Report: Loyalty programs kept customers engaged during Covid

New antavo report into customer loyalty programs finds those measuring ROI are satisfied, that more investment is on its way and highlights key omnichannel challenges facing brands

More than six in 10 brands with customer loyalty programs claim these offerings have kept customers engaged during Covid-19, with higher tier members recording 30 per cent higher purchase frequency.

That’s just one of the many findings of the new global survey into customer loyalty programs and plans by technology company, antavo, entitled Global Customer Loyalty Report 2022.

According to the report, 62 per cent of companies surveyed reported loyalty programs have kept customers engaged, and 93.1 per cent of those measuring ROI claim positive results. Yet only one-third offering a loyalty program said their organisations are measuring the ROI of loyalty.

Just over six in 10 (61 per cent) invested in their loyalty programs during the pandemic, while 72 per cent are now actively planning further revamps over the next three years.

Overall, 56 per cent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their customer loyalty programs. This was tempered by the 42.3 per cent reporting neutral satisfaction, indicating more could be achieving better results from loyalty programs.

Top motivating factors for running loyalty programs are increasing customer engagement, increasing overall revenue, improving the way the company uses member data and leverages insights, collecting data, and increasing customer experience. By contrast, those companies who are planning to introduce a loyalty program cited improving customer satisfaction and improving personalisation among their top five motivators.

The report also found 77.3 per cent of companies who have a loyalty program that doesn't reward member behaviour outside of the buying cycle plan to change that within the next three years.

Tiered programs were among the stronger performers, with those running such offerings claiming a 1.8x return on investment compared to those without tiers. The report also found 30 customers in top tiers purchased at a 29.6 per cent higher frequency rate than those sitting on the lowest tier of such programs, and that companies were seeing 2.1x more spend on average by customers in higher tiers.

Antavo also looked at the significance of customer loyalty programs, finding a US-skewed Starbucks Rewards, Sephora’s Beauty Insider, Amazon Prime and Nike Membership among the most inspiring offerings in the market.

The top challenge identified by survey respondents for 2021 – 2023 was offering a seamless omnichannel loyalty experience. This was followed by integrating loyalty marketing into the company’s main strategy and collecting and using customer data.

In terms of wider marketing strategies, loyalty marketing ranked third after digital transformation and ecommerce. Across respondents, 22.8 per cent of all budgets were being allocated to customer loyalty program management and CRM.

The antavo report was based on surveying 325 corporates globally as well as tracking data from 25 million member actions and was supplemented by insights from PwC and industry professionals. It also includes a raft of recommendations around how to manage and harness loyalty programs effectively, as well as technologies and an array of detail on rewards and omnichannel experience approaches.

The customer loyalty management market is expected to be worth US$15.5 billion by 2025.

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