Comment – Loyalty cards and Instant Feedback

How could loyalty cards be improved?

I’ve been talking about this with a friend since we both realised neither of us use them anymore. There was once a time when we had one for every store we shopped at. They became more numerous than credit cards. When I look back the amount I use to earn on each was pitiful, but the lure of something for nothing made me carry them around.


In more recent years I’ve stopped using most of them; partly because my shopping habits have changed and partly because I’ve succumbed to loyalty card overload.

My friend is in a similar position and so we got to talking about how we could be encouraged to get them back in our wallets. The suggestion I liked the best was more instant feedback.

At the moment I can ask at the till about how many points I have on my card, I can go online to have a look or I can wait for my quarterly statement to come through. While all of these options are good there is nothing that actively tells me what I have earned; each one of these routes requires me to make the first move.

This isn’t a problem for me (or any shopper) but it does lead to the situation I’m in now; the loyalty cards get left behind because I haven’t checked on them for a long time and they’ve therefore lost their pull. Ultimately the stores lose out because I have less reason to hunt down a particular brand, but as a shopper I’m also missing some free points.

One simple answer appears to be a more proactive approach. Add an RFID chip to the loyalty card and I could wave it near a display and find out what I’d got saved up. Place these machines at a checkout or at various points throughout a store and my mind would be jogged to have a look at my balance. The displays could even be moved to places where the purchase of a product also gives additional points.

Some of these initiatives may already be underway in various countries. If they are it would be interesting to see what affect it has had because the more I think about it the more I feel such a system would make me carry at least one or two cards.