Are loyalty and membership cards for shoppers really worth it?

- by Alib Har

Having loyalty and membership cards seems to be the norm among shoppers nowadays. The cards are one of the efforts of business organisations such as department stores and hypermarkets to attract consumers. It is also intended as a way to offer rewards to regular customers and to encourage them to keep shopping in the same stores. From my point of view, it is certainly worth having royalty and membership cards and I give my reasons below.

First and foremost, members get a lot of benefits by having the cards. One of them is that when you make a purchase, you receive points which are redeemable for merchandise or cash. For instance, in the loyalty programme of a store that I know of, customers receive 1 point for every RM1 they spent. They will receive a RM10 voucher after reaching a minimum threshold of 1,000 points. With the vouchers, customers are able to purchase any merchandise in the store.

Apart from that, members can also buy goods at discounted prices, especially during sales which are normally organised during festive seasons. That is the time when customers are most likely to buy a larger quantity of goods. Many stores also do weekend promotions of certain products, which members are able to buy at cheaper prices. On top of that, members are offered a cash rebate on selected items every once in a while.

Furthermore, many stores hold lucky draw or contests for their members occasionally, so as to reward lucky customers for their loyalty. The more purchases we make, the better our chances of winning. If we are lucky, we might win attractive gifts or prizes such as cash prizes amounting to thousands of Ringgits, a brand new car of the latest model, an expensive holiday package, a home theatre and entertainment system, et cetera.

Although it is advantageous to have a loyalty and membership card, there are disadvantages as well. Usually, we need to pay a certain sum of money to get the card. If we do not make a lot of purchases, it takes a long time to reach the threshold. Since we normally need to pay for the card fee annually, we might even make a loss if we fail to make sufficient purchases. In order to increase their chances of winning the lucky draw and contest prizes, customers may be tempted or encouraged to make unnecessary purchases which are a waste of money.

In a nutshell, there are pros and cons having loyalty and membership cards. The cards are definitely worth it if we make a lot of purchases. On the other hand, if we do not intend to buy a lot of goods from a particular store, then it is not advisable to have the cards as the amount of money that we spend on the cards is higher than what we get in return. Since most families make purchases, I believe that the advantages of having the cards far outweigh the disadvantages, based on the amount of purchases made annually by an average family.