Going Beyond Loyalty, Part I: Loyalty membership does not spell loyal behavior for shoppers

Upside surveyed 1,900 consumers and found a gap between loyalty membership and behavior.

February 22, 2024
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Going Beyond Loyalty, Part I: Loyalty membership does not spell loyal behavior for shoppers
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Going Beyond Loyalty, Part I: Loyalty membership does not spell loyal behavior for shoppers

During the pandemic, retailers made forward-thinking pivots like differentiated digital experiences and special promotions that helped them win new and loyal customers.

Even now in 2024, retailers consistently rate the following as their top priorities:

  • Increasing customer loyalty
  • Acquiring more new customers
  • Reducing costs

But the way forward for retailers has become less clear. 

Inflation and labor costs continue to rise, while supply chain disruptions have only narrowly improved. These intense pressures on your operations make cost control a top priority, and so your loyalty investment decisions become even more important.

In our survey of 1,900 consumers, we learned that today’s buyers are hungry for value, and so retailers are right to invest in loyalty. But just because a customer belongs to a given program doesn’t mean they’ll actually behave loyally, so a typical loyalty program alone isn’t enough.

Key insights

  1. About 50% of active loyalty members choose where they shop based on a loyalty program. That’s both a good and a bad thing — while many shoppers are influenced by loyalty, a similar share of people are not.
     
  2. Of the 16 retail categories our survey considered, grocery had the highest loyalty participation by far. 74% of respondents belonged to a program in that category; the next closest was pharmacy, with 39% of those surveyed participating.
  3. When shoppers participate in loyalty for a given category, they often join more than one program. Consider the breakdown by category:
    • Restaurant: 4.1 different programs, the highest of all categories surveyed (and no other category had more than three) 
    • Grocery: 2.3 different programs
    • Fuel: 2.5 different programs  

Download the full report, which includes breakdowns for each key retail category: 

Going Beyond Loyalty, Part I: Loyalty membership does not spell loyal behavior for shoppers

The Upside Team

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The Upside team is made up of data scientists and industry experts who are passionate about delivering empowering content to our readers. With a focus on providing practical insights and meaningful perspectives, we create engaging materials across a wide range of topics. From exploring industry trends and offering expert analysis to sharing useful tips and inspiring ideas, our team works diligently to provide you with the information you need to thrive.

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