, the data from Ipsos MORI shows that consumers want special treatment in exchange for their loyalty. 71% said they prefer schemes in which they can earn better offers or services for being more loyal, and 48% want better customer service than ‘normal’ shoppers.

38% said they prefer general offers compared to 21% who prefer tailored offers, which appears to contradict the push by e-commerce sites to capture as much data as possible in order to provide targeted advertising and deals.

The survey also found that consumers are far more likely to be a member of a supermarket loyalty scheme (68%) than any other sector – petrol stations came second with 28%.

David Moth

Published 20 December, 2011 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Sam Dwyer, Analyst at Econsultancy

I strongly suspect that this is because a lot of supermarket loyalty programs are executed in text-book fashion, with all the charm and memorable character of a multiple choice quiz. The classic: a keychain with a logo and barcode, which occasionally produces a $.50 discount on a jumbo bag of chips. This is hardly the sort of thing that inspires loyalty, which is produced through emotion and the mutual construction of a narrative that binds the identity of the consumer with that of the supermarket. Or most anything else, for that matter.

over 4 years ago

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