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How Customer Loyalty Programs Failed Me 3 Ways
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The promise of Omnichannel
  • 1/26/2015 9:04:55 PM
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So many loyalty programs are cumbersome and difficult to use and that's why they largely go unused. If retailers could make Omnichannel a reality and great a seamless wallet for their client's loyalty programs would be worthwhile and be integrated into the purchases seamlessly. Until then they will continue to be manual and haphazard and miss customer data. My mail is full of these examples everyday that represent missed opportunities and wasted marketing dollars.

Re: Do you have a rewards card?
  • 1/26/2015 12:38:12 PM
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Sethbreedlove

"In many ways, loyalty programs are not for loyal customers. They are just a way for stores to track their customers."

I  agree with you. A loyalty program can only become handy when it gives a 5% or 10% discount that is not available to other customers. Money is the best way to get rewarded just like your coupons.

Re: Do you have a rewards card?
  • 1/26/2015 10:15:02 AM
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It's a good point, Seth... these programs are little more than ways to collect data about customers, and retailers dress them up with mollifying names that seem to offer a vague incentive ("Rewards!"), but rarely deliver.

Re: Do you have a rewards card?
  • 1/25/2015 9:13:34 PM
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In many ways, loyalty programs are not for loyal customers. They are just a way for stores to track their customers.  The savings for them are just as they would be for any item that in the past that would have been sale.  But now, instead of being on sale, they just irritate people that are excluded from them since they haven't signed up.   When I go to the grocery store, I don't feel like I'm saving money or that I'm special. 

So far, the only one that I've found I like is Walgreens, where they give you $2 to $5 coupons to use on whatever you like. 

Re: Do you have a rewards card?
  • 1/25/2015 6:11:03 AM
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Jamescon,

""Do you have our rewards card?" I simply say, "Nope, and I don't want one." I feel a bit sorry for the clerk who has to put up with the attitude but they are in the unfortunate position of being the face of the company."

That's part of their job. If they see the glass half empty, they will ask new customers with as much enthusiasm as before else they can be a danger for company's reputation. Some guys at POS often act really rudely esp where the retailers are giant and their staff is fed up of customers. 

Re: Ease of use creates repeat business
  • 1/25/2015 5:57:03 AM
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Terry 

"And it's just embarrasing for the customer to hear some version of ...."

You are right. You can't expect customers to always carry their loyalty cards. The onus of identifying the customer should be of the staff of the seller. We can't expect staff to remember people by face or name but something like their phone numbers, thumb impressions or national ID cards can help.

Interesting programs are effective
  • 1/25/2015 5:52:58 AM
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Rachel, you have well explained how loyalty programs can not only fail but rather cause customers to form a low image of the organization. Simple loyalty programs like that of Target you mentioned may be enough to do the job but sometimes it needs to be more interesting than 5% discount. 

Do you have a rewards card?
  • 1/23/2015 4:12:33 PM
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@Rachel. I'll bet that everyone who reads this blog will say, "I know, it's so aggravating." I know I fall short of the average for number of loyalty cards largely because I just don't see the purpose in most of them. I was thrilled when one of the super markets where I shop on a regular basis dropped their loyalty cards last year and brought listed prices back to "normal" competitive levels. I've shopped there as often as I did before. No loss of business here.

If I have a dozen loyalty cards (some used regularly, some lost) I can think of only three that have ever provided real benefits to me ("You have X dollars in reward cash available, do you want to apply that to today's purchase?). When clerks in some of those other stores ask, "Do you have our rewards card?" I simply say, "Nope, and I don't want one." I feel a bit sorry for the clerk who has to put up with the attitude but they are in the unfortunate position of being the face of the company.

 

This isn't Big Data; it's actually pretty minuscule
  • 1/23/2015 3:05:44 PM
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The Kroger grocery chain here in southern California (Ralphs) has its own rewards card program, which I use mostly for the in-store discounts on certain items.

Two things I'd change about it:

--After scanning the rewards card in the self checkout lanes, you get a "Welcome, valued customer!" announcement with that same sort of flight attendant authenticity. Dear Ralphs: Nice try. I don't need audio acknowledgment, I need an incentive to come back.

--To that point, all my grocers know how easily I can be bribed. Give me coupons for stuff I can actually use, or for stuff that I have actually purchased during the last 15 years I've patronized your store and used the same loyalty card.

Ease of use creates repeat business
  • 1/23/2015 2:54:05 PM
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And for the love of Pete, make sure your loyalty programs are easy to use! Seems like all these establishments failed on that front. And it's just embarrasing for the customer to hear some version of "We value your loyalty, we just can't figure out who you are or when you were last here or how you buy stuff!"



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