In order to keep customers from turning to competitors or online marketplaces for better deals, businesses are putting more focus on customer loyalty programs and expanding offerings as part of their service strategies. There are now approximately 2 billion loyalty membership programs, according to a 2011 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, up 16.3 percent from the previous year.
The programs are favored by customers and businesses as a more convient way to participate in promotional offers than coupons, according to Go Banking Rates.
Businesses have also favored those programs because it allows them to keep information about each shopper's history on file so they can build highly-targeted marketing and advertising campaigns in the future. This capability has actually made it possible to track other important data, such as the salmonella and e. coli outbreaks. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used loyalty club records from grocery stores to track shoppers who purchased contaminated products.
As a result of the widespread popularity of loyalty programs, some companies have found the cards get lost in customers' wallets after initial registration and are turning to new value-added offerings to differentiate their brand from competitors'. Some corporations are using tiered membership programs, linked payment cards, programs that offer rewards across company partnerships and social media exclusives to better engage shoppers, according to MSN.
Companies are rewarding shoppers with extra coupons of exclusive deals offered only to followers of their Facebook and Twitter accounts, while others earn customer satisfaction and loyalty with additional rewards, Ohio State University professor Deborah Mitchell told the source.