- According to a new Harris Poll survey, 71% of Americans would be less likely to join a rewards program that collects personal information, such as address, account information and more, with 27% saying they would be much less likely to join, according to a press release.
- Additionally, 76% revealed they would be more likely to join a program that required just their name and phone number. The survey also found 58% of Americans are less likely to join a customer loyalty program that requires an app download to access benefits, with 26% saying they would be much less likely to join. Consumers also showed fatigue with carrying cards, with 79% responding they would be more likely to join a program that does not require one.
- The online survey polled 2,003 Americans age 18 and older, and was conducted on behalf of Wilbur, a loyalty program operator based in Boulder, Colorado.
The research suggests that, while loyalty programs are rampant, there is an undercurrent of resistance among consumers when it comes to sharing too much information with marketers. While consumers also crave personalized experiences — a feat that requires customer data — the Harris Poll survey raises the possibility that a preference for privacy could outweigh the desire for personalization following a number of data privacy scandals over the past year, including Facebook's Cambridge Analytica mishap.
Still, loyalty programs remain an integral tool for many companies, particularly in the grocery industry. While loyalty programs have been around for grocers for years, they're becoming increasingly important in today's competitive landscape. From personalized coupons and recommendations to gas rewards and cash back, grocery loyalty programs offer a range of rewards for shoppers. If a grocery company can offer a simple loyalty program that stands out to shoppers, they'll attract more members.
Historically grocery loyalty programs have required just a name and phone number, and customers have adopted them widely. But as more grocers look to integrate e-commerce and try to offer more sophisticated tools and personalized experiences for shoppers, many companies are turning to mobile apps to manage customer loyalty programs.
Salt Lake City-based grocer Harmons recently introduced an app to help shoppers manage their Foodie Club rewards, and SpartanNash launched a mobile app last year that is integrated with its Yes rewards program across several of the company's grocery banners. Safeway has a two-part loyalty program called Just4U, which utilizes points for gas rewards and personalized coupons and is most easily managed with the grocer's app.
Based on the findings from the Harris Poll, shoppers are hesitant to join loyalty programs that require mobile app downloads. The lift could be easier for grocery stores, however, particularly if the app is an extension of an already existing loyalty program and makes it simple for shoppers to track and redeem their rewards, and ultimately save money on their weekly grocery spend.
Retailers need to make sure they are giving healthy benefits and getting a high value customer in return. Multi-retailer program Plenti shuttered last year after key participants left and other retailers had to rethink their benefits because it was hurting their bottom line.
The Harris Poll results serve as a strong reminder that the privacy issue for consumers has not gone away. For retailers, despite the high participation and apparent enthusiasm for loyalty programs, it is clear that they need to carefully weigh willingness to share data against the desire for personalized experiential rewards when crafting a loyalty program strategy.