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A new set of market research shows that rewards-based loyalty programs are a huge driver of consumer brand favorability and repeat purchases. 

Additionally, the data hints at how loyalty programs can be maximized, as they become a deeper part of one’s purchasing decisions.

Loyalty programs are much easier to access as retailers can store phone numbers and offer deals through mobile apps, ensuring that they can be always at the ready.

Loyal Buyers Keep Coming Back

According to data from the Maritz Loyalty Next 2015 Customer Study, more than 45 percent of customers say the opportunity to “earn rewards” is a primary driver to purchasing from a brand. The research involved a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers.

It also indicated support for rewards and status benefits, with 40 percent saying they were key to joining such a program.

But success for bands requires keeping up with the non-stop benefit cycle. That’s because, according to the research, most customers desire some type of payback. Not necessarily in the form of money, but a steady stream of deals, offers, and other kinds of rewards make such a program worthwhile.

That’s also important because many buyers feel a healthy dose of skepticism. Sixty percent of those surveyed believe that companies only offer such programs in order to get them to buy more stuff — not to build a relationship.

While the former may be the case, there’s no reason you can’t make customer care part of the equation.

Many ways to keep up the loyalty

One tool for brands is to tap into the multiple methods for empowering consumers to redeem their rewards.

Many retailers allow the customer to apply their points by stating their phone number. Or companies can use their mobile app, which also can be helpful for redeeming deals or checking up on points.

This way there’s no reason to carry around a massive assortment of plastic cards just in case you happen to head over to that electronics store.

The Maritz report has three specific recommendations for how a company can get the most out of their rewards program: be specific, make it fun, and be social.

Specificity helps avoid confusion, so you won’t have any unhappy customers that were expecting a deal but get turned away because of some technicality.

Fun can be had in several ways, such as engaging promotions or giveaways, even if they’re for something small.

And social elements can enhance the experience, even if it’s something as simple as a shared hashtag. 

Title image by Ryan McGuire