Customer loyalty programs may save you cash, but do you know the true cost of your membership card?
In recent years, a trend has been booming with business all over the world. They are offering consumers the opportunity to enroll in their customer loyalty programs. These arrangements provide attractive deals and can benefit both customers and the businesses providing the program.
Once enrolled in a loyalty program, the consumer is given a card to use during each purchase to incentivize them to patronize a specific business frequently. Most loyalty cards offer short term sales on items. Others allow you to earn points until you have enough to receive a gift or some kind of discount.
Businesses often offer these programs as part of a long-term marketing strategy. They hope to encourage consumers to return frequently and they analyze data from consumer spending. Loyalty cards scanned at the time of purchase will tell the business which products are most popular with different demographics and allow them to create more accurate profiles of customers. This data is valuable to marketers and impacts what products they stock and who they will target in their advertising.
Some popular loyalty programs include:
- CVS/Pharmacy’s ExtraCare cards
CVS cards offer customers access to in-store sales and CVS ExtraBucks. ExtraBucks are store credit earned by purchasing specially marked items. Small amounts of ExtraBucks are accumulated overtime with all purchases and the customer is allowed to spend them every 3 months.
- Starbucks Rewards card
Starbucks cards are accessible as a physical card and as an app on your smartphone. You earn one “star” for every purchase made with the card and receive free drinks and refills as you accumulate stars and advance your membership.
- Stop and Shop Membership
Stop and Shop cards are similar to those at CVS, allowing you to access sales and receive coupons at check out and online. Stop and Shop cards also accumulate points through purchases that can save you gas money at Stop and Shop gas stations.
These cards may offer attractive deals, but they can come at a cost. Being incentivized to shop more may encourage risky consumer practices, such as buying things that you don’t want or need, just to acquire more points. These businesses are also gathering information about you as you shop, and if that rubs you the wrong way, you may want to hold off from joining a loyalty program.
If you have questions about a customer loyalty program or are interested in more consumer information, visit our website: www.mass.gov/ocabr or call our hotline: (888) 283-3757
Designating a Health Care Proxy posted on Apr 16
April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day; and a good time to recognize how important it is that you are able to make educated health care decisions. In the case that you are unable to do so, it is crucial to have designated a …Continue Reading Designating a Health Care Proxy
Understanding Medical Bills posted on Apr 10
Whether it’s for a routine physical or an emergency ER visit, everyone receives medical bills. While extremely common, these bills are often unclear and difficult to decipher. Oftentimes, medical bills use codes and shorthand to describe the services you received, making it difficult to tell …Continue Reading Understanding Medical Bills
Top 5 Consumer Issues of 2014: Lemon Law and Auto Issues posted on Mar 24
#5 – Lemon Law and Auto Issues Last week, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation held its annual Top 5 Press Conference at the Massachusetts State House, highlighting the top consumer issues from 2014. The top four issues were insurance, banking and non-depository …Continue Reading Top 5 Consumer Issues of 2014: Lemon Law and Auto Issues