In Making Loyalty Work for Small Businesses: United Kingdom Edition, a PYMNTS and Pollinate collaboration, researchers surveyed a census-balanced panel of 1,115 U.K. consumers as part of a larger study of over 4,500 consumers in Australia, Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S., analyzing their appetite for local shopping and loyalty programs, and who they trust to run the back-end of rewards programs where online credentials and other sensitive data is stored.
While finding that 65 percent of U.K. shoppers favor mass merchants and 52 percent say they shop with these merchants more than any other type of business, High Street shops are high on their list — but mostly if these merchants reward shoppers in ways they trust and value.
The current use of loyalty programs by U.K. shoppers is strong, and respondents indicate that they would have more of it if it was offered in ways they prefer post-pandemic.
Per the U.K. study, 52 percent of U.K. consumers “who use at least one loyalty program say they would be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ interested in signing up for services that would allow them to receive rewards from their local businesses, as did just 24 percent of those who are not yet enrolled in such a program.”
Meanwhile, 53 percent of U.K. consumers now receiving offers would be “very” or “extremely” interested “in receiving rewards and special offers from local businesses. This means that high street shops have a built-in customer base that is on the hunt for optimized loyalty and discount program experiences,” and represents an opportunity for local businesses “to capture more consumer spend by improving the loyalty and rewards programs they already have in place.”
The U.K. edition adds that “the two most pressing of these frictions are concerns about not receiving enough value from businesses’ rewards programs and worries about the security of consumers’ sensitive personal data.”
Who consumers trust to operate the digital machinery behind loyalty programs veers off the “support local” narrative somewhat, as consumers like knowing that institutions like banks or global loyalty experts manage the backend of SMB loyalty, rather than the shop itself.
Per Making Loyalty Work for Small Businesses: United Kingdom Edition, “the strong majority of U.K. consumers simply do not trust high street businesses with their personal data. Consumers in the U.K. are even less likely than those in Australia, Brazil and the U.S. to trust local businesses with their personal data. Only 7 percent of all U.K. consumers say they would trust the businesses in their local commercial districts to manage their transactional data. Closing this so-called ‘trust gap’ is therefore essential for local businesses across the U.K. looking to boost their footfall.”
Importantly, the U.K. report adds that “U.K. consumers trust banks more than they trust any other type of institution to handle their transactional data, with 44 percent — roughly 23 million individuals — saying they would trust banks with their transactional data. This means that local businesses can potentially attract more than six times as many potential customers by offering bank-enabled loyalty programs” than by offering self-operated DIY rewards.