How Millennials Want to Engage with Retail

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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CodeBroker surveyed over 1200 loyalty member consumers in a variety of industries, in the 2018 Loyalty Program Consumer survey. The loyalty programs included retail, credit cards, restaurants, travel and others. This report was a subset of a larger research project that focused on 441 millennials, belonging to loyalty programs. These millennials were asked about the top most troubling challenges they faced in using the retail loyalty programs and how they would like to engage with them. They were also asked what changes they would like to see.

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From the2018 Loyalty Program Consumer survey, some very interesting facts were determined. Only 11% actively engage in all of the loyalty programs that they are members of. Why is that? Before we answer that question, check out the next clue with 97% of millennials saying that they would actively engage with the loyalty program if they could access their rewards information directly from their smartphones. In other words, the answer as to why is not a matter of interest, as it seems to be a matter of convenience. This conclusion is further backed up with 28% of consumers saying that they wanted to access to the loyalty programs via text links on their smartphones.

The Engagement Factor: 70% vs. 11% As stated already above, 2018 Loyalty Program Consumer survey revealed only 11% of millennials to engage with all the loyalty programs to which they belong. However, 70% engage with less than half of all the loyalty programs they are a member of. That’s a lot of revenue left behind on the table. While increased competition and uncertainty can certainly account for a decline in loyalty program engagement, there certainly are strong indicators that millennials are very open to more engagement in general. This is apparent when they were asked about their biggest gripe with retail loyalty programs. Approximately 30% stated that their rewards expired before they were able to make use of them. Another 28% stated that they didn’t even know when they rewards became available. Some 14% stated that it was difficult to get their rewards information. Another 13% stated that it was too much of a hassle to carry the loyalty cards.

Once you eliminate the complexities and increase convenience, your consumers are more likely to engage in your loyalty programs. Smartphone Access My Way Right Away Rewards Kind of Apps Remember the Burger King slogan, “Have it your way right way!? This is how loyalty programs need to be, when it comes to serving millennials. Nearly 60% of the respondents lacked basic insight into their rewards programs. In a nutshell, the complexities involved with program participation are key as to whether engagement is increased or suffers a decline. But with that in mind, millennials do have a wide range of preferences, when it comes to accessing and engaging with loyalty programs. These can include email, digital wallet, apps, and of course SMS text. Therefore, in order to experience the broadest reach, loyalty programs must be easily accessible to millennials through a wide variety of mobile channels. This not only enables a wider reach, but also adds more appeal to each individual’s channel of preference. It’s not just smartphone accessibility that millennials want, but the 2018 Loyalty Program Consumer survey also revealed only 56% of them wanted something that they could easily access from their mobile device without having to download and use an app. Another 44% stated that they didn’t like having to log into a website.. When asked if they would be more likely to participate in retail loyalty programs if they could access the program easily from their smart phone, 97% said yes.

In conclusion, the vast majority of millennials prefer to access their loyalty programs directly from their smart phones. However, mobile is a platform with several distinct communication channels. The New Imperative For Retail Loyalty Programs Each consumer has their own preference, and therefore it is important to offer a variety of those to each of your customers. Loyalty programs aren’t just about rewards and points, but it’s also about meeting the needs of each individual member. The majority of today’s consumers want things with a “your way, right away kind of buying experience. This includes the loyalty programs they engage in. Because their preferences vary, it is both a challenge, as well as a lucrative opportunity for businesses and leaders to develop the right kind of loyalty program. In order for loyalty programs to be effective with millennials, they must give each member program access via his or her preferred mobile channel. (For more information, please see the complete 2018 Loyalty Program Consumer survey.)

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How Millennials Want to Engage with Retail. (2020, Feb 27). Retrieved from