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Survey: Millennials most open to fee-based loyalty programs

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Millennials are more open-minded about investing in a loyalty program membership compared with any other population segment, according to the findings of a recent survey.

“These results should attract the attention of brands considering a shift to fee-based loyalty programs as marketers look for ways to create competitive differences and lock in customer spend against a backdrop of waning program effectiveness and engagement challenges,” stated LoyaltyOne consulting associate partner Lance Du Chateau.

The findings of the LoyaltyOne nationwide survey are based on the responses of 1,005 consumers in May.

Key numbers from LoyaltyOne’s fee versus free loyalty program research include:

  • 62% of respondents said they’d consider joining a fee-based rewards program if their favorite retailer offered one.
  • This number was even higher among millennials with 75% of 18 to 24 year-olds and 77% of 25 to 34 year-olds saying they’d consider joining a fee-based rewards program.
  • 65% said customer rewards are worth paying for if relevant to their needs.
  • Millennials, again, rated this even higher with 79% of 18 to 24 year-olds and 76% of 25 to 34 year-olds saying relevant rewards are worth paying for.
  • Nearly half (47%) said rewards in fee-based programs are better than rewards in free programs
  • A significantly larger number of millennials — 61% of 18 to 24 year-olds and 54% of 25 to 34 year-olds — said fee-based rewards are better.

The survey results emerge against a backdrop of high-profile marketplace developments. Earlier this month Walmart disclosed details of its new $50 per year fee-based delivery program called “Shipping Pass,” which is widely viewed as a challenge to Amazon Prime with its $99 per year fee. Jet.com is another emerging membership-based shopping club promising low prices at a $49.99 fee.

Du Chateau noted the survey found that 49% of overall respondents said all rewards programs seem alike. The perception of program sameness was even stronger among millennials, where the scores were 57% for 18 to 24 year-olds and 52% for 25 to 34 year-olds.


“Brands have historically hesitated to explore new loyalty strategies because traditional programs were still novel in most spaces. However this hasn’t been true for years. The perception that only a small minority shoppers will ‘pay to play’ is also a dated viewpoint,” Du Chateau stated. “Forty-two percent of consumers surveyed have already paid to join a program and 62% of respondents said they’d consider joining a fee-based rewards program if their favorite retailer offered one.”

Other key findings from LoyaltyOne’s research:

  • Of the respondents who already participate in fee-based loyalty programs, 69% said they were enticed by free shipping, followed closely by special discounts at 67%.
  • Women (67%) are slightly stronger than men (64%) in their belief that rewards are worth paying for
  • When asked which category would be most appealing if compelling benefits were available through a fee-based program, respondents ranked grocery and mass merchandise highest (35%), followed by credit card rewards (26%), specialty retail (13%), travel (18%) and restaurants (9%)
  • 32% of 18 to 24 year-olds and 34% of 25 to 34 year-olds said they have never been offered membership in a fee-based program, versus 25% of the general population.


 

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Survey: Online grocery shopping gains in popularity

BY Gina Acosta

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — U.S. grocery shopping habits appear to be changing as consumers increasingly seek out the convenience of online ordering when it comes to food, according to a new study.

A survey of 1,100 U.S. online grocery shoppers from natural and organic online grocer Door to Door Organics shows that more than half (54%) said in the past year they had increased the amount of grocery shopping they do online by an average of 29%.

Less than 4% said that in the last year they had decreased their online grocery shopping and 42% stated that the amount of grocery shopping they do online had stayed the same. Overall, shoppers indicated that an average of 19% of their weekly grocery shopping is currently done online.

While online grocery shopping continues to gain popularity, the majority of consumers still rely on multiple online and brick-and-mortar stores to complete their weekly grocery shopping. Only 13% of survey respondents said a single store (online or offline) meets their weekly grocery shopping needs, while 34% shop at two stores during a typical week and 53% shop at three or more online and/or offline grocery stores each week.

Respondents indicated they had on average only 82 minutes of free time every day and spent an average of 69 minutes each week shopping for groceries. Additionally, respondents estimated the average value of one hour of their time to be $56 per hour.

When it comes to what grocery products consumers are buying online, 23% of respondents said they do not buy fresh grocery products (e.g., meat, fish, dairy, produce) online. Of those who do purchase produce and other fresh grocery items online, 57% said they had been disappointed in the quality or freshness of these purchases at least once in the last year.

When asked what would make them feel more secure about the quality of fresh groceries when ordering online, 58% said knowing that the products were recently picked or packaged would increase their confidence, and 51% would be more comfortable if the fresh products were sourced from a local farm. Additionally, 25% said they would feel more secure about the quality of fresh grocery products if they were purchasing them from a specialty online grocer.

Click here for the full infographic.

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Michigan Historical Commission recognizes Meijer for breaking historical ground in retail

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Historical Commission on Monday recognized Meijer for making history on the site of its original “Thrifty Acres” store. A Michigan Historical Marker was unveiled today on the site of the nation’s first supercenter.
 
Opened in June 1962, the original 100,000-square-foot store at 28th St. and Kalamazoo Ave. in Grand Rapids combined food retailing with general merchandise. The store featured a 7-acre parking lot, along with 18 checkout lanes – a service unheard of at the time – that allowed customers to pay for everything in a single transaction, regardless of the variety or quantity purchased. It was the birth of the supercenter and the springboard for a concept that would grow into a retail phenomenon and establish the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer as a pioneer of one-stop shopping.
 
“We are proud to be recognized for the innovative foresight our father and grandfather demonstrated when they opened ‘Thrifty Acres,’” Meijer co-chairman Hank Meijer said. “They saw an opportunity to bring families more retail choices and ultimately succeeded in breaking down traditional barriers between selling groceries and selling clothes or hardware. My father and grandfather helped revolutionize retail and left us an incredible legacy to build upon.”
 
“Meijer is more than one of Michigan’s leading retailers today; it is also a pioneer that still shapes how America shops,” said Historical Society of Michigan executive director Larry Wagenaar, who also serves on the Michigan Historical Commission. “By piloting a new retail approach that combined groceries with general merchandise in its ‘Thrifty Acres’ store, Meijer launched an ingenious — and very successful — model, which had a major impact on retailing throughout the United States.”
 
Since the opening of “Thrifty Acres,” Meijer has followed a course of steady growth, expanding into five additional Midwest states and employing more than 65,000 people in 219 stores, six distribution centers and several manufacturing facilities. The company recently opened its first two stores in southeastern Wisconsin and are opening two additional stores in the Milwaukee area in August.
 
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