Mar 05, 2021
The loyalty programs that are rated highest by customers are not necessarily those of the most well-known retailers, a recent nationwide survey shows.
The America’s Best Loyalty Programs 2021 survey, conducted by Statista and reported by Newsweek, found a number of smaller retailers beating out larger national chains.
The study was based on a survey of 4,000 customers in the U.S., according to a document detailing its methodology. The researchers used six criteria to evaluate the quality of a loyalty program: ease and enjoyment, benefit, overall satisfaction, customer support, trust and likelihood of recommending the program to a friend.
In the department store category, Bealls, a chain with locations in the south and southwestern U.S., edged out national player Kohl’s (with a rating of 8.18 to 8.03) and came in significantly above chains like Macy’s with its Macy’s Card (rated 7.64) and TJX with its TJX Rewards Credit Card (rated 7.44). Bealls’ Coast 2 Coast Rewards program gives customers one point for every dollar spent in-store, a $5 reward for every 200 points earned, a $5 birthday bonus, 10 percent off in-store purchases on Tuesday and access to double points events. Customers taking part in the program have 60 days to redeem their rewards.
In footwear, the Vans Family “experiential loyalty program” received a score of 8.35. The skate shoe brand, once responsible for the Warped Tour, beat out prominent names from across the footwear world like DSW (7.88), Foot Locker (7.79), and Zappos (7.39). The Vans Family program touts insider information, custom shoe designs and members-only experiences as its selling points.
In convenience stores, Holiday Stationstores, which has 600 stores in 10 U.S states, earned a score of 9.63, while 7-Eleven had a 7.57 and Casey’s had a 7.36. Holiday Stationstores’ rewards program offers free sandwiches and coffee after certain numbers of purchases and five cents per gallon off of gas every day.
Big national chains did win out in some verticals. For instance Caribou Coffee’s Caribou Perks program and Dunkin’s DDPerks program tied with a score of 8.09 in the coffee shops category. Surprisingly, the two chains edged out Starbucks, whose loyalty program was rated at 7.98.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think some of the high-ranking loyalty programs from smaller, regional retailers were rated higher than those of larger, national chains? To what degree do consumer perceptions of loyalty programs affect retail performance?
“The most successful loyalty programs are those that listen and respond to the feedback and needs of the store’s actual shoppers.”