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03/30/2022

J. Crew, Bealls, Big Lots, and More Rank on Newsweek's 'America’s Best Loyalty Programs'

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Loyalty is a hot commodity these days, as consumers face an overwhelming number of choices in where and how to shop. How are retailers differentiating their services, particularly their loyalty program offerings? 

Newsweek and Statista just launched their ranking of America’s Best Loyalty Programs. According to the report, the average U.S. household is enrolled in 18 different loyalty programs, and consumers only actively use half of the plans they're enrolled in. 

[How do these compare to RIS’ own rankings of loyalty programs? See here.]

The loyalty program ranking highlighted companies that have pioneered innovative loyalty models, from organizations that launch their own social channels to special interactive partnerships with well-known brands, there’s one tie-in among them all, and that’s change. Today’s loyalty programs must remain adaptable, pivoting to meet consumers’ rapidly changing needs.

Newsweek’s Top 10 Retail Loyalty Programs

Editor's Note: For the purposes of RIS’ breakdown we have included only the following categories: Clothing; Food, Health and Beauty; Home Goods. Click here for the full list.

  1. J. Crew — J. Crew Rewards (9.51 points)

  2. Shoes.com — MyShoes Rewards (9.41)

  3. Abercrombie & Fitch  myAbercrombie (9.15)

  4. Samsung — Samsung Rewards (9.06)

  5. Ashley Stewart — Ashley VIP Credit Card (9.03)

  6. Beauty Encounter  — be. Points (8.84)

  7. Sally Beauty — Sally Beauty Rewards (8.69)

  8. Tarte — teamtarte (8.64)

  9. Smith's — Smith's Rewards World Elite Mastercard (8.38)

  10. Bealls — More rewards (8.29)

Other prominent retailers ranked high, including IKEA (8.04 points) with IKEA Family; Kroger (7.98 points) for its Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard; Costco and Sam’s Club with 7.88 and 7.84 points, respectively, for Costco membership and Sam’s Club Family; as well as Publix for its Club Publix membership (7.70 points).

Publix director of communications Maria Brous said providing a pleasurable shopping experience extends beyond the company's aisles, with its membership offering consumers a "more personalized experience to meet their individual needs and preferences." 

Also of note, Big Lots accrued 6.01 points for its BIG Rewards program. 

"We are honored that BIG Rewards was ranked as one of the best loyalty programs in America," said Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots. "With rewards offered after every three purchases, frequent 20% off coupons, and so much more, we've designed BIG Rewards to help our savvy bargain shoppers save even more on our selection of surprising products, big purchases, and everyday essentials."

Methodology

The 2022 ranking was compiled based on the results of an independent survey of more than 4,000 U.S. customers — from October to November 2021 — who are members of loyalty programs of retailers or service providers in the U.S.

The rankings were based on six criteria, each with its own weighted percentage: ease and enjoyment (5%), benefit: (20%), overall satisfaction (25%), customer support (10%), trust (10%), and recommendation (30%). The full methodology is available here.

Key takeaways from our own look at loyalty programs: 

  • Consumers are willing to share data if they are being incentivized by rewards and feel appreciated.
  • Retailers can leverage zero- and first-party data to provide additional personalized messaging and offers that will continue to incentivize consumers but can also be valuable in retail partnerships. 
  • Loyal consumers will pay for subscription services if the amenities provided in return are substantial, and continued promotion of exclusive discount events are key to incentivizing continued purchasing. 
  • Retailers can get the most out of their loyalty offerings with AI-enabled capabilities that include benchmarking, customer segmentation, behavioral analytics, churn/retention models, predictive models, look-alike modeling, and dashboards to visualize the data easily, according to Forrester.

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