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Consumers are increasingly prioritizing instant gratification when it comes to redeeming rewards, and that unexpected incentives can help them feel valued by their favorite brands, fostering stronger emotional connections, according a report from digital marketing solutions provider HelloWorld (a Merkle company). This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, entitled '2019 Loyalty Barometer Report: What Consumers Think of Loyalty & Reward Programs', examined consumer sentiment toward loyalty programs, as well as areas where brands can pivot to accommodate consumer preferences.

Among the report's key findings:

  • The greatest loyalty pain point is impatience
    54% of all respondents said that it takes too long to earn a reward, which provides brands ample opportunity to alter the structure of their loyalty programs to meet consumers' desire for instant gratification and continuous appreciation.
  • Consumers want to be rewarded for engagements beyond purchases
    While consumers appreciate "points for purchases," 75% want to be rewarded for things like watching a brand video or taking a survey.
  • While "spend and earn" programs continue to reign, younger generations appreciate a good surprise
    Some 64% of all consumers indicated that traditional "earning points for rewards" programs remain appealing, however, younger consumers such as Millennials (55%) and Gen-X (38%) enjoy when brands offer creative and unexpected rewards, whether on social media or in stores.
  • Brands can win consumers by rewarding them just for being customers
    61% of all respondents said the most important way a brand can interact with them is to surprise them and reward them with offers just for being a good customer.

The privacy issue
The report also examined consumers' comfort level with disclosing personal information in order to receive rewards. Only 28% of respondents are comfortable sharing their browsing history on a brand's website, compared with 57% of respondents who are comfortable sharing their purchase history and 51% willing to share their gender.

"As brands, even those in nontraditional industries, are prioritizing loyalty programs, it's more important than ever to align with consumers' preferences," said Gina Fleck, Director of Loyalty at HelloWorld. "To engage and retain consumers, brands must build programs that directly address loyalty pain points and present desirable rewards structures. The '2019 Loyalty Barometer Report' will help brands create more effective loyalty programs and cultivate more meaningful connections with consumers this new year."