South Africans now expect rewards, as loyalty programmes grow even more popular

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Truth, a boutique consultancy specialising in loyalty programmes, says South Africans are more invested in loyalty programmes.
Truth, a boutique consultancy specialising in loyalty programmes, says South Africans are more invested in loyalty programmes.
Getty Images
  • New research shows that South Africans expect loyalty programmes more than ever before.
  • Truth - a boutique consultancy specialising in loyalty programmes - says its latest research dispels predictions that these programmes are dying.
  • Old Mutual says its loyalty programme has helped it protect its turf and acquire new customers.

The popularity of loyalty programmes in South Africa shows not signs of waning, with new research showing that customers are, in fact, expecting rewards.

This is according to Truth - a boutique consultancy specialising in loyalty programmes - which is currently finalising its 2021 report into the industry. 

The firm will release its annual white paper around September. But during a webinar discussion on Old Mutual's loyalty programme on Wednesday, Truth founder and CEO Amanda Cromhout said the initial reconciling of data showed that South Africans expect their service providers to reward them.

"We're seeing that South Africans are even more invested in loyalty programmes. There's certainly not a decline. South Africans love loyalty programmes. They're part of the expectation," she said.

The head of Old Mutual Rewards, Brett Cameron, said loyalty rewards have become a "no-brainer", especially in the financial services industry. Old Mutual came late to the party on this front as it only launched Old Mutual Rewards in 2018. While some business units in its stable ran some form of rewards schemes for their customers, there was no group-wide loyalty programme up to that point.

Cameron said the insurer was losing ground to competitors, and it recognised that it needed to do something. So, loyalty rewards had to be part of its offering.

"There was also a customer drive. There was an expectation from customers to have an offering like this, partly because of what the market has exposed people of South Africa to," he said.

He said launching a programme that cuts across all Old Mutual's customer base has been the biggest success factor this time around.  

Cameron said South Africans have become so used to getting something in return for sticking with their products and service providers. The programme has also become a bit of an acquisition tool for Old Mutual, said Cameron.

As the technology matures, Cameron said it's becoming more affordable for companies to build and run these reward programmes. So, while companies have to keep their accountants and executives happy, loyalty programmes can put up a sound financial business case. They've become an extension of building brand strength.

He said it was evident that many financial services companies have been successful with loyalty programmes.

"Twenty [or] 15 years ago when all the competitors were starting out, there [were] a lot of questions whether it was going to pan out successfully," he said.

"Every business in some way should have a loyalty programme, and it can definitely add value in many, many ways," he said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Limited access to restaurants and bars
10% - 63 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
17% - 106 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
25% - 158 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
47% - 295 votes