The Results of the 2021 LoyalT Study Revealed

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Leger and R3 Marketing, in collaboration with Dialog Insight, are proud to present the results of the 5th edition of the LoyalT study.

With a sample of 10,000 Canadian respondents and a unique methodology, LoyalT is the most comprehensive Canadian study on loyalty program performance.

The 10 Best Loyalty Programs in Canada

LoyalT 2021 Ranking
The average score for all programs measured is 100.

This year, the LoyalT study revised the method of calculating the LoyalT score assigned to each program. Loyalty programs have evolved significantly in recent years, and increasingly, the level of attachment to a brand or program is an important indicator of customer loyalty. This is why the Attachment Index is replacing the Recommendation Index, which used to be the NPS (Net Promoter Score). The latter had very little correlation with the overall performance of a program. The NPS will continue to be measured for each program but is no longer one of the three indices that make up the LoyalT score. Ultimately, the LoyalT score is composed of three key indices: engagement, behaviour and attachment.

Despite the changes to the score calculation, the Top 10 list still includes some familiar faces: Starbucks Rewards, Loblaws’ PC Optimum, Metro’s metro&moi, EKO’s Milliplein and the SAQ Inspire program.

There are two newcomers on the list of winners: Chipotle and Domino’s Pizza. Chipotle’s first-place ranking is not surprising, as its program was recognized as one of the best performing restaurant programs in the United States.

No Return to Normal Yet

Loyalty program usage has not yet returned to normal. In 2018, 87% of members regularly presented their cards. Since the pandemic, 69% have done so.

Although Canadians are members of more programs (13.5 programs in 2021, compared to 10 in 2020), only 53% of them are actually used.

“Loyalty programs are being challenged by new consumer behaviours as well as the impact of COVID-19. Loyalty programs are maturing, and only the best will remain relevant and profitable.” – Hans Laroche, Partner at R3 Marketing

Personalization and Generosity Influence Purchases

The LoyalT study’s analyses show that there is a direct correlation between content personalization and the program’s ability to modify the purchasing behaviour of its members (more frequent visits and annual purchases). The same is true for the correlation between the perceived generosity of the program and the impact on changes in purchasing behaviour.

The generosity of a program is based on two dimensions: the accumulation of points on total purchases (base points) and the possibility to obtain additional points related to engagement (using the mobile app, participating in a contest, writing a review or giving a rating).

Therefore, it is becoming essential for a brand or retailer to understand its customers and their purchasing behaviour, and to use this data to personalize the content offered, which, when relevant, adds value for members.

“Nothing new here,” noted Paul Lafortune, Partner at R3 Marketing. “However, there is a clear distinction in performance between programs that produce personalized content and offers based on transactional data, and those whose main actions are to award points based on the total spent and push promotions to their members. The former perform significantly better than the latter.”

Other Highlights

  • 47% of members primarily use a mobile device to view program communications. This is a 5% increase from 2020.
  • 22% of 35-54-year-olds say they often participate in a program’s gamification activities. This is similar to 18-34-year-olds, 26% of whom participate.
  • 44% of respondents are members of Amazon Prime. In two years, the program has seen a growth of almost 20% in membership.
  • Coalition programs continue to underperform. While Aeroplan retail has fewer and fewer partners, none of AIR MILES’ partner programs made the top 20.

To (re)watch this year’s webinar, click here.

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