Thursday 14 December 2017

Brands urged to future-proof loyalty schemes

Research in the UK shows while nine out of 10 consumers own a mobile phone, three in every four adults prefer to use a plastic loyalty card than a retail outlet's app.

Ireland's top loyalty marketer Leanne Papaioannou (pictured) says while only a small number of brand owners in Ireland use apps, she expects them to beef up consumer loyalty by combining cards and mobile gadgets.

Papaioannou - who runs Chilli Pepper Marketing - says Topaz, Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Starbucks link their loyalty cards to brand mobile apps. While SuperValu, Tesco and Boots run successful programmes, they ignore app links. Brands which future-proof loyalty recognise the need to place dedicated apps in consumers' hands.

Marketing benefits include cheaper registration and communications, connecting with loyalty members through app pairing and easier engagement with shoppers outside a store. Brands that don't offer a loyalty app will turn to generic apps.

Virtual loyalty wallets like the Stocard allow shoppers to load all their plastic cards together.

Papaioannou warns that with the increase in consumer appetite for rewarding loyalty, marketers who fail to add value or interact better with customers, will pay the price. Shoppers will ignore plastic cards and mobile apps and some may take their custom elsewhere.

Ireland's first independent loyalty study put Tesco's ClubCard top of the list. The Loyalty Performance Index by Amarach Research also highly ranked Topaz Play or Park, Boots Advantage card and BT's Black card. Last September, Arnotts launched its Wonder card with every point worth a cent in discounts.

Michael Cullen is editor of marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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