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Posted by Ashley Autry on Dec 3, 2019 9:03:22 AM

And just like that, 2019 came and went - yet another prosperous year in the books. And we couldn't have done it without our incredible team of employees here at Access, as well as our awesome merchant partners and clients. We are beyond grateful for the many wonderful relationships we've made this year, fresh opportunities and new growth.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the Christmas decorations are up and the New Year is just around the river bend (as Pocahontas would say), we can't help but reflect on this past year and all its happenings.

It was a busy year to say the least. In addition to celebrating 35 years in business with a much needed refreshing of the Access brand (complete with a new logo, new colors, new website, and more), there were also plenty of cheerful product updates, money-saving endeavors and client success efforts to be shared.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Nov 19, 2019 8:58:29 AM

Just like a juicy Thanksgiving turkey, the best discount programs are made with carefully chosen ingredients that come together to create a recipe for success.

When imagining eating a delicious holiday bird, most of us taste ingredients like parsley, celery, onion, lemon pepper, salt, sage and thyme.  Almost no one is dreaming of eating a turkey where the main ingredient is, let’s say… Flamin’ Hot Cheetos powder (unfortunately this is a real thing). Ew! Much in the same way, nobody wants to be a part of a discount program that has poor customer service, novelty discounts that people won’t use, low-value deals, online-only offers, discounts that are nonredeemable, and no mobile coupon options.

So for all you membership organizations out there, make sure the white label discount program you’re offering members is one you would actually want to use yourself – and not just every once in a while, but frequently.

And for those companies and organizations looking to make a switch or offer a discount/loyalty program for the first time, it’s important to be aware of the essential “ingredients” to look for that make a discount program effective.  

After all, your members/customers/employees don’t just want a discount program for the sake of having one. It’s only valuable to them if they can utilize and incorporate it into their everyday lives, saving money often on the things they buy all the time.

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Posted by Ashley Autry on Nov 1, 2019 4:00:00 PM

(New: Only want the latest data? Check out our collection of 2019 loyalty stats.)

Customer brand loyalty is a rich and complex subject to grasp. 

What is it? (Here's a definition.)

How is it earned?

Is it worth the effort?

For your convenience, we've compiled dozens of statistics to help light the way - from how many people are active in loyalty programs to what they're looking to get out of them and how they'd like to be communicated with.

We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research with a focus on the US (with the occasional global stat thrown in).

These stats are culled from a variety of sources, and we've provided source links for each of them (though some are gateway pages that require you to register or submit your information to receive the actual research).

Sometimes the data conflict with other sources - we'll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated on a weekly basis with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Oct 28, 2019 9:02:50 AM

It's a dark, cold night. We're gathered outside around the campfire. There's a noticeable uneasy feeling lurking in the air.

So with flashlight in hand, our scary story begins...

...Once upon a time there was a consumer that met a brand and became its devoted customer.

The brand also expressed it's love for the customer with a loyalty program and promise of valuable rewards.

But the brand failed to live up to its loyal customer's expectations.                                          

And so, what was once a devout customer turned into a beastly creature that threatened the brand, eager to gain revenge.

So what became of the brand and customer that were once in love?

It’s one of the oldest stories in the book, and a good reminder for brands out there on what can happen when you don’t deliver on customer expectations. Your most loyal customers can go from brand advocates to brand detractors – something we refer to as the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde predicament. But don't fret too much, you still have the power to choose how your story ends.

The Chilling Tale of One Coffee Rewards Program

This story stood the test of time yet again when Starbucks recently made some major changes to its rewards program, catching some of its loyal customers off guard.

Its old program let customers earn 2 points (stars) for every dollar spent. Once their first point was earned, customers became green level members. Green level members received things like free in-store refills and birthday deals. After a customer accumulated 300 stars during a calendar year, they bumped up to gold status. Gold members received a free drink or pastry for 125 stars, were given opportunities to earn double stars monthly, and a personalized membership card.

With the new Starbucks loyalty program there’s no tier status, instead it’s set up to allow customers to start utilizing points sooner in smaller amounts. For example, earning just 25 stars gets you add-ons like flavored syrup, while 50 stars lands you a free coffee, hot tea or bakery item. But in order to receive the most popular items for free, like a handcrafted drink or hot breakfast sandwich, customers must earn 150 stars – 25 points higher than the previous program. And boy was Starbucks in hot water with its most die-hard members after they realized the value of their stars had decreased.

Some customers even went to bed with enough points for a free breakfast sandwich or two and woke up to those being taken away.

Really the majority of people taking the biggest hit with the new Starbucks rewards program are its most avid customers, as they are the ones that rack up enough points to become gold members, earning the fancy free drinks. It all comes together to create the perfect formula, turning Starbucks’ most loyal customers (Dr. Jekyll) into its harshest critics (Mr. Hyde).

This new Starbucks rewards iteration has been active for less than 6 months, so the jury’s still out. We’ll see what the future holds and the impact it makes on what were once Starbucks’ most loyal customers.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Oct 9, 2019 8:05:46 AM

Three things about me...

...I’m a Millennial, median income-earning female.

Why did I tell you this? Because simply knowing my age, salary and gender make it fairly easy to create an instant consumer loyalty profile on me.

Based on the three demographics I fit into, chances are good:

  • I prefer buying my favorite brands as much as possible.
  • As long as I’m treated well, you can count on me as a brand advocate.
  • I have some financial flexibility to purchase my preferred brands regardless of price.
  • It’s important to me the stores, brands and products I shop share a similar ethical code.
  • I value price.
  • The right loyalty programs can greatly influence my purchase decisions and loyalty.
  • In order to keep my loyalty, I need to have a positive shopping and customer service experience.

Ready to find out what your gender, income and age say about your loyalty and the loyalty of your customers/members? Let’s take a more in depth look at these three demographics as they relate to loyalty.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Sep 30, 2019 9:07:26 AM

Your discount membership programs can have a powerful effect on your members' quality of life.

That’s a serious statement.

Having the power to affect someone’s life for the better is a pretty big deal.

As an example of just how powerful member perks can be, we talked with one of our own that experienced just that.

Brooke, part of our partnership marketing team, recently took a trip with her sister to France and England. As two weeks in Europe isn’t cheap, she was ecstatic to learn she was able to save lots of money using our travel discounts. In her words, “Because of our savings on the travel site, we were able to apply that money towards other purchases for our trip.”

During their vacation, Brooke and her sister went to Disneyland Paris and were able to save $37 on a hotel for two nights that was just ten minutes from the park. “It was dreamy,” she said.

They spent the next week in London where they saved $100 on their hotel and another week in the heart of Paris, saving $338 at the Hotel Leveque in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It was just a ten-minute walk from their hotel to the Eiffel Tower and other popular attractions, as well as minutes away from a Metro station.

And with such significant savings, Brooke and her sister were able to apply the money saved towards day tours to see Mont Saint-Michel and Giverny (Monet’s home and gardens that inspired much of his work). She raved that "Having used the Access Travel savings multiple times, I can attest that it does truly allow people to experience more for less."

And there you have it. What an experience.

Do you see what we’re talking about now? Because of her $475 worth of savings, Brooke and her sister were able to experience more of their interests while on vacation and, therefore, enrich their lives.

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