For everyone who’s ever designed a grocery store loyalty program, please note; it’s loud in the store. It’s too frigging bright, someone’s kid is always screaming, the lines are too long and since it’s a grocery store, I probably won’t be comparison shopping all over town. I want to go in, buy what I want and get home. Especially in winter.

So please don’t shove a scratch card in my face when I’m paying. Don’t foist a barcode keychain on me that makes me pay over 200$ for a four dollar coupon. I promise you, I don’t care. Yes yes, the economy this, recession that, but honestly, keep the four bucks. Seriously. (oh, and as a former cashier, don’t give these people a quota to push this stuff. When the cash out takes longer because of these steps, they have to deal with irate me.)

That’s the thing about loyalty programs.

If you sell basic necessities in a residential area, you don’t need to boost loyalty. You need to earn the respect of the community around you. Innovate your delivery service, support community events, showcase local suppliers, whatever.

And as for every brand out there that doesn’t sell basic necessities, let me enlighten you: I don’t want a coupon. I really don’t. Unless it’s on an e-purchase that automatically populates during purchase, it’s just another piece of junk in my purse, which will eventually – and inevitably – go into the recycling bin. And leave the stamp cards, please. I have a hundred, I’m not using them. I know you saw it work for airlines, but their product is expensive and the brand choices are few enough that loyalty programs actually make sense. When I need dishsoap on the other hand…

Can I just pay and go?

I’d really like to do that. I’d like us both to agree that we don’t know each other. We aren’t friends, and our relationship is based on you having something that I’m going to pay for. Please make the process as easy and professional as possible. Stop trying to tell me how great everything is, stop piling ‘added value’ on top of my toilet paper or my travel tea infuser. Just make it easy for me to find what I want and then just go. And if you really really want to be friends, please:

Give me something I can use.

No, don’t layer it on during purchase. Don’t make me buy a membership card, and please stop putting coupons on reciepts. I don’t keep them. Offer students a discount. That’s it. Waive the shipping fee once in a while. Knock it off with the ‘admin’ charges and the ‘courtesy’ fees. We don’t need more junk to wade through. We just need a break. There’s an old adage that can serve anyone well if they’re planning on throwing a loyalty program at busy consumers with lots to deal with: less is more.

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