Business Day loyalty article: Loyalty schemes used for everything from paying for dates to buying vital meds

Millions of South Africans have come to depend heavily on loyalty programmes‚ many using their points to buy essentials — groceries‚ pre-paid electricity and fuel — while others save them for spoils such as a month-end bottle of whiskey or an overseas holiday.

Business Day loyalty article Truth

Image: Jessica Levitt

Angela Chandler of Milnerton saves all her loyalty points every year for a very specific purpose — attending the Up the Creek music festival on the Breede River in January with her husband.

“My Makro points buy the booze and any camping gear we need; our food is paid for with Smart Shopper and SuperSpar points‚ and my Clicks Clubcard points pay for the sunscreen and all the other cosmetics‚” she said.

“It’s hugely satisfying to get it all free‚” she said.


As a nation South Africans are notoriously bad at saving‚ but many who lack the discipline or the means to save in the traditional way are managing to passively accumulate some spending power in the form of points‚ meaning they can fund the Christmas splurge or buy a longed-for appliance without getting further into debt.

For a growing number of consumers‚ their company loyalty routinely buys them pre-paid electricity and qualifies them for substantial fuel savings.

According to the Truth Customer Loyalty Whitepaper of 2016‚ consumer demand for loyalty programmes is increasing at a rate of 6% a year‚ with economically active South Africans belonging to an average of 4.6 programmes.

By far the most popular one is Pick n Pay’s Smart Shopper — about 12-million South Africans have been issued with those blue cards. The programme works for both spenders and savers: there are personalised discounts to be had weekly on the products each consumer regularly buys‚ and points to accumulate for redemption later.
“In the South African loyalty market place‚ most people just want cash back or a free cup of coffee‚” said the Truth WhitePaper authors.

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