#115: Loyalty Research and Insights from South Africa

This short show summarises the insights I learned from Amanda Cromhout, founder of the Truth loyalty agency in South Africa.

In March 2020, they published their latest white paper on the key trends in loyalty from South African consumers, so listen to learn the incredible statistics she shared, as well as her key concern about the one consumer segment that is actively disengaging from loyalty programmes in that market.

Show Notes: 

1) Episode 27 of Let’s Talk Loyalty 

2) Amanda Cromhout 

Audio Transcript

Speaker 0 (0s):

Welcome to “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.

I’m your host, Paula Thomas and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas for loyalty specialists around the world.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, I encourage you to check out “Thinking Caps” a 10 minutes or less video series, covering loyalty, customer engagement and all things digital marketing, published by Cheetah Digital.

This series is clever and quite often shares disruptive ideas that can inspire. Thinking Caps videos are published several times a week and are available on apple podcasts.
Thinking Caps by Cheetah Digital – videos, 10 minutes or less, that can help empower marketeers as you navigate the complex landscape of customer engagement.

In today’s episode of let’s talk a little loyalty, I’m sharing my learnings from one of the world’s leading ladies of loyalty, Amanda Cromhout based in South Africa. Amanda is the founder of a specialist loyalty marketing agency called Truth, which researches the loyalty market in South Africa.

We recorded this episode in March, 2020 as Truth had just released the fifth edition of this research.

As usual, we started by discussing Amanda’s favorite loyalty statistic, which was that 72% of south Africans actually use loyalty programs.

Amanda highlighted the sheer strength of the number with so few marketing activities, getting anything like a 72% usage rate. So what is an incredibly powerful number? Amanda, then talk to us through her background and love of loyalty, starting in British airways, where she worked with the graduate management program, negotiating the portfolio of co-branded frequent flyer bank cards across Europe for their executive club members.

Later, when she moved to South Africa, she joined Woolworth’s, which is a premium grocery retailer there before then setting up her own loyalty agency called truth 11 years ago, each year, truth partners with a research agency that conducts comprehensive consumer research with over 26,000 south Africans, including a specific category on loyalty questions for the research conducted in 2019, there were a number of big new questions.

One specifically was asking customers whether the loyalty programs they use, they think actually influenced or change behavior. Amazingly 91% of customers were saying that a does influence where they shop plus another 62% said it also influences the products they buy. Amanda then shared with us some superb results announced by a new program that launched in the market. At the end of 2019, a grocery retail program called extra savings from the ShopRite group, which managed to sign up an incredible 1 million members in just one week when it launched.

One of the key reasons for this incredible signups success was the simple signup process with members able to join in under three minutes, customers could sign up by WhatsApp by the app by USSD via the website, or of course in store, Amanda then talked through some insights from customers who said they don’t use programs in order to understand why not. The main reason they said is that they didn’t think they would spend enough to earn decent rewards.

Other feedback from customers is that programs are too hard to understand. They’re simply too much hassle. They don’t want too much information or members often say they don’t like the way they are marketed to with their data. And unsurprisingly they dislike when their points expire. Amanda, then highlighted the most popular loyalty programs in the country led by a pharmacy and health and beauty store program called clicks, followed by pick and pay, which is a grocery retailer program.

The first financial services brands of number five was the eBooks program from FMB bank. Finally, we discussed one alarming change in feedback from younger consumers aged 18 to 24. Now of course the usage from this demographic is generally lower as their disposable income isn’t as high. But in this report, usage had dropped again from an already low 67% to just 45% with the biggest impact in the fashion category.

So this clearly highlights a huge issue and perhaps a big opportunity for loyalty programs in South Africa, who either are not speaking to youth or perhaps this age group has switched its spending behavior. Overall, as an insight, South Africa has been identified by Nielsen as the second most price sensitive market in the world. So in tough economic times, loyalty programs really need to connect in a more powerful way.

If it’s going to make a difference to any segment of the market. In closing, I will simply say that there are loads more insights to enjoy in this episode. So if you’re interested in hearing more

Speaker 0 (6m 3s): And getting access to the full white paper, just head over to let’s talk loyalty.com and find episode 27 with Amanda . This show is sponsored by the wise market here. The world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing news insights and research. The Ys marketeer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which has already certified over 170 executives in 20 countries as certified loyalty and marketing professionals.

For more information, check out the wise market tier.com and loyalty academy.org. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of let’s talk loyalty. If you’d like me to send you the latest show each week, simply sign up for the show newsletter on let’s talk loyalty.com and I’ll send you the latest episode to your inbox every Thursday, or just head to your favorite podcast platform. Find let’s talk loyalty and subscribe.

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