Over the last few months, we’ve seen numerous reports on which brands have truly resonated with consumers and which have missed the mark entirely. 2018 was a tumultuous year for many retailers and service providers – consumers are demanding more bang for their buck. We want a good product, we want friendly and helpful service, we want it fast and we don’t want to have to pay an arm and a leg for it.
One of the many things that successful companies will offer their customers is a loyalty programme – keep your customers happy, retain their business and offer competitive incentives to bring new business in.
Reports on the best and worst loyalty programmes in South Africa have come from surveys – such as that conducted by the Sunday Times – or the Truth and Brandmapp South African Loyalty Landscape Whitepaper or the report released by Eighty20 and Tritech Media, which looked at the impact of these reward programmes and which had the most active users.
These findings give us some insight into the loyalty habits of the average consumer, but also reveal how these companies have made a success of their programmes. What is best for the customer? What are the customer’s needs and how can we provide that? What sets us apart from the competition?
The Eighty20 report, released back in July, revealed that the average South African consumer is subscribed to almost nine different reward programmes which will cover anything from retail and grocery programmes to banking rewards.
In this article, we’ll have a look at the three best loyalty programmes available in South Africa – compiled from lists of clear consumer favourites and those which outperformed others in the surveys and reports.
Also, be sure to check out our article on which Medical Aids offer the best rewards.
According to the head of marketing at Pick n Pay, John Bradshaw, the retail giant’s Smart Shopper programme has over seven million active users.
The programme was launched in March 2011 to reward loyal customers, and according to Bradshaw, the programme’s top priority has and always will be to offer real benefits and value in an ever-changing retail and economic environment.
Part of this innovation has seen changes to the programme which now make it more accessible and simpler to use. Customers can switch and spend their points – earned through spending – at the till points without using in-store kiosks or mobile apps. Other improvements include allowing customers to load discounts directly onto their card, and can now scan the QR code at the till with the Pick n Pay mobile app if they have forgotten their Smart Shopper card at home.
Based on findings in the 2018/19 Truth and BrandMapp Whitepaper, as well as other surveys and reports, the pharmacy and beauty retail sector continues to dominate the loyalty programme landscape in South Africa.
The Clicks Clubcard, based on Truth’s report, in the most used loyalty programme at 72%, which is 12% ahead of the Pick n Pay Smart Shopper programmes. Dis-Chem ranked third in the report, showing that strong loyalty toward pharmacy and beauty brands.
The three companies mentioned above, and their respective loyalty programmes, are also regarded as those which offer the most value to consumers.
The FNB eBucks programme is seen as a means to assist struggling South Africans during these trying financial times.
According to the Truth Whitepaper, which scrutinized the loyalty habits of 25 369 adults with a gross monthly household income of R10 000 or more, 36% of consumers make use of FNB’s loyalty programme. This puts it head and shoulders above other banking loyalty programmes and the sixth most used programme in South Africa behind Clicks, Pick n Pay, Dis-Chem, Edcon (Edgars, CNA, etc.) and Woolworths.
The programme now also offers unique rewards to FNB eBucks users, such as free airtime for Easy customers or a free Wimpy Burger four times a year at Engen One-Stop shops.
According to the founder and CEO of Truth, Amanda Cromhout, the South African loyalty landscape has now entered a level of maturity when it comes to how consumers are using loyalty programmes and why.
Personal wellness has certainly been a main driving force, whether it be physical, mental or financial, and we’ve seen evidence of this in how consumers use their loyalty programmes.
A good loyalty programme changes your behaviour for the better by promoting healthy living, healthy eating, healthy driving and healthy spending while essentially rewarding you for taking care of yourself. We even see brands and loyalty programmes working together in order to make this happen, such as Dis-Chem Benefits partnering with Discovery Vitality, Momentum Multiply and FNB eBucks, or Pick n Pay Smart Shopper partnering with ABSA Rewards, Discovery and Momentum.
Many of them have even partnered with fuel companies in order to allow their customers to earn points when buying petrol. This includes partnerships between Clicks Clubcard and Shell, SAA Voyager and Total, Edcon Thank U and Engen, Avios and BP, Absa Rewards and Sasol or Dis-Chem Benefits and Total.
So, in closing, what do we really want from a loyalty programme?
We want to collect points, obviously, so that we can exchange them for other things and save money, and we also like a bit of cash back rewards and instant discounts. In fact, most South Africans prefer cash or discount rewards over any form of VIP treatments the programme might offer – such as priority queues.
We want simplicity, and ease of redemption, and company transparency. We want great rewards, and we want a physical loyalty card and a user-friendly mobile app. We need to take a look at the cost of the membership, and if the rewards are worth it, and what kind of partnership deals and discounts you get to enjoy.
Whatever the case may be, it’s always wise to scrutinize any loyalty programme you may be interested in, because at the end of the day, it truly has to benefit you.