If you emptied the contents of your wallet, chances are you would find at least one plastic card with a company’s branding on it.
Loyalty program cards need no introduction; customers are well accustomed to them, and brands use these cards to their advantage in pursuit of keeping customers engaged and involved with the brand through their loyalty programs.
Simply put, loyalty cards represent the loyalty programs initiated by the company.
To achieve their various marketing objectives and increase revenue, brands and companies worldwide initiate loyalty programs and issue cards to customers that convert them into members.
Members of loyalty programs can enjoy exclusive benefits from these brands and are deemed as special customers. Perks such as special rewards, gifts, early access to sales, and new launches, among other benefits, are dangled in front of purchasers. The idea behind loyalty program cards is to incentivize frequent and loyal patrons to continue their association with the brand indefinitely.
Loyalty programs are a well-tested means to boost engagement, build a positive brand identity, increase sales, and improve customer satisfaction levels.
Loyalty Program Cards are not a novel concept. They have been around for generations and have evolved to better cater to their customers and companies equally. Here’s a brief history of loyalty program cards through the centuries.
Loyalty programs and cards date back to 1793, when American retailers started giving out copper coins to every customer after their purchase. The customer could collect these coins and redeem them on their next purchases from the same retailer.
Other retailers adopted the concept, and in 1896, in a bid to reduce the expense and expand the reach of the loyalty program, copper coins were replaced with tokens and stamps. UK’s green shield stamps were the first known loyalty program ‘cards’ and were awarded by the S&H Company to its customers after every purchase at the checkout counter of their department stores.
In 1929, Betty Crocker was the first to introduce the box-top as a form of loyalty program cards or tokens. The coupons were cut-outs that were printed on the boxes or the packaging of the products. The customer would cut out these coupons, collect them, and then later redeem them for rewards. The box-top form of loyalty card became widely popular, and soon many companies began to imitate this concept.
In 1981, American Airlines introduced the extremely well-known Frequent Flier program, also known as AAdvantage. The Frequent Flier Program was highly successful and showcased the true potential of loyalty programs. Card-based loyalty programs gained traction in the 20th century, and brands started issuing cards to their loyal customers and encouraged them to become members of the loyalty programs.
The 21st century witnessed the emergence of eCommerce, technological innovation, and digital transactions. Although the physical loyalty card is still globally used, the introduction of mobile applications is steadily replacing the use of plastic cards. Although an app symbolizes the loyalty program, more importantly to many consumers, it is a convenient and eco-friendly way to ensure your loyal customers are taken care of.
Brands usually offer loyalty program cards to customers at the point-of-sale (POS), which could be the checkout counter at the brick-and-mortar store or on an eCommerce website, right before the payment gateway. Some brands offer loyalty program cards to select customers and frequent buyers.
The card is registered at the company under the customer’s credentials. Once the card is issued, it maintains a registry of points that the customer has accumulated after every purchase. The customer can redeem these points to reap the rewards and benefits whenever the customer prefers, as long as they are careful about the points’ expiration date.
A Loyalty Program is only advantageous when it is executed and run efficiently. Platforms like Annex Cloud can offer expert solutions that are customized according to your business requirements and designed to yield maximum return on your investments. To receive a call back from Annex Cloud, click here.