Retailers remain enthusiastic about loyalty cards because consumers carry, on average, 10 cards. Retailers seem to skip past the idea that consumers only carry these cards to receive immediate in-store discounts, accrue points for later discounts, or some other form of extrinsic motivation. Lisa Faw provides the money observation:
Although they may be called loyalty programs, two in three customers don't think being loyal to a brand is important.
Roughly 67% of a retailer's consumers do not view a loyalty program to be that important. If a retailer dropped all forms of extrinsic motivation associated with those cards, then the percentage of consumers who care about that retailer will drop to 0%. Without those extrinsic motivators, no consumer would lug around the cards. Hence, those cards should not be called loyalty cards but, more accurately and correctly, as use cards. Furthermore, as discussed in this post, the misuse of loyalty by retailers and marketers creates a problem with measurement too.
Retailers should accept that consumers will never bestow loyalty on a particular retailer. Instead, retailers could better spend their time encouraging consumers to frequent their stores and/or websites.