January 13, 2011, 11:53 AM

Half of loyalty club members rarely, if ever, use perks online, study finds

Many consumers would like to see a consolidated loyalty club card, fob or mobile app.

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49% of loyalty program members never or rarely take advantage of loyalty program perks when shopping online; however, 78% of Americans who are members of loyalty card programs say easy online access to their loyalty memberships would make them more likely to shop at the retail web sites that honor their loyalty programs, according to a study by electronic payments and rewards program technology provider ACI Worldwide.

Americans say loyalty and rewards programs have become too complicated and burdensome, and they aren’t truly driving loyalty, the study finds.

What would change that? Consolidation, ACI Worldwide says. 52% of consumers in the study said they would prefer a single card that can hold all their memberships. An additional 32% said they would prefer a consolidated key chain card or key fob; and 17% would like a mobile app that puts all of their retail loyalty rewards programs into one place.

“With so many reward schemes, Americans simply don’t have the wallet space to carry and utilize their rewards cards; the market demands retailers consolidate loyalty programs onto a single device,” says Rob Seward, senior industry marketing manager at ACI Worldwide.  “In the United Sates, collective loyalty programs in which multiple retailers share the costs of the program and a common currency or points system have yet to gain widespread adoption, though ‘programs with a cause’ like uPromise have had some success. With American consumers demanding consolidated loyalty and rewards programs, U.S. retailers need to move in this direction.”

This goes for online as well as bricks-and-mortar stores, ACI says.

“Online shopping is simple and convenient; it should be just as easy to access loyalty programs online,” Seward says. “When we asked Americans with loyalty card memberships which retail web sites they visit first when they shop online, only half of them told us they go to online retailers where they can earn discounts and rewards.  When consumers shop online and can’t use their rewards programs, they are disappointed and question the value of the program; this is a problem and an opportunity for retailers to increase sales and reduce shopping cart abandon rates.”

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