Loyalty: It’s not just about the “deal”

This week at RetailWire, contributor Bernice Hurst analyzed reasons why food retailers are losing “loyalty” customers while general merchandisers are gaining. For me, it comes down to retailers’ tendency to equate loyalty with “deals”:

Here’s the most revealing part of Bernice’s article: “Revitalized engagement includes Safeway giving members discounts plus coupons based on past purchases, and Fred Meyer sending coupons based on expenditure.” Perhaps the problem with declining enrollment in grocery “loyalty programs” is that they are purely price-driven. They may be more targeted and data-driven based on purchase history, but they are not likely to engender the kind of customer commitment driven by service, assortments or other relationship-building strategies.

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