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Survey: One-third of consumers don’t know their loyalty tier status

BY Michael Johnsen

New York — Nearly one-third (32%) of United States and Canadian consumers can’t identify which tier they belong to in their favorite loyalty rewards programs, according to a study recently released by Colloquy.

Colloquy’s research reveals that the familiar gold, silver and bronze tiering system no longer works. The study shows the three-tiered structure is outdated as a way for brands to keep their customers engaged — sometimes creating confusion rather than inspiring loyalty.

The lack of awareness of basic tier status is a key finding in "Fears for Tiers: 2014 Colloquy Study on Membership Status in Loyalty Programs."

“Savvy shoppers and travelers are all too aware of the recent onslaught of changes to rewards programs,” said Jeff Berry, study author and Colloquy research director. “Brands want to revive consumer engagement simply by updating rewards, but that exacerbates confusion about tier levels and can impose so many limitations that upward movement is perceived as unattainable.”

The Colloquy tiering research sheds light on a key gender difference. Hard benefits, such as monetary or cash rewards, are more likely to motivate women (84%) than men (81%). The positive feeling of reaching a higher tier status is stronger for men (39%) than women (33%).

Approximately three-in-four consumers said it’s acceptable for businesses to give special treatment to members of their loyalty programs. And 69% of survey respondents said it’s fair for customers to purchase a higher tier membership if they want to receive the same benefits as those who earned their status through program participation.

In other findings:

  • 50% of survey respondents said they have increased their spending or changed other purchasing behavior in order to achieve a higher tier status in a rewards program;
  • 33% of low-tier members do not think they are properly acknowledged for their participation in a program, even though they participate whenever possible; and
  • Non-travel program members are almost twice as likely as those in travel programs to be unsure of their tier level (34% to 16%).

Study findings are based on a February 2014 survey of 3,077 U.S. and Canadian consumers.

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Pinterest takes Promoted Pins to next level

BY CSA STAFF

Back in September, Pinterest unveiled plans to experiment with Promoted Pins. Now, the social media site is working with a small group of brands in the U.S. to roll out a paid test in its search and category feeds.

“These brands will help us test Promoted Pins to make sure they’re tasteful, transparent, relevant and improved based on your feedback,” said product manager Julie Black, adding, “so that Pinterest continues to be a great experience for everyone.”

According to Black, tens of millions of people have added more than 30 billion Pins to Pinterest and brands are a big part of this.

“We hope Promoted Pins help you find inspiration and discover things you care about, whether it’s ideas for dinner, places to go or gifts to buy,” she added.

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Dillard’s posts positive Q1 results

BY Vivian Lee

New York — Dillard’s marked its 15th consecutive quarter of positive sales.

Despite weak sales in home and furniture, Dillard’s said sales trends in the first quarter were strongest in the men’s apparel and accessories category and the juniors’ and children’s apparel category followed by ladies’ accessories and lingerie.

The retailer reported total merchandise sales for the quarter of $1.539 billion, a 1% increase from $1.530 billion for the prior-year period. Comparable-store sales increased 2%.

Sales trends were strongest in the Central region, followed by the Eastern and Western regions, respectively.

“We reported record earnings per share of $2.56 compared to $2.50. Our 2% comparable store sales increase marks our 15th consecutive quarter of positive sales. Additionally, we executed $65.9 million of share buyback as a result of our strong cash flow,” said CEO William Dillard II.

Gross margin from retail operations decreased 14 basis points of sales for the quarter compared to the first quarter last year. The decline resulted primarily from increased markdowns compared to the prior-year first quarter.

At May 3, the company operated 278 Dillard’s locations and 18 clearance centers spanning 29 states, as well as its e-commerce site.

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