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New Study Finds Digital Is Starting Point for Over 85% of Customers

Shoppers want easier options for loyalty program enrollment from the brands they engage with.
Digital Grocery Shopping

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The buying journey has been forever changed, and digital is now the starting point for more than 85 percent of customers, according to Incisiv's 2022 Loyalty Maturity Benchmark Research report.  

In partnership with PAR Technology's Punchh, a leading loyalty, offers and engagement solution, the report assesses the digital capability of loyalty programs across program enrollment, program structure and features, and ease of use across the convenience, grocery and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) channels. 

''Loyalty offerings have finally come of age — recognized as a fundamental marketing strategy for customer engagement and rising to a mission-critical priority for executive management," said Don Wight, president and general manager of Punchh. "And with the accelerated need to interact with brands across new channels and technologies, there must be a greater focus on driving digitization, ordering agility and innovation. This study shines a light on those changing preferences on behalf of consumers everywhere.''

Incisiv's assessment methodology spanned more than 78 measurable attributes, assessing 50 of the top brands across the three industry segments. Attributes are categorized as table-stakes or differentiating capabilities based on their impact on key digital performance metrics such as average order value, conversion, customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Key findings of the research include:

  • There is a major disconnect between customer expectations and what brands offer in their loyalty programs: 70 percent of customers prefer to use mobile apps to manage their loyalty accounts, yet only 26 percent of brands provide the capability to do so.
  • For loyalty program enrollment, customers want easier options from the brands they engage with. While more than 70 percent of convenience and QSR chains enable auto-enrollment, only 36 percent of grocery chains offer this feature.
  • Sixty-seven percent of customers have come to expect rewards or a surprise gift on special occasions. While 52 percent of QSR chains have adopted this capability, only 10 percent of grocers and 8 percent of convenience chains offer reward perks on special occasions.
  • Seventy-five percent of customers want instant redemption of loyalty points/benefits, yet only 16 percent the brands assessed offer this capability.

According to Incisiv's assessment methodology, 40 brands reached Leader status, including Casey's General Stores, Cumberland Farms, Pilot Flying J, 7-Eleven Inc., Albertsons, Target, Dunkin, El Pollo Loco, and Qdoba, among others.

"Consumer businesses have endured unparalleled disruption to their business models in the last 24 months and should be commended for the speed by which they have adapted," said Amar Mokha, chief operating officer, Incisiv. "However, customer behavior is a moving target, and the industry must evolve to meet expectations, especially as customer loyalty becomes harder to attain. A re-imagined loyalty program aligned to evolving consumer needs will go a long way in ensuring retention. We conducted this study to help brands across the convenience, grocery and QSR sectors understand how they compare to their peers, as well as to help identify high-impact improvement opportunities for loyalty and engagement programs."

Complete findings for Incisiv's 2022 Loyalty Maturity Benchmark Report are available here.

Incisiv is a next-generation industry insights firm that helps retailers and brands navigate digital disruption in their industry.

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