Haven't yet rolled out a customer loyalty scheme? Now's a good time to do so – because according to new research, they are now used by nearly all of us.

The vast majority – 91 per cent – of consumers responding to a survey by Global Prepaid Exchange said that they now use a loyalty card when shopping for food.

Some 75 per cent have three or more loyalty cards and 41 per cent wouldn't leave the house without one!

Many shoppers said they would actively choose to shop somewhere they had a loyalty card with over another store.

Kevin Harrington, managing director of Global Prepaid Exchange, said: “Loyalty cards use has exploded recently and they have really helped supermarkets know their customers and incentivise them.

“Some worried that customers were less happy about the information that was being collected about them but 70 per cent of those surveyed actually agreed that loyalty schemes help retailers better understand their needs.”

Loyalty schemes are a great way to connect and build relationships with your customers. If you're planning to introduce such a retention scheme, have a think how promotional merchandise could help you do it.

We reckon even something as simple as handing out promotional pens for every application received will do the trick.

“Loyalty: We wont leave home without it”. Global Prepaid Exchange. Monday December 15th 2011.

Posted by Robin McCrink