Customer loyalty is any brand’s most precious resource, according to the 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report from Merkle, which examined how consumers feel about loyalty and rewards programs and where brands should pivot to accommodate fluctuations in consumer preferences.
The 2021 report showcases just how important loyalty and rewards programs are in building customer relationships with brands, according to Chris Wayman, executive vice president of Promotion and Loyalty Solutions at Merkle: “Viewing the brand, product, service, and sales experience from the consumer’s perspective enables loyalty marketers to create programs that deliver higher customer satisfaction and increased revenues. Our report reveals that when done correctly, loyalty programs can be among the most effective strategies in driving lifelong brand loyalty.”
Key findings from the 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report included:
- While many customers stayed loyal to brands, the events of 2020 created the need for brand switching (due to limited inventory/access or finding better value) and/or discontinuing purchases (due to financial constraints or disagreeing with a stance the brand took on societal events).
- Earning points for rewards continues to be the favorite loyalty program structure, and customers prefer redeeming these points for discounts.
- Customers are most comfortable with brands that utilize engagement and purchase history to enhance the loyalty experience, such as receiving personalized offers based on individual purchase activity.
- Three key tactics allow brands to cultivate relationships and foster emotional loyalty
delighting through surprises, making the customer’s life easier, and simply saying “thank you.”
The report surveyed more than 1,500 consumers who were sourced outside of the loyalty marketing programs that Merkle manages for its clients. Responses came from US residents aged 18 to 65.