Reward programs instrumental for customer loyalty

Smiling Girl with BracesConsumers are definitely making wiser purchases than they did years ago. Besides the taxing economy, there’s more ways to research prices, quality, and reward incentives. Companies try their best, or let’s at least hope so, to improve their products and keep their prices competitive. Companies present their websites attractively, user-friendly, and make sure it is easy to navigate.

Now it’s easy to get a one-time customer with fancy displays and attractive packaging. Even at the mall customer service representatives are smiling and extremely helpful. No matter where you look there are promotional advertising banners, huge sale signs, and buyer incentives.

Colloquy Inc., a company that presents customer loyalty solutions to businesses, surveyed and monitored customer use of loyalty rewards. They reported a significant increase in  the retail business of companies using redemption programs such as store gift cards and merchandise. From my own experience, I must admit that my wallet is full of loyalty cards ranging from CVS, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, to my American Express credit cards. I’m rewarded with free coffee, discounted cosmetics and shampoos, gift certificates for books, and upgrades to first class when I fly.

According to Colloquy’s survey, young adults ranging from 18 to 25 years of age are the top part of the population using reward programs. Many of these people are college students who admittedly need to make the most of each spent dollar, and represented the lowest income of people surveyed. The next most popular group using reward programs are women ranging in ages from 25 to 49; most women are the main shoppers in their families. Third place on the survey was from households that earn over $125,000 per year, thus indicating even those who are considered relatively affluent still find reward programs to have substantial benefits. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed (80.2%) found loyalty reward programs where they have the ability to redeem and collect rewards from a wide variety of merchants to be the most favorable of all incentives.

I have to admit that when I was at the mall yesterday, even though the selection of stores selling black dress slacks is infinite, I found myself in the store where I have a customer loyalty card. Just a few more purchases there, and I will be able to redeem it for something special that really caught my eye!

photo credit: PinkStock Photos!