Flexible Features Speak Loudest in Loyalty Programs

Flexible Features Speak Loudest in Loyalty Programs

Consumers are faced with a dizzying array of retailers vying for their attention, and a retail loyalty program can be a determining factor for where they decide to shop. In fact, almost two-thirds (72%) of global respondents agree that, all other factors equal, they’ll buy from a retailer with a loyalty program over one without. But loyalty program features vary from program to program. So what features speak loudest to consumers?

When it comes to the loyalty-program features members are looking for, flexibility is very important. More than eight in 10 global loyalty-program participants (81%) say it’s somewhat or very appealing to be able to earn rewards regardless of whether a purchase was made in store, on a website or on a mobile device, and 79% cite the ability to choose among several types of rewards. More than three-quarters of global loyalty-program members rate two other benefits as appealing: personalized promotions based on past purchasing (77%) and the opportunity to earn bonuses by doing some specified activity (76%).

As adoption of nontraditional payment methods rises, loyalty programs also should be flexible in terms of payment type. Two-thirds of global loyalty-program participants (67%) say integration with a mobile payment system is somewhat or very appealing, so they can automatically earn and use rewards when they use a mobile wallet. Mobile-wallet integration is even more appealing in Asia-Pacific (78%) and Latin America (75%) than globally.

“Mobile payments platforms will increasingly provide an opportunity for loyalty-program engagement with consumers, providing a convenient and personalized way for program members and retailers to engage with one another all along the path to purchase,” said Louise Keely, executive vice president, Nielsen Global Retail Practice.

Flexible rewards, integration across channels and personalized promotional offers are highly appealing to respondents of all ages. However, not surprisingly, younger loyalty-program members are more likely than their older counterparts to recognize the appeal of these features—particularly those regarding mobile or social-media integration.

Other findings from Nielsen’s Global Loyalty-Sentiment Survey include:

  • More than half of global loyalty-program participants (51%) say product discounts are among their most-valued loyalty-program benefits.
  • Nearly three-quarters of global loyalty-program participants (74%) agree that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a company.
  • Sixty-six percent of global respondents say they’d shop more at online retailers if these sellers provided loyalty benefits similar to those of traditional in-store retailers.
  • Fewer than half of Latin American respondents (44%) say they belong to one or more loyalty programs, the lowest percentage in the survey.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Retail Loyalty-Sentiment report. If you would like more detailed country-level data from this survey, it is available for sale in the Nielsen Store.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Loyalty-Sentiment Survey was conducted March 1-23, 2016, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 63 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion.