Study: 40% of consumers have negative loyalty program experience

New York City -- A report released Tuesday by payment system provider ACI Worldwide found that many retail loyalty programs leave consumers feeling underappreciated and many consumers are enrolled in a program they don’t completely understand.

Although three out of four Americans are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, 85% of those surveyed said that they haven’t heard a single word from a loyalty program since the day they signed up. Likewise, 81% say they don’t even know the benefits of the program or how/when they will receive rewards.

The majority of American consumers (62%) join retail loyalty programs so they can get discounts on the things they buy most, according to the survey, yet only 36% received a reward or promotion that made them come back to the store again, and 27% of consumers complain they have received a reward or promotion for something they would never buy.

More than two in five (44%) said they have had a negative experience from a loyalty program. 

“Loyalty programs have long been a logical way to leverage consumer satisfaction, but retailers are missing the mark when it comes to reaching out to consumers with information and offers that are relevant to them,” said Rob Seward, senior industry marketing manager at ACI Worldwide.  “The end result is that memberships are becoming meaningless.”

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and interviewed 1,053 Americans aged 18 and older.