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Posted by Kendra Lusty on Jul 18, 2019 10:07:28 AM

I live in a small town and our only shoe store, Payless Shoes, recently went out of business. And while their liquidation sales were awesome – $2 per pair boys dress shoes? I bought one in every size! – now what?

Between my elementary-aged kids’ ever changing shoe sizes, and my inability to be comfortable in anything more confining than a flip flop, I never buy shoes online.

In case you missed it, Payless Shoes recently closed every store and its ecommerce operations in US and Canada “as a result of a challenging retail climate.”

If you believe the news, you’d probably say Payless is just the next chain in a long line of mega-retailers to fall victim to the dreaded retail apocalypse.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Jul 11, 2019 11:38:50 AM

It seems these days everyone has a loyalty program – coffee shops, restaurants, airlines, education associations, hotels, retailers, etc.

And if you’re not currently rewarding your loyal customers and members for their stellar engagement and dedication to your brand or organization, then it's probably time to get moving.

Why? Because 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand with a good loyalty program, 77% say loyalty programs make them more likely to stay with brands, and 63% say they modify their spending habits to maximize loyalty benefits.

Not only are a lot of businesses, brands and organizations offering loyalty programs, member benefits and discount programs, but a lot of consumers and members are actively participating in them, too.

We're talking 43% of 18-24 year olds, 57% of 25-34 year olds, 66% of 35-44 year olds, 71% of 55-64 year olds and 65% of 65+ years who currently participate in at least one loyalty program.

So, we thought it’d be a good idea to once again delve into our 2018 and 2019 loyalty stats pages to gain some insight on what people really want out of their loyalty program(s).

After all, if a loyalty program is going to effectively do its job – creating higher engagement and long-term loyalty among users – then it has to offer relevant value. So let’s find out what members think is and isn’t valuable when it comes to loyalty programs – at least according to the data.

We’ve ranked these loyalty attributes on a scale of “Heck Yes” → “Nice to Have” → “No Thanks.

Posted by Andrew Graft on Jul 1, 2019 9:34:00 AM

Ray Bradbury – author of the space travel and colonization classic The Martian Chronicles – once wrote, “Half of the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness.”

What did Mr. Bradbury mean when he penned this now famous quote? We may never know.

Don’t get the wrong idea, of course. We get the part about travel being extra rewarding when people get far off the beaten path into places they didn't even know existed. (Duh.)

What civilization will always wonder is this. Did he mean “half” in the general sense, as in give or take a third? Or “half” in the 50% sense, where if he’d meant 51 percent, he’d have said 51 percent?

Whatever the math behind Ray’s statistical calculations, one thing we know for sure…

People looooooove to travel.

Families and individuals of all ages, sizes and incomes. To faraway lands. For weekend getaways. To pursue new business deals. With kids. Without kids. On planes, trains, automobiles, boats and buses.

And when it comes to the best corporate discount programs, association member benefits, and membership perks in general, discounted travel is often among the most hotly pursued additions to the mix. Why? Because lots of money AND emotional expectation are wrapped up in most of our travel purchase decisions.

So to better understand today’s traveler, we at Access have compiled what we believe is a comprehensive “ultimate collection” of statistics having to do with the travel and tourism industry. We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research from travel and tourism related sources.

Most of these stats are focused on Americans who travel – though other nationalities may creep into the mix from time to time. We've provided source links for each statistic. Sometimes you’ll find the data conflicts with other sources - so we’ll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated regularly 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. Enjoy!

Posted by Ashley Autry on Jul 1, 2019 9:18:47 AM

Access is often used by subscription services as a way for them to bring extra value to their product and customers. Discounts offered on or with these subscription-based services are more relevant than ever before as their popularity continues to increase. And we’re predicting this trend will only continue to pick up steam as it’s already grown by more than 100% a year over the past five years.

But what do we mean by “subscription services” exactly?

A subscription service involves paying a certain amount of money in regular intervals to receive a product or service –  everything from magazine subscriptions (i.e. People), to TV and music streaming (i.e. HBO NOW & Apple Music) and subscription boxes (i.e. Birchbox).

15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions and the average amount of subscriptions an active subscriber holds is two, but nearly 35% have three or more.

And as popular as these services are becoming, they are just as popularly being canceled (known in the industry as "churn"). Overall, 40% of e-commerce subscribers have canceled their subscriptions, with more than one-third canceling in less than three months and over half canceling within six.

The subscription service game is a hard one to play. With high churn rates, consumers are looking for some kind of added value that makes them stay - a big part of the reason so many of them start working with Access. So what is it that influences consumers to 1) sign up for a subscription service, 2) cancel it, or 3) become a long-term customer? These stats offer some insight:

Why do people say they sign up for subscription services?

  • It was recommended by someone (68%)
  • They wanted to try something new (66%)
  • It came with a financial incentive (65%)
  • They specifically needed the product (37%)
  • They liked the subscription model (34%)
  • It had the flexibility to cancel (30%)

Reasons given for cancelling subscriptions:

  • Insufficient value for the money (78%)
  • Dissatisfied with product/experience (77%)
  • Preference to buy when needed (69%)
  • Lack of flexibility (45%)
  • Found better subscription (30%)

Factors that positively influence retention among subscribers

  • Personalized experience (78%)
  • Convenience (56%)
  • Value for the money (54%)
  • Tailored experience (49%)
  • Surprise and delight (38%)
  • Sense of community (24%)

Because of the current trendiness when it comes to subscription services and the fairly saturated market for them right now, we thought it’d be interesting to highlight 10 subscription service picks that we think are doing it right and bringing value to the customer.

Posted by Kendra Lusty on Jun 21, 2019 9:56:27 AM

Last week, we released the article Superior Customer Service: Your Loyalty Program’s Secret Weapon. In it, we discussed the importance of customer service to any business, but especially to those with loyalty programs, which rely on a positive customer experience to succeed. In part 2 of this series below, we give some tips on how to enhance your own customer service efforts.

I worked in a call center. Briefly.

Fresh out of college, I wanted to be making money as I searched for a “real job” so I took a position that was notoriously easy to get, at a place that would hire just about anyone.

Admittedly, this company put a lot of effort into training according to client expectations. However, it’s very hard to make a group of teens, job seekers, recently laid-off, etc., really care.

Posted by Kendra Lusty on Jun 12, 2019 10:49:54 AM

Confession time. Whenever I have to call customer service, I always cringe, waiting for that dreaded phone tree before I ever get to talk to a person.

I think my record is 18 selections before I got frustrated and pounded 0, which wasn’t listed but thankfully sent me to the operator anyway.

Seriously, I prefer to use a company’s website to find hours of operation, pay bills, and all the other automated tasks you usually find in a phone tree.

So unless one of your options is “If you would like to hear a duck quack” then I’m probably not going to find my answer automated in your system. No, if I’m resorting to dialing a number, I want to talk to a person, dang it.

Rant over.