As retailers realize recovering sales, a new post-recession consumer is emerging. New behaviors and decision making processes have led consumers to be much more cautious about how their money is spent. Loyalty marketers have hardly ignored this increased demand for value and savings. Some companies have offered double and triple rewards points for purchases while others chose to focus on keeping their most loyal customers loyal with flexible rewards and points that don’t expire.
A recent poll from Citi found that about 75% of women with children feel the recession has changed their spending and savings habits “forever.” In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis discovered an average of 4.7% savings of personal income in November of last year. That value is up dramatically from the negative savings digits prior to the recession.
Understanding the motivations behind these shifts in spending and saving, whether long term behaviors or temporary responses, is crucial. Companies must begin to move beyond simply surviving the downturn and work towards investing in attracting new customers and creating customer loyalty. After all, relying on sales and discount strategies alone is not a long-term loyalty solution.
Post-recession consumers want added value but also a focus on relationships and experiences. Loyalty programs have an incredible opportunity to achieve exactly what they are designed to do —offer marketers ways to fulfill these very needs and wants of today’s consumer.