True Loyalty

We all have them. Membership in a Shopper Loyalty Program—the fob, the app, or the card itself. We’ve all seen key chains littered with myriad fobs, but retail stores are perhaps those most in abundance.

When asked at my local CVS if I have a loyalty card, in lieu of presenting the fob, I simply give them my phone number. And those of you who shop CVS know that what follows is a rather long receipt with multiple coupons and savings opportunities.

But does discount create loyalty?

I came across a cartoon by self-proclaimed “marketoonist”, Tom Fishburne , in which he lampoons the shopper’s side of the Loyalty Card, poking fun at irony within loyalty.

We live in a world of savvy shoppers who plan both on and offline before they shop. They know where to get savings and utilize many coupon sites. They know they can save a bundle while building their basket. However, these shoppers take their “loyalty” to different stores, to save on different items, to complete their shopping.

We can’t underestimate the value of data mining when it comes to developing personalization and pricing. But shoppers continue to find clever ways to save, and retailers need to ensure that they are connecting with their customers beyond the dollar.

Lakeland, Florida-based Publix has always subscribed to their mantra “where shopping is a pleasure”. For those of us in the southeast who’ve encountered this “pleasure”, we understand that Publix delivers to it. From customer service (they’ll take your bags to your car), through clean store policy, to the high-quality perimeter store experience, people enjoy shopping at “their” Publix. There are no loyalty cards at Publix. While pricing is always considered, they believe that loyalty comes from a human experience that is supported by high quality product. And they deliver to that.

A retailer must have vision, passion, and ability to activate—with or without a Loyalty Program—to capture true shopper loyalty.

by: Rick Fossum

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