Automotive Marketing: Do customers really want another loyalty card?

Customers want to receive the benefits of a loyalty program but don’t necessarily want to carry a card.  In a recent DMEautomotive consumer study, membership cards are the least important feature of a loyalty program especially when retailers accept a customer’s phone number or email address.  So don’t spend the money on this miscellaneous expense; assume the expenses where it counts – discounts.  It should be no surprise, especially when the economy still isn’t that stable, that the most important feature to consumers is discounts on parts and services.

Do you currently have a loyalty program?  If not, reasons could be:

  • Available programs are not financially viable
  • Implementation involves change in store process

Whether you have a loyalty program in place or are thinking about implementing one, the most important part to think about is can you sustain what you have or want to implement.  There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than to keep up with changing loyalty programs or worse, one that ends completely.  Airlines are a perfect case in point; continually changing programs – and not for customer benefit.

Integrate with or create a turn-key program – the less maintenance, the more likely you are to support it.

  • Develop the profile of a loyal customer and the threshold of when to reward those consumers.  Is it based on # of visits or $ spend?
  • What is the reward value?
  • How will you create awareness of the program – point of sale, welcome package, and integration into your communications?
  • How will you measure the success of the program?

In the end – a loyalty program is all about retention of your customers and customer satisfaction, which will result in more visits and an increase in spend.  Even if you don’t end up with a loyalty program, find a way to surprise and delight those frequent, loyal customers.

~ Marcie Hopey, Product Manager DMEautomotive


Marcie has 15 years of extensive experience, of which 10 are in the automotive industry, with strategic planning, market research, media and events. She has a successful track record for implementing new marketing plans to expand market share and grow revenue. Marcie possesses a forward thinking approach to business with an emphasis on bottom line results. As a DMEautomotive Product Manager, Marcie is responsible for the company’s Direct to Dealer Program, product development and data analysis, client services, and customer retention.

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