Fast-changing media, ecommerce and constantly-connected consumers are among the reasons that building and keeping customer loyalty is one of the major challenges marketers are currently facing. New research confirmed that loyalty points can be leveraged as highly effective tools to engage consumers and drive loyalty. Not only can loyalty points delight consumers with rewards for their loyalty, they can also drive traffic and customer acquisition, respond to cart abandonment, and help with other key marketer challenges in 2017.
The new research from Blackhawk Network[1] examined how branded value, like loyalty points, can motivate consumers to engage with brands. The research found that 81 percent of survey respondents belong to a loyalty program. With that kind of reach, it makes sense for brands to deploy and leverage loyalty points as a valuable sales and marketing tool.

For instance, the research revealed that loyalty points can:

  • Prevent cart abandonment online: Thirty percent of respondents say that receiving loyalty points would motivate them to complete an online purchase.
  • Increase loyalty: The research demonstrates that loyalty points do indeed achieve what they are intended to, which is drive loyalty. Ninety-six percent of respondents feel equally or more loyal to a brand or retailer after redeeming loyalty points.
  • Drive consumer referrals: Eighty-five percent of respondents say they are likely to recommend to someone else a retailer or service that offers loyalty points.Increase purchase intent: Eighty-nine percent of respondents are more likely to purchase something from a retailer offering loyalty points.

Redeeming loyalty points is also increasingly flexible. Many programs now allow consumers to select from a variety of in-demand rewards like gift cards, prepaid cards, merchandise or egifts. Some rewards can be redeemed across brick and mortar, online or mobile. Additionally, numerous brands now integrate their loyalty points into their mobile apps or into the major mobile wallets, allowing for more flexible redemption for their shoppers.
These innovations have kept loyalty points popular with consumers, despite constantly fluctuating sentiment and more options than ever before for where to spend their money. Blackhawk’s research revealed that 23 percent of responding consumers are redeeming more loyalty points this year versus last year. Marketers might want to consider loyalty points as an effective marketing tool in an arsenal of “branded value” solutions—branded objects of value that can be accepted in payment or exchange for another product or value, including gift cards, loyalty points, etc.
In a world where consumers are continually flooded with choices, loyalty points have the power to respond to some of today’s top marketer challenges, including driving store traffic, incenting purchases and spurring new customer acquisition. These powerful tools shouldn’t just be looked at as rewards, but incentives that can stimulate ongoing engagement in the modern marketers’ tool kit.

Theresa McEndree is Vice President, Marketing for Hawk Incentives, a Blackhawk Network business.


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