TORONTO and NEW YORK, April 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, global customer experience marketing, management and measurement company, Bond Brand Loyalty, in partnership with Visa, released its 9th annual Loyalty Report, revealing the loyalty program leaders and their primary drivers of success. Loyalty continues to deliver positive outcomes for brands, and the impact on advocacy, retention and spend remains as strong as ever. At the same time, the data reveals that expectations of loyalty programs continue to steadily rise, year over year. Top programs differentiate and lead by prioritizing the program experience over the end reward itself.

In the Canadian retail industry alone, Bond estimates billions of dollars in customer spending could be unlocked if brands address the 24% gap in expectations versus current experience along the customer journey. By re-tooling programs and closing the gap to better meet expectations, there’s a potential to unlock $18 billion of consumer spending in the retail category alone. Bond also announced its top program rankings by industry along with its new Prime’nomic Scale—a benchmark for the impact of loyalty programs around the globe.

Top Brands
According to Canadian consumers, some of the top loyalty programs, based on overall member engagement over the last year, include Amazon Prime, McDonald's McCafé Rewards, Sephora Beauty Insider, Nordstrom Nordy Club, Hotels.com Rewards, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Additional brands trending well in customer loyalty include Airbnb, Netflix, Dollar Shave Club and Nike. Member engagement is highest in the category sectors of car rental, coffee QSR and airline. Hotel, gas and convenience, and coalition make up the bottom of the rankings.

Around the world, Bond has been taking stock of the relativity of loyalty satisfaction and engagement.

The Prime’nomic Scale
New this year, the Bond Prime’nomic Scale—similar to the Big Mac Index’s ‘Burgenomics’—provides a benchmark for consumer expectations and the impact that best-in-class loyalty programs can have on influencing customer satisfaction and engagement around the globe. Using Amazon Prime (a top-ranked program in 7 out of 10 key markets around the world) as a reference point, this new Prime’nomic Scale helps compare how a loyalty program in one market performs relative to programs in another market.

The data throughout the study unveils key opportunities for brands to differentiate their loyalty programs by focusing on impactful elements of the member experience, which will lead to deeper brand engagement and increased sales. Top recommendations from the findings include:

Reconsider Gamification
Gamification is a driver of program enjoyment, and the enjoyment of participating in a program beats the actual end reward. 49% of members are interested in using game mechanics and when gamification is present, 72% take advantage of it.

  • Under half (39%) of programs employ game mechanics in their loyalty programs.
  • When programs use gamification—like goal-setting, countdowns and virtual rewards—programs see almost two-fold (1.8x) lift in enjoyment.

Revisit Personalization
As the data suggests, consumers have a high expectation that when personal data is shared, it will be used to make a much better and more personalized experience for them.

  • 96% of programs collect first names and yet only 57% use them.
  • 8 in 10 program members want more of their data to be used to improve personalization.
  • Only 1 in 10 members say their program experience is highly personalized or that they are satisfied with the level of personalization, and only 12% say programs keep their preferences up to date.

Refocus on Gen Z
Unlike their Gen X parents, the data finds Gen Z and younger millennials (ages 24–29) are highly influenced by loyalty programs (65% Gen Z and 71% Millennials), but they are less satisfied with the overall program.

  • Nearly half (49%) are comfortable with programs capturing their information in exchange for authenticity, purpose and meaning.
  • Even though young consumers are at the beginning of their earning potential, 39% are already indicating they’re willing to pay a fee to receive enhanced benefits from loyalty programs compared to the average Canadian consumer at 32%.
  • Gen Z and younger millennials are also beginning to change the payments ecosystem, and they’ll expect a digital experience wherever they go. 50% save a card on file with a brand for use, while 23% save their card in their smartphone’s digital wallet and show it to receive benefits or to make purchases. 

Review Partnerships
According to Bond’s data, program members have the capacity to be actively involved in only 8 of the 13 programs in which they are members. This represents an opportunity for brands to come together in a partnership when program participants have similar traits or buying patterns.

  • 55% of members expressed interest in partnerships introduced to them through their loyalty programs.
  • 22% say their program has a partnership and 60% find the partnership appealing.
  • The data shows that spend is highly impactful when loyalty brands bring in partners. For example, two-thirds of RBC loyalty members surveyed are spending more at Petro Canada since linking their RBC cards. More than half of Canadian Tire Triangle Members who are Husky customers say they are spending more at Husky Fuel.

“This year’s report substantiates the experiential elements of a brand’s program as the key to unlocking greater profitability,” said Sean Claessen, Chief Strategy Officer at Bond. “It’s the journey, not just the destination—when it comes to customer loyalty. The experience the program facilitates is what differentiates leaders from laggards. Personalized experiences, elements of game-science and strong brand partnerships—that deliver along the entire customer journey—are what make members more likely to increase spend, stick with and say good things about the brands they do business with.”

The Loyalty Report 2019, conducted in partnership with Visa, is recognized as the longest-standing and largest study of its kind, providing leading analysis of customer engagement, loyalty attitudes, behaviours, drivers and disruption. Now in its ninth year, the expanded 2019 global report features an unprecedented assessment of more than 900 loyalty programs in 20+ markets by more than 55,000 consumers across a range of key sectors including payments, retail, grocery, gas, dining, hotel, airline, entertainment, CPG and coalition. With loyalty programs becoming a vital element of customer–brand relationships and increasing influence on credit card decision-making and usage, this enhanced report will equip brands with the actionable information they need to gain a competitive edge and produce greater business results. 
 
For more information about purchasing The Loyalty Report 2019 and to download a free copy of the Executive Summary, visit https://info.bondbrandloyalty.com/loyalty-report-2019

Click here to register for our 1pm ET May 29th New Story of Loyalty webinar.

About Bond Brand Loyalty
Bond is a global customer experience marketing, management and measurement company that specializes in building brand loyalty for the world’s most influential and valuable brands. Our mission is to make marketing more rewarding for customers, richer and more resilient for brands, and to deliver profitable business outcomes for our clients. We build measurable, authentic and long-lasting relationships through a combination of services that includes loyalty solutions, customer experience design, marketing research, customer analytics, live brand experiences and proprietary technology platforms. Bond has been recognized as a Best Managed Company for the second year in a row. Visit our website, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, or contact us at 1-844-277-2663.

Contacts:
Bond Brand Loyalty
Richard Lane, Marketing Director
Richard.Lane@bondbrandloyalty.com
+1 (905) 696-5319 M. +1 (416) 844-9658

Shannon Wojcik
PR Contact, Galvanize Worldwide
shannon@galvanizeworldwide.com
+1 (585) 831-6267

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/080da7de-ad8a-4f1e-83a3-4e279f9201bf