Merkle’s 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report Reveals the Power of Rewards Programs in Building Strong Customer Relationships

Report highlights key drivers of loyalty including personalization and recognition, and discusses the impact of the events in 2020

Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, has released its 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report. This fourth annual report analyzes how consumers feel about loyalty and rewards programs and where brands should pivot to accommodate fluctuations in consumer preferences as a result of the events of 2020.

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Merkle will host a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, March 31, at 2:00 p.m. (ET), where Promotion and Loyalty Solutions team members, Michela Baxter and Craig Heiter, will discuss key findings from the report and provide attendees with valuable insights on loyalty program structures, how to improve the overall customer experience, what consumers are expecting from loyalty programs, and how brands can advance personalization efforts in a data-privacy-focused environment.

Merkle’s Human Loyalty® solutions, including digital promotions, gamification, loyalty programs, incentives, rebates, and rewards, are designed to create enduring customer relationships. These solutions enable unique insights needed to fuel identity and personalize brand moments, while improving the overall customer experience.

“Customer loyalty is the brand’s most precious resource. This year’s report showcases just how important loyalty and rewards programs are in building customer relationships with brands,” said Chris Wayman, executive vice president, Promotion and Loyalty Solutions at Merkle. “Viewing the brand, product, service, and sales experience from the consumer’s perspective enables loyalty marketers to create programs that deliver higher customer satisfaction and increased revenues. Our report reveals that when done correctly, loyalty programs can be among the most effective strategies in driving lifelong brand loyalty.”

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Key findings from the 2021 Loyalty Barometer Report include:

  • While many customers stayed loyal to brands, the events of 2020 created the need for brand switching (due to limited inventory/access or finding better value) and/or discontinuing purchases (due to financial constraints or disagreeing with a stance the brand took on societal events).
  • Earning points for rewards continues to be the favorite loyalty program structure, and customers prefer redeeming these points for discounts.
  • Customers are most comfortable with brands that utilize engagement and purchase history to enhance the loyalty experience, such as receiving personalized offers based on individual purchase activity.
  • Three key tactics allow brands to cultivate relationships and foster emotional loyalty: delighting through surprises, making the customer’s life easier, and simply saying “thank you.”

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