June 7, 2023
In its Best Loyalty Programs 2022 list, Newsweek placed several food brands at the top of the Grocery and Restaurant categories. Not a surprise considering how much of our incomes are spent on food. In a recent earnings call, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson noted that the company’s Rewards program now accounts for 53% of spending in their stores, an all-time high.
Loyalty programs have become an essential part of everyday transactions. It is estimated that the average U.S. consumer is enrolled in 16.6 loyalty programs, but only actively uses half of them. So what do consumers want in a loyalty program? What will make them use all of the programs they are enrolled in?
The Features That Capture Loyal Audiences
With all of the different loyalty programs out there, consumers are starting to understand what they want. Consumers are looking for things that make their lives easier. If a loyalty program is going to help make grocery shopping more accessible by allowing consumers to shop through the app and have the groceries delivered while earning points, they are more likely to sign up.
Consumers also want loyalty programs to be convenient and they want to feel like they are getting something exclusive by being a member. A sense of community while offering personalization can drive exclusivity.
Receiving personalized recommendations as well as digital coupons and points that they can use towards future purchases makes customers feel like they have a special relationship with the brand, and it will keep them coming back. Conversely, programs that expire or that require a neverending stream of purchases in order to remain viable are less likely to capture an audience over the long term.
What Brands Are Doing to Stand Out
As mentioned earlier, food brands are leading the way when it comes to loyalty programs that their audience loves. This is because these brands are leveraging technology and maximizing their apps to improve their customer experience.
When brands listen to feedback from their customers, they can give them the features that they want, like making a grocery list within an app and being able to immediately assign it for delivery. This is what keeps their audiences loyal to their brand.
Some brands, like Kroger, require an annual subscription, but there are customers who are willing to pay more for a higher level of service. In this case, Kroger can use their customer data from their subscriptions to track store preference and purchase patterns This also allows them to better plan inventory and pass savings along to their customers.
Brands are also tapping into the gamification trend in their loyalty programs as a way to engage their customers. Wendy’s has its own channel on Twitch, a livestreaming platform, while Chipotle once did a promotion in partnership with gaming platform Roblox, which invited users to play and win branded virtual products.
How Brands Can Elevate Their Loyalty Programs
While gaming platform partnerships might be the golden ticket for some loyalty programs, one size doesn’t fit all. Brands need to learn what their own customers would want in a loyalty program.
Market research helps brands build strong, long-lasting relationships with their consumers by giving them the data that tells them exactly what their customers need and want. When brands make their customers feel like they are important, they are more willing to be an advocate for that brand.
Experienced market research agencies like Eyes4Research have the tools brands need to gather insights from consumers on loyalty programs and much more. Eyes4Research can help brands find the right sample and write surveys to yield the highest quality data. By being armed with consumer insights and best practices on how to build brand trust, companies can make better decisions.
Read more about retail and consumers on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything brands need to build trust with their customers by collecting high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.