Retailers, Take Note: Consumers Want Loyalty Programs They Can Cash in On (a Lot)

My husband is obsessed with his Starbucks loyalty reward program. Just last night he stopped in for a cup of coffee he really didn’t want just because he’d be able to earn even more points to use at a later date.

It seems he’s not alone when it comes to consumer interest in reward programs. According to online research conducted on behalf of Blackhawk Network Holdings, a global financial technology company that connects brands and people through branded value solutions, loyalty program members surveyed want more accessible redemption opportunities and prefer to redeem their points at least once a year.

Additionally, the research noted, consumers who want to redeem them will before they hit the $100 mark in reward earnings, and they prefer a reward card over any other reward option, especially the younger generations.

The research was based on a survey of more than 1,500 American adults on their preferences and attitudes toward loyalty programs across retail, airline, hotel, food and beverage, online retail, bank, gym, telecom and utility.

According to the survey, 87 percent of consumers revealed they belong to six loyalty programs but are only active in four.

Loyalty members in sectors such as online retail have the highest engagement, with roughly nine out of 10 report redeeming their loyalty points at least once a year. A majority of those surveyed consider themselves frequent redeemers, cashing in their loyalty points four or more times throughout the year. They would also rather redeem well before that threshold, especially members of online retail, at 85 percent.

Program participants prefer reward cards over other options with more than half of surveyed consumers opting for a prepaid or gift card. Reward cards are also most popular for online retailers at 70 percent.

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