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INFOGRAPHIC: Fixing the Cracks: Reinventing Loyalty Programs for the Digital Age

Launching a loyalty program is expensive and it’s complex. In the US alone, companies spend a staggering $2 billion on loyalty programs every year. But does this translate into increased customer engagement? Research suggests the answer is “probably not”. The average household in the US has over 21 loyalty program memberships. But, the household only actively uses 44% of these. More than half of consumers in a 2013 survey admitted they had abandoned at least one loyalty program in the past year. Our own analysis of customer sentiment on social media revealed pronounced dissatisfaction. Almost 90% of social media sentiment on loyalty programs was negative.

We assessed loyalty programs on a number of parameters. These included their central objective, their use of digital channels, and their ability to provide a seamless experience across channels (more detail on the approach is at the end of this paper). We found, in short, that companies have a lot of catching up to do. 97% of loyalty programs rely on transactional rewards, i.e. a customer makes a purchase and takes their points in exchange for gifts, merchandise or cash. The issue is that 77% of those transaction-based programs actually fail in the first two years. According to our research, only 25% of loyalty programs reward customers for some form of engagement. Where loyalty programs are also lacking is advanced personalization: only 11% of loyalty programs offer personalized rewards based on a customer’s purchase history or location data.

This research highlights why organizations need to think beyond points and how they can implement well-designed, engagement-based loyalty programs.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Fixing the Cracks: Reinventing Loyalty Programs for the Digital Age

  1. 1. Reach out: Interested in reading the full report? Head to Follow us on Twitter @capgeminiconsul email Learn more at: Cross-channel redemption Personalization of loyalty programs Engaging the customer Reinventing Loyalty Programs for the Digital Age Loyalty programs have not evolved with the digital age The leaders have done it right, others need to follow suit Active participation rates are low: Social media sentiment on loyalty programs reveals strong dissatisfaction: 21 programs per household in the US – only 44% of these are actively used144% of negative opinions cite the lack of reward relevance, flexibility and value44% of consumers admitted having abandoned at least one loyalty program in the past year253% of social media sentiment on loyalty programs is negative90%Almost The negative social media sentiment can be attributed to specific reasons cite the lack of a seamless multi-channel experience33% cite customer service issues17% offer integrated redemption across offline and online channels 9% customize rewards based on purchase- history 11% reward customers for activities such as providing ratings, reviews or referrals 16% Starbucks “My Starbucks Rewards” Air Canada “Earn Your Wings” O2 “Priority Moments” Walgreens “Balance Rewards” Loyalty program seamlessly enmeshed within mobile app Hugely successful, with 8 million active members3 Employs gamification techniques by awarding badges to flyers that are redeemable inair-miles Reported an ROI of 560%5 Provides targeted, location-based offers Became fastest growing program in the UK within 18 months of launch4 Mobile app connects with digital health tracking devices Members awarded points whenever they engage in a healthy activity6 1, “The 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census”, 2013 2 Maritz Loyalty, “THE 2013 MARITZ LOYALTY REPORT”, May 2013 3 Starbucks 2014 Investor Day, Presentation by Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer Source: Research and Social Media Scan Conducted by Capgemini Consulting *Some companies reward customers for participating in online games, as a way to enhance engagement with the brand 5, “Air Canada Earn Your Wings Wins COLLOQUY Recognizes Award”, June 2014 4, “The mobile revolution is here – are you ready?”, 2014 6, “Balance Rewards for healthy choices™” Loyalty programs are meant to engage, but they’re not