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Posted by Brandon Carter on Sep 4, 2014 12:56:00 AM

This is a guest post from IT solutions firm TechnologyAdvice. You can find more tidbits of their recent research over on our loyalty stats and millennial loyalty stats collections.

According to recent research from Bridge. Over, 70% of Millennials believe their generation is less brand loyal than previous generations. Information firm Nielson meanwhile has found that up 78 percent of customers are not loyal to any particular brand. Given such findings, it’s more important than ever for companies to actively make an effort to court consumers and win repeat business. Loyalty marketing programs are one proven way to accomplish this. According to a recent customer loyalty survey we completed at TechnologyAdvice, people enrolled in customer loyalty programs are up to 82.4 percent more likely to shop at stores that offer similar programs. This strongly suggests that once customers are sold on the benefits of a loyalty system, they actively seek out opportunities to use it.

However, setting up a great loyalty program isn’t easy. With the rise in popularity of mobile devices, and recent trends in gamification, stores are now have to choose between implementing a traditional, card-based loyalty program (such a grocery store rewards card), or using a digital, smartphone-based system. We dove into the results of our research to help provide clarity for companies weighing their options.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Aug 21, 2014 12:58:00 AM

I don't just work for a company that operates in the loyalty program space, I'm a huge fan of them myself. I'm attracted to the idea of getting something - points, a "punch," anything - for spending my dollars with a company. Like most people (78% in fact), I'm more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase if I know it'll be recognized somehow.

I'm not in the majority, however, when it comes to redeeming points (just 35% of members redeem points, according to Forrester). I like something for my points, even if it's just a branded beer koozie.

So it was that I found myself on the phone with a national retailer that operates a fairly prominent points program. Looking through their online portal, I noticed I had accumulated enough points to acquire a $50 gift card. Except, the site wouldn't let me redeem my points for that reward. According to the rep on the phone, it seems some of the points I had accumulated during a recent promotion weren't eligible toward the gift card.

Huh? I didn't know rules like that existed, but she told me it was all right there in the fine print of that particular promotion, naturally.

Loyalty Statistics The Ultimate Collection

She went on to explain that I could redeem most of my points for a $35 gift card and my "promotional" points for a $5 card, putting me just $10 away from the $50 card I had fallen in love with. Conversely, if I spent a couple hundred bucks in-store that week I could earn points that would actually count toward the $50.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Aug 19, 2014 12:10:00 AM

Last year a friend spent an hour telling me about how happy he was with his big screen television. It had a great picture, great apps interface, lots of HDMI ports - things TV geeks love.

This past weekend he bought another TV, though from a different brand than last year's. When I asked him why he switched brands, he provided a simple shrug of his shoulders, pointed at his new TV, and said, "I just thought this one was cool."

Anyone who's ever owned a business or spent any time in a customer service role knows that there are some customers who simply can’t be won over. You can give people a great product at a fair price and responsive service to back it up, and they still might pick a different brand next time simply because it seems like the "cool" thing to do.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Jul 15, 2014 2:53:00 AM

A few weeks back we published this simple infographic on some spending trends among consumers. We pointed out how most spending is still local and in-store, as well as how smartphones are beginning to disrupt the shopping process.

Maybe the most important part of the entire graphic is tucked away neatly in the middle. Using data from the 2012 Census, we broke down consumer spending into three categories: Expenditures (required spending such as insurance, utilities and transportation), Necessities (required spending that consumers have quite a bit of flexibility with, such as groceries and personal care products), and Leisure (true discretionary spending, such as dining out, memberships, and entertainment).

The point of this portion of the graphic is that two-thirds of a consumer's income is essentially spent the moment it arrives. And that's AFTER taxes have already shaved off as much as half of the original income. The end result is they get to choose how to spend roughly 16-20% of their income as they see fit.

Posted by Brandon Carter on May 28, 2014 7:03:00 AM

Just 100 years ago the first cross-continental phone call was made. Now, you're reading a blog post while listening to music streaming from the cloud and texting with your spouse about dinner.

As remarkable as it seems, technological innovation and consumer adoption don't happen by accident. It's extremely rare that a technology debuts and immediately jumps from A (a concept) all the way to Z (finished product with mass consumer adoption) without some major bumps along the way. No, every item you use throughout your day is the result of years of learning, failure, feedback, trial and effort.

This conversation is relevant to mobile payments. The basic technology exists (A) but is far, far from mass adoption (Z). Whether it's five years or 100, there is quite a bit that needs to happen before society at large begins paying with their phones. And some companies are already getting in the game.

Posted by Brandon Carter on May 1, 2014 2:08:00 AM

Not too long ago I stumbled upon an article wherein a loyalty guru was asked to weigh in on the future of rewards programs for credit cards. He opined that the long-term outlook for these types of programs, particularly those that dole out points, was heading for a sharp decline. The problem, he said, was that the convenience of mobile technology would inspire people to actually redeem their points, resulting in a revenue decrease from shrinking breakage.

Like Walter White from the popular AMC series BreakingBad, some loyalty programs are turning to the dark side. They've abandoned their purpose - loyalty, the very thing they're named for - and instead are just another quick trick to bring people in the door and shuffle them right back out.

A loyalty program that's dependent upon breakage to be deemed a success isn't a loyalty program at all. It's just a broken promise.