Rewarding Loyalty by Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director @Shoppercentric for #IndieRetail

One trend we’ve noticed over the last couple of years has been the growing interest in loyalty schemes amongst shoppers. Only last month I watched a focus group sharing their thoughts on the old Green Shield Stamp scheme – admittedly we were showing them some loyalty scheme ideas, but it was the fondness with which they spoke about those little green stamp books that surprised us. If we had covered the same subject five years ago the stamp scheme would have been given short shrift by shoppers who expected immediate returns, and who would rather spend than save. The discussion at our focus group was particularly interesting because it only briefly touched on nostalgia, with most comments relating to the sense of reward created by the scheme – the excitement of hitting the required number of stamps, or choosing from the catalogue once a number of pages had been completed.

Shoppers are more open to initiatives that reward them for their loyalty

This is another sign of how things have changed for shoppers and businesses alike. In fact, how many of you have found your own purses or wallets increasingly bulging with coffee shop stamp cards?

Yet what does this actually mean from a business perspective – what can you do with the knowledge that shoppers are more open to initiatives that reward them for their loyalty over time? Well for a start, it gives you as a retailer an alternative to relying on unsustainable discounts and sales promotions. More importantly however, a well run and motivating loyalty scheme can give you the chance to get closer to your shoppers. In the days of Green Shield Stamps the possible interactions between the scheme and the shopper were limited to mail, phone, and face to face opportunities when the shopper cashed in stamps. Nowadays with email, mobile, and social media available there are many more chances to communicate directly with shoppers, and to tailor your message specifically to that individual, making the interaction so much more meaningful.

Reasons why setting up a loyalty scheme is worthwhile for engaging shoppers

caffe torelli loyalty cardAdmittedly these schemes take time and investment to set up and run, but there are three shopper-based reasons why we think they are worth considering:

  1. Shoppers are increasingly looking for rewards and are prepared to wait for them
  2. They are looking for solutions that make life easier
  3. They are becoming cynical about promotions, sometimes believing that price cuts are achieved by hiking prices first, or by reducing pack size. They see rewards-based offers as more trustworthy

So, next time you claim that ‘free’ coffee after filling up your loyalty card, mull on how much nicer it tastes compared to the nine or so coffees you actually paid for…

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get that same sense of reward across to your shoppers?

shoppercentric-logoThis blog was provided by Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director of Shoppercentric. Shoppercentric is a full service market research agency, specialising in understanding shoppers. As well as their client work they produce their own trends reports available free from their website. For more information, visit


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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