Beyond points: new online tool allows Canadians to accurately compare loyalty programs based on personal preferences changes the framework on how to evaluate the array of loyalty programs in Canada

TORONTO, July 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadians face a vast and often confusing selection of loyalty programs, all promising added value in just about every shopping and service category. Frustrated consumers can have trouble choosing the best loyalty program for their needs due to the overwhelming amount of information available. When it comes to loyalty programs, one size definitely does not fit all. While consumers' spending habits and reward preferences are unique, comparative tools often try bundling people into 'average' categories. To take advantage of a loyalty program most effectively, it is important for a consumer to understand which program will help them reach their desired reward the fastest.

Now, there is a new, free online tool to help Canadians find the loyalty programs that can help get them to their rewards faster: By answering a few simple questions about their preferred rewards, lifestyle and shopping habits, Canadians will easily discover which programs will get them to their desired rewards faster.

"Our extensive research study compared top loyalty programs across the country," says Robert Stel, Senior Research Associate, Environics Research Group, a global company and one of Canada's leading marketing and public opinion research firms. "Over-simplified comparisons of programs are often inaccurate because they assume everyone is 'average' when it comes to their spending, when in reality it comes down to individual habits and preferences."

Avoiding loyalty program overload
Consumers across the country love their loyalty programs: according to the 2013 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, the average Canadian household is involved in an average of 8.2 loyalty programs. However, without accessible, comprehensive information about these programs, many consumers may not be selective enough in the programs they choose and may not take important variables, like personal shopping habits and the type of reward they prefer, into consideration when making decisions about program membership. While participating in multiple programs may appear to mean that a consumer is not missing out on the benefits of any program, in reality, what gets a consumer to their chosen rewards faster is finding the right program to suit their needs and lifestyle.

"There are hundreds of loyalty programs vying for consumers' attention, appealing to a variety of preferences and offering many kinds of rewards. All of the information available makes it difficult for people to select the programs that are more suited for them," explains Ken Wong, The Distinguished Marketing Professor, Queen's School of Business. "Finding the programs that can get you to the rewards you want, faster, has been challenging until now."

The tool was built on proprietary research conducted by Environics Research Group in 2012 in order to create a more level landscape for loyalty program comparison. It cross-compares 61 of the most popular loyalty programs and their affiliated credit cards in Canada based on how fast a member can get to their chosen rewards goal, whether it is long or short-haul travel, merchandise or cash-equivalent rewards. It compares loyalty programs for consumers based on their location, spending habits and desired rewards.

About the research
Commissioned by COLLOQUY, a LoyaltyOne research group, Environics Research Group conducted a survey of 1,017 Canadians in November 2012 to determine the most popular loyalty programs in Canada. Environics Research Group then built an algorithm that allows consumers to determine which rewards programs get them to the rewards they want as quickly as possible, based on their individual shopping patterns, program features and attributes. Ken Wong, The Distinguished Marketing Professor, Queen's School of Business, and Frank Pons, Professor of Marketing, Laval University, reviewed and approved the research methodology. COLLOQUY, a LoyaltyOne research group, provided financial consideration to, or on behalf of, each of them.

About Environics Research Group
Environics is one of Canada's leading marketing and social survey research firms with a reputation for integrity, accuracy and insight. Co-founded in 1970 by Environics' president Michael Adams, the firm has evolved into a multi-disciplined international research and consulting group.  Headquartered in Toronto, the firm has offices and affiliates in Ottawa, New York and Washington D.C. and around the world through the IRIS network of global research firms. Environics is a full-service research firm experienced in conducting telephone surveys, personal in-home interviews, postal surveys, panel studies and focus groups, conducting approximately 2,000 focus groups and 250,000 interviews a year. Environics offers its clients a broad array of research, consulting and communications services, from traditional public opinion polling and market research to advanced studies of human values and social change, in addition to consulting to aid our clients' product design, marketing, communications and human resource strategies. 


For further information:

Deane Code / Stephanie Dale
Environics Communications
416-969-2826 / 416-969-2756

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