By Rachel Morey


5 Min. To Read

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Customer loyalty isn’t as strong as it once was, and retailers are stepping up their game to get the attention of shoppers who may look elsewhere for the best deals. According to a recent survey conducted by, only 4% of holiday shoppers valued loyalty to a retailer above other factors.

In 2013, 23% of shoppers said they’d spend money at more than one retailer during the holiday season. In 2017, that number jumped to 40%. The trend makes retailers nervous.

Competing with Amazon and Amazon Prime is no easy task. Nearly three-quarters of all holiday shoppers said they planned to use Amazon to meet their gift buying goals in 2017. Free shipping, two-day arrival, and the ability to shop millions of items from the comfort of home are advantages that are hard to beat.

Retailers that provide constant sales and points programs simply train their customers to wait for the sale or promotion to shop there. Instead of being the go-to source for gifts and good that consumers want and need day-to-day, the retailer becomes an occasional destination for recreational shopping.

Smart retailers make loyalty a year-round project:

• Amazon leads the way with their Prime membership that offers free two-day shipping and free same-day delivery in certain zip codes with an order over $35. They also give members access to the Kindle Lending Library, discounts on Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax subscriptions, and access to Prime Video.

• REI gives its Co-op members 10% of their purchases for the year back in the form of an annual dividend in March. They offer member-only sales with 50% off regular prices and free or discounted classes.

• Omaha Steaks offers a rewards program for steak lovers with edible rewards like Omaha Steakhouse Fries, All Beef Meatballs, Omaha Steakburgers, and $5 off the total order with 100 points.

• Macy’s offers discounts on purchases for Plenti Card Rewards points. Users can earn points when they shop at Rite Aid, AT&T, Expedia, and subscribe to Hulu.

• The Kohl’s Reward Program offers users a $5 reward for every $100 they spend in stores or online.

Credit card reward programs are at an all-time high for 2018, as well. Whether they come in the form of miles, points, or gift cards for popular retailers, there are more than a few credit cards that are willing to compete for customer loyalty.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a reputation for offering the best travel rewards. Users get two points for every dollar they spend with the card at restaurants and on travel.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus has one of the best travel rewards programs, as well. Users earn points every time they pay with the card. For people who love to travel, this card is the gold standard.

Discover it with Cashback Match is a favorite among users for its versatile rewards. It has the highest and most flexible cash back program available anywhere. There’s no annual fee, and a minimum of 1% cash back on all purchases.

In 2018, consumers can expect retailers and banks to go all out to get and hold their attention. Rewards programs may replace sales and promotions as we move into the new year.

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