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Forty-Four Percent of Consumers Have Had a Negative Experience with a Loyalty Program
A new study finds that Americans say loyalty and rewards programs miss the mark with membership benefits and aren't driving loyalty.
Posted Mar 16, 2011
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ACI Worldwide, a provider of payment systems, released the results of a recent study of U.S. consumers that shows many retail loyalty programs leave consumers feeling underappreciated, and many consumers are enrolled in programs they don’t completely understand.

Although three out of four Americans are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, 85 percent of members report that they haven’t heard a single word from a loyalty program since the day they signed up. Likewise, 81 percent say they don’t even know the benefits of the program or how and when they will receive rewards.

“Loyalty programs have long been a logical way to leverage consumer satisfaction, but retailers are missing the mark when it comes to reaching out to consumers with information and offers that are relevant to them,” said Rob Seward, senior industry marketing manager at ACI Worldwide, in a statement. “The end result is that memberships are becoming meaningless.”

While loyalty programs are designed to build devotion, they sometimes send mixed messages. Whether it was a reward they didn’t want (27 percent) or a reward that was too small to take seriously (22 percent), more than two in five consumers have had negative experiences from loyalty programs.

The survey also shows that the majority of American consumers (62 percent) join retail loyalty programs so they can get discounts on the things they buy most. However, only about one-third of Americans (36 percent) received a reward or promotion that made them come back to the store again and one in four consumers complain they have received a reward or promotion for something they would never buy. Conversely, only 27 percent of Americans have received a loyalty program reward or promotion that made them feel valued as a customer.

This survey was conducted in by Wakefield Research and involved 1,053 interviews of Americans aged 18 and older, using an email invitation and an online survey.


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