With dozens of loyalty programs for Canadian consumers to choose from, how does one settle on the best option for them? Is there one best option for each shopper, or is it better to double-dip with multiple programs on each purchase?

Assessing your own shopper profile

According to loyalty industry insider Steve Allmen, Co-Founder and President of Loyalty & Co., the answers to these questions depend on your lifestyle, redemption potential, and the actual ability to mesh a program into your day-to-day habits. “Today’s programs include anything from simple ‘buy ten get one free models’, to cash back on a credit card, or collecting points to earn a trip. All of these have value, but if you want free groceries, a travel rewards program may not be the right one for you.” 

There’s also an understood value in concentrating your earnings. “Choose the best program and focus your spend there,” says Allmen. “In other words, have one program that earns you more, faster — instead of belonging to too many programs, earning very little.”

Rewarding loyalty requires a user-friendly approach

Regardless of the type of shopper you are, there’s one thing every program should offer — ease of use. “Loyalty programs thrive on positive experiences that their members have, but there are always some members who are not happy or were happy until the program devalues its rewards or benefits,” says Patrick Sojka, Founder of Rewards Canada. “A loyalty program that is convenient and easy to use must start by being easy to understand. Don’t make the earn-and-burn process complicated.”

For brands looking to retain their customer base, an effective loyalty program goes beyond simply having shoppers sign up. Small changes to a program can go a long way in ensuring continued use over time, and a positive image for a brand. “Don’t have an encyclopedia of terms and conditions — too many rules make a program too complicated. For convenience as well, you want to be able to have a program that lets you earn the loyalty currency quickly and have lots of redemption options,” says Sojka. “Combine that with great customer service and you have a winning program.”