Many businesses use loyalty programs to try and help drum up business and retain repeat customers over the long run. In the United States alone, the year 2015 saw 3.3 loyalty programs memberships, with an average of 29 per household. While not all of these memberships were considered active, the survey also found that the number of memberships is increasing and that consumers are interested in this type of service from businesses.
Just what types of companies have loyalty programs? Just about all of them, really! From Starbucks and Safeway to your local car wash and sandwich shop, loyalty programs can be found just about anywhere. In fact, loyalty programs exist even in the dental industry, of all places!
Loyalty programs can be something as simple as getting a punch in a card every time you buy a cup of coffee to something more complex like hidden savings on certain items in the grocery store. Businesses will use loyalty programs to not only attract new customers but to also hang on to repeat customers, in hopes that they will spend more money at their business and help the bottom line in the long run.
While the benefits of a loyalty program are obvious for businesses (program members often spend more money in a given business than people not enrolled in the program), there are also nice benefits for the consumer as well. According to research, 43% of loyalty program members are satisfied with their experiences, and that number appears to be going up. In essence, if a loyalty program is offering discounts on items that a consumer intended to purchase in the first place, then simply by joining the program that consumer will already be saving money on their day-to-day purchases.
Loyalty programs can help you save money as a consumer by offering discounts on items you already buy, in addition to many other tangible and intangible benefits. With the rapid evolution of technology unfolding before our eyes, loyalty programs have progressed way passed the punch cards of the past. Now, there are apps and other programs that can not only help you save money on products that you already purchase, but also help make your life easier.
For example, some companies take their loyalty programs up a notch by not only offering discounts or other special offers to their members, but also providing them with what is referred to as a “lifestyle app” that can help monitor their orders, track them in real time, or even stream things like music or videos.
While many loyalty programs are free, sometimes companies require a small fee (often yearly or one-time) to be in the program. In the case of the paid loyalty program, the depth and range of discounts, products, and services offered are much more vast (ex: Amazon Prime). Do your research to determine if the cost of the service actually makes sense for your financial situation.
In a nutshell, to save money using loyalty programs, if it’s free, go for it! If you’re going to be purchasing the products offered anyway, why not get them at a discount! For the paid programs, do some research to figure out exactly how much you’d be saving, and if this discount is greater than the cost for you to enter the program to begin with.