Which is more important--the loyalty card or the loyalty app? For the time being, I say BOTH. Preferably integrated.
The Register: Loyalty card? Really? Why data-slurping store cards need a reboot, 2016-Nov-28 by Sooraj Shah
But with new data streams now available to retailers, it raises the question: is the importance of the loyalty card scheme and its data diminishing?
Now, retail consultant Rare has found that of the UK's most popular loyalty programmes, just two – My Starbucks Rewards and Amazon Prime – are exceeding customers' expectations based on a loyalty benchmark it's developed. The benchmark is based on a survey of customers asking how "loyal" they felt to a brand.
Each score is based on how much they agreed about four key experience metrics: ease of use, sales experience, delivery on promise and personalisation.
M&S Sparks, Superdrug Beautycard and Boots Advantage Card were about in line with customers' expectations according to Rare, but Nando's, Tesco, John Lewis, Nectar Card, and schemes offered by Debenhams and Co-Operative were well below the benchmark. Rare asked customers to judge brands on factors including good sales experience, personalised service and ease of use.
One of the reasons for this is that retailers haven't yet moved quickly enough to make their loyalty proposition digital.
A report from mobile engagement firm Urban Airship found that the majority of consumers (62 per cent) were more likely to use their loyalty card if it was on their phone – and it's perhaps unsurprising that the Tesco Clubcard and Nectar Card both have released smartphone apps to fill this void.
But the ratings and reviews for these apps are staggeringly poor – with users of the Nectar Card complaining that they can't actually use the digital version of the card in store and instead only use it to view points and other information.
The Urban Airship report made clear that Brits are more likely to join a loyalty programme in which points and rewards are automatically updated and immediately visible on mobile wallet cards.
Photo by "GoToVan" on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gotovan/