Loyalty plans are one of the tools that brands use on a recurring basis to position themselves in the market. In fact, in difficult periods, it is like a shortcut to improve things. You just have to think about how both McDonald's and Burger King have ended up launching loyalty plans for their consumers in multiple markets at a time when the consumption of so-called fast-food is being called into question.

But what should loyalty programs take into account? What is it that leads to a really good return?

A study, published in the Harvard Business Review , has focused on the two-year history of purchases of 10,000 buyers from a US retail chain to determine how loyalty programs work and what they activate in consumption patterns. Do they work to build customer loyalty? Or do they hinder the return of those consumers who were already going to buy a lot, giving them rewards for a consumption pattern that they were already going to have?

The conclusions of the study allow us to extract certain trends related to the consumption of Best database providers and loyalty patterns created by loyalty programs. The first is that for certain consumers these programs do not change much how they shop. They sign up, collect discounts and seem at first to be responding to the loyalty program, but when push comes to shove they don't buy more frequently than they did before. Their relationship with the company is similar to what they had before.

On the other hand, and second conclusion, there is a group of consumers who change their consumption patterns after entering the loyalty program. They are those who buy more. Even here things are not exactly homogeneous. The study points out two variants of delivered consumers.

The subgroups that it does work with
Thus, they identify two groups. The first is what the consolidators have called. Once they enter the loyalty program, their purchases go up. In the study, they theorize that the program has managed to convince them to change their purchasing patterns: they are buying with the retailer things that they used to buy elsewhere.

The second group is that of upgraders. These consumers do not buy more often or more products, but they do change the type of spending they make. Once they enter the program and have access to discounts / incentives, they start to get more expensive products. They buy the same, but in premium versions.

The existence of these two large groups, the last with two subgroups, is key to understanding when a return on investment occurs. The loyalty program is only really profitable, they point out in the study, with this second niche of consumers, both with one and another segment. With them, sales go up, either because they buy more or because they buy more expensive. It is to them that marketers must appeal.

These are, therefore, the consumers on whom the analysis of consumption patterns should focus and on whom it is necessary to appeal with the messages and with the actions to promote the loyalty plan.

The key points to increase the pull
Marketers must take this reality into account when designing their loyalty plans and the Buy Mobile Database strategy linked to them.

Thus, those responsible for the study point out that companies should not focus on the consumers who spend the most with their loyalty plans, but on those who are more receptive to the idea of ​​competition. These are the ones that show the highest ROI and with which they work best.

This leads to changing how success is measured and what metrics are used as the starting material. You do not have to stay with absolute spending data, but go to the details.