Loyalty programs keep consumers engaged with brands, while branded credit cards can pad the often razor-thin margins in retail. Together, they seem like a recipe for success. However, a lack of experiential rewards and poor digital visibility diminishes the impact and reach of these programs.

A third of brands operate credit card programs, but adoption varies largely by vertical. L2’s Loyalty report¬†finds that they have been adopted by six out of ten Department Store and Big Box brands with loyalty programs. As many as 88% of credit card programs are integrated with loyalty programs, and 86% of those integrated programs allow users to earn additional rewards when purchases are made on the card. Unsurprisingly, those additional rewards are strictly points-based, eschewing some of the more experiential rewards L2 observes in broader loyalty program holders.

Credit card adoption

Like traditional loyalty programs, credit cards are largely invisible online. Half of brands fail to promote their loyalty credit card program on the homepage, and even fewer promote their program during the checkout process. Furthermore, 50% of brands fail to promote their programs via email. This lack of program visibility is an obvious missed opportunity to capture signups. Loyalty and credit card programs could be the peanut butter and chocolate of retail, and many get it right. But these easy misses mean more than half are out of step with consumer tastes.

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