Brand loyalty refers to the extent by which consumers become faithful to a particular brand. This is expressed by their repeated purchases, regardless of the marketing pressure brought by other competing brands. In this case the customers will stick to that particular brand irrespective of the prices even if there are similar brands in the market. Brand loyalty is a consumer behavior depicted by loyal customers and will therefore be affected by personal preferences. In this regard therefore, brand loyalty will have an effect on purchases made of the product. It may also affect the customer’s ability to decide whether or not to buy that particular product. This essay therefore, is based on the influence brand loyalty has on the customer behavior and the product. The relationship between brand loyalty and customer preference has made companies to use different strategies to cultivate and get the attention of loyal customers. Some of these strategies include: the use of loyalty programs (e.g. rewards) or trials and incentives. The main argument in this paper is therefore, geared towards answering the question: Is the use of rewards and loyalty cards an effective way to build brand loyalty?
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The principle behind loyalty programs believe that if certain behaviors are rewarded chances are very high that they will be repeated. Loyalty programs have therefore been used a tools to promote marketing by encouraging repeated purchase of certain products. Such programs have evolved externally and operate independently of the traditional strategies of store, pricing, and quality decisions. Two types of rewards offered by loyalty programs can be distinguished based on whether they have hard or soft benefits. Hard rewards are generally tangible e.g. discounts while soft rewards include special communication and good treatment. Soft benefits are in most cases emotion based. A lot of research has been done to emphasize on the use of the right choice of rewards for a loyalty program (Bridson, Evans, & Hickman, 2008).
Store satisfaction refers to the consumer’s fulfillment response. It is a personal judgment of whether a product or service provides a certain level of fulfillment to the consumer. Therefore, the consumer maybe under fulfilled or over fulfilled by the product or service. Store loyalty is a biased behavioral response by some customers towards one store out of a number of stores. This is usually a function of certain psychological processes e.g. decision making that makes a customer be committed to a certain brand. It refers to more than just the commitment to a store but rather brings in some extent of preference and dedication (Chaudhuri, 1995). Loyalty was mainly measured by the number if times a customer makes repeated purchases to a given product. Therefore it mainly incorporated the behavioral aspect if the customer. Loyalty if directly linked to sales which is the main goal of most business organizations. However, the concept of loyalty has evolved, with people recognizing the fact that loyalty is more than just behavior alone. Loyalty consists of both behavioral and attitudinal aspects. In this regard loyalty has been linked to repeated purchase and positive word of mouth by the customers .