Loyalty points keep shoppers returning: survey

SHOPPERS are ready to put up with bad service and travel distances to cash in on loyalty schemes, according to a survey.

The habits of 1229 shoppers were investigated in the online survey in November, where 42 per cent of respondents said they would still return to a store when the level of service had dropped if the loyalty programme was good.

However Lance Walker, chief executive of Loyalty New Zealand which operates Fly Buys said shoppers were savvy and he didn't believe they would put up with bad service for long.

"I don't think loyalty programmes can hide bad service, a bad product or bad brands. Loyalty programmes are fantastic and they do drive repeat business but they're not going to hide other flaws in a company's service," Mr Walker said.

Fly Buys, the country's biggest loyalty scheme, started 16 years ago and now has 2.4 million active cardholders and 53 partner businesses such as New World supermarkets and Air New Zealand.

Loyalty programmes had become hugely popular because retailers were trying to differentiate themselves, Mr Walker said.

He believed loyalty schemes would develop further with smartphone technology. "I think you'll start to see people expecting their loyalty programme on their phone. You'll see loyalty programmes leveraging that technology."

The survey was an independent study commissioned by food service brand Muffin Break, which investigated the interest of shoppers in frequent purchasing programmes.