- When it comes to the loyalty rewards that consumers like the most, 76% of those surveyed list free products, while 74% cite discounts, according to new research from HelloWorld shared with Marketing Dive. HelloWorld, which is owned by Merkle, surveyed more than 1,500 U.S. consumers across age and gender lines for its latest annual Loyalty Barometer report.
- The biggest complaints with loyalty programs among those surveyed are that earning rewards takes too long (54% of respondents) and that it's too difficult to earn rewards (38%). Sixty-one percent of consumers want brands to surprise them with offers just for being a customer, compared to 26% who want personalized product recommendations. Three-quarters want rewards for actions like watching a video or taking a survey.
- Mobile apps were the preferred way to access loyalty program information for 66% of consumers. Consumers are showing an interest in smart speakers and Facebook Messenger to interact with brands. Most consumers, or 64%, said the traditional "earning points for rewards" programs were appealing, but 55% of millennials and 38% of Gen X enjoy creative and unexpected rewards, on social media or in-store.
While consumers still appreciate traditional ways of doing loyalty, like offering points for purchases, the new report underscores how more are expecting rewards for engaging with a brand in distinct ways, like watching a video or taking a survey. The findings suggest that marketers should think more about ways to link up their marketing content with their loyalty programs. A desire for more innovative approaches to rewards appears especially true of younger consumers like millennials, who marketers put a lot of value in since they have the potential to convert into long-term customers.
The HelloWorld report additionally underpins how essential mobile channels, from more staple offerings like apps and messenger services to emerging tech like smart speakers, are becoming in the loyalty space. Voice technology such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa haven't, to date, had especially robust transactional capabilities, but their ability to facilitate to rewards could get smarter or more seamless as adoption grows.
Big advertising platforms are clearly looking to stake out a bigger piece of the rewards pie as well. Amazon recently debuted a new self-service loyalty program called Amazon Moments that offers physical and digital rewards for marketers that are entirely fulfilled by the online retailing giant. Amazon creates a rewards landing page for each campaign and marketers can link their rewards, only paying when the desired action is completed by a user.
However, some barriers remain to offering personalized rewards. Privacy is a concern for consumers when it comes to disclosing their information. Just 28% of respondents surveyed by HelloWorld were comfortable sharing their browsing history on a brand's website, while 57% were comfortable sharing purchase history and 51% were willing to share their gender. This finding is in line with recent ExpressVPN research showing 71% of consumers worry about how brands collect and use their personal data, citing identity theft and credit card fraud as their top concerns.