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News in-depth: Loyalty schemes 'need to be about customers'
21 Nov 2011

Brands that introduce loyalty schemes need to make sure they have the customer at heart, one expert has warned.

Speaking at the Loyalty World conference this week, chairman of Aimia Richard Baker said that some initiatives are in danger of migrating "into a world of jargon and cliches" rather than doing what they were supposed to do.

He also advised against establishing a loyalty scheme with the sole purpose of gathering information about customers.

"It is not about the data. It is about serving customers," Mr Baker commented.

Businesses could find their idea backfiring if they get it badly wrong, as the expert added that the loss of customers could be the result, something most firms can ill afford in this economic climate.

Also, brands need to make sure they take care of existing customers instead of simply trying to win more and more new ones, Mr Baker said, adding that the UK risks becoming "a net exporter of the technology of satisfying customers" otherwise.

Aimia carried out a poll and found that 74 per cent of 19 to 29-year-olds would choose a brand with a loyalty scheme over one without, while 58 per cent would even promote the company on social media if they got the right rewards.

Meanwhile, a quarter of this age group would use a smartphone and near field communications instead of carrying an actual card.

Earlier this month, the Ambassador Theatre Group launched its own loyalty card in a bid to increase footfall in its West End theatres and offer a sort of payback those who attend regularly.

Supermarket giant Waitrose also did the same after carrying out a poll to find out how loyal shoppers would like to be rewarded, saying it intends to add a monthly prize draw to the raft of special offers it will provide.

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