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Card Carrying Loyalists

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Loyalty matters more than ever, according to a recent survey conducted by ACI Worldwide.

The results of a study of U.S. consumers, conducted late last year, shows that a majority of Americans feel their loyalty programs deliver benefits that are important to them. The data shows a marked increase in the number of consumers who are members of loyalty programs – 84 percent, compared with 74 percent in December 2010.

“This adds up to a big opportunity for retailers when executed correctly,” says Rob Seward, product line manager at ACI Worldwide. “Although it takes time to build a successful loyalty program … we are now seeing proof that loyalty schemes are resonating with consumers and creating customer loyalty.”

The findings indicate that a large majority of consumers would likely choose a retailer over its competitor if they were members of the retailer’s loyalty program; 71 percent feel loyalty programs deliver benefits that are important.

The survey found women favor loyalty schemes more than men -- 91 percent of women have at least one loyalty card, compared with 77 percent of men. Only 18 percent of men report being members of more than three programs, compared with 36 percent of women.

The study also revealed that age plays a role in the level of consumer satisfaction with loyalty programs. In the 18-24 age group, only 5 percent report that very few of their loyalty programs deliver benefits that matter to them; this increases to 27 percent of members over the age of 65.