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Loyalty programs as travel companions: Complementary service features across customer journey stages

Lena Steinhoff and Marcellis M. Zondag

Journal of Business Research, 2021, vol. 129, issue C, 70-82

Abstract: Traditionally, loyalty programs have rewarded members following their purchases. However, current versions of these programs feature extended scopes of benefits, including technology-facilitated complementary service features that span multiple purchase stages. Using a multimethod approach, this research explores the potential of loyalty programs to become meaningful “travel companions” along the customer’s journey. First, a qualitative focus group study finds the different roles of loyalty programs: purchase process facilitation (prepurchase stage), value enhancement (purchase stage), and reassurance (postpurchase stage). Then, a survey of members of a grocery retailer’s loyalty program shows the relative importance of stage-specific interactions with service features. Managers can apply these insights for designing their loyalty program to leverage its full benefits and help members co-create value with technological support.

Keywords: Loyalty programs; Member activity; Complementary service benefits; Customer journey; Purchase stages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2021.02.016

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