40% of Consumers Report Bad Loyalty Experience

Three out of four Americans are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, but 85 percent of members report that they haven’t heard a single word from a loyalty program since the day they signed up.

Likewise, 81 percent say they don’t even know the benefits of the program, or how or when they will receive rewards.

Those are among the results of a recent study of U.S. consumers by ACI Worldwide, which shows that many retail loyalty programs leave consumers feeling underappreciated and many consumers are enrolled in a program they don’t completely understand.

“Loyalty programs have long been a logical way to leverage consumer satisfaction, but retailers are missing the mark when it comes to reaching out to consumers with information and offers that are relevant to them,” said Rob Seward, ACI senior industry marketing manager. “The end result is that memberships are becoming meaningless.”

While loyalty programs are designed to build devotion, they sometimes send mixed messages. Whether it was a reward they didn’t want (27 percent) or a reward that was too small to take seriously (22 percent), more than two in five consumers have had a negative experience from a loyalty program.

The survey also shows that the majority of American consumers (62 percent) join retail loyalty programs so they can get discounts on the things they buy most. However, only about one third of Americans (36 percent) received a reward or promotion that made them come back to the store again and one in four consumers complains they have received a reward or promotion for something they would never buy. Conversely, only 27 percent of Americans have received a loyalty program reward or promotion that made them feel valued as a customer.

“With this consumer dissatisfaction of program benefits, we’ve made sure our ACI Retail Commerce Server for Rewards Management offers programs that can be easily marketed to consumers’ specific purchasing history,” Seward said. “Offers can be delivered to the recipient prior to or during their purchase event, which maximizes exposure to the loyalty program when it matters most. Successful retailers place the customer experience at the center of their loyalty and rewards strategy. ACI is making it easy for retailers to integrate their loyalty and rewards programs so they can do what the programs were intended – create greater consumer loyalty.”

Conducted in by Wakefield Research, the study interviewed 1,053 nationally representative Americans age 18 and older, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.

ACI Worldwide powers electronic payments for more than 750 financial institutions, retailers and processors around the world.

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