Three Problems with Retail Gift and Loyalty Cards

March 2021

Gift cards have many advantages which retailers and consumers benefit from. Recently, brands in South Africa have started focusing on retail gift and loyalty cards a lot more to try and get consumers to come and buy from them whether online or offline.

For many consumers, gift cards offer benefits that make coming back to their favourite store who uses gift cards, worth it. Most time, it is the discounts, or cash back incentives that keep luring these customers back. Often the consumer will qualify for points, once a certain amount of money has been spent instore, which is generally the most common advantage.

The retail gift and loyalty card is something that for many consumers they want go without. Due to the fact they know they are benefiting in the long run. However, in some instances, consumers do unfortunately walk away having lost more than they wanted.

The issue with retail gift and loyalty programs is that for many brands, they do not clearly communicate what their program involves and the terms in which consumers will benefit from. Unfortunately, due to the current times, the country finds itself in, many brands are using retail gift and loyalty programs as a means to attracting new customers into their stores, both online and offline. Many of these brands are not aware of the obstacles and challenges involved in implementing your own retail gift and loyalty offering.

The list below covers three of the biggest problems of loyalty programs from a company perspective. In particular, these problems tend to come up during the operationalization phase, as you turn your plan on paper into a working retail reality.

1. Creating consistency

During implementation, multiple departments are working on the retail loyalty program plan from different angles. It’s not unusual for one department or another to accidentally get dropped out of the loop at some point and miss receiving important information. This can not only cause internal issues, but also can lead to challenges in maintaining customer loyalty as members have an incomplete or inconsistent customer experience.

The Solution – Ensure you have solid documentation of your new and updated loyalty program as well as your implementation plan. Another tip is to ensure you develop or update your customer journeys to ensure you remember to identify key touchpoints and interactions.

2. Documenting the details

Documentation isn’t only important to ensure everyone is on the same page. It’s also vital for making all details of your retail loyalty program plan clear — and for making sure you’re covering all the important factors that you need to.

The Solution – Develop an internal document detailing the rules and important notes of your recently implemented retail gift and loyalty program. Make sure you share this document with your operations and legal team in the early days. Include everything from your terms

and conditions to FAQs and marketing material. As the program evolves, you will need to update these rules and related documents.

3. E-commerce integration

Most of today’s retailers aren’t truly integrating their loyalty programs into the online shopping experience. For instance, members shopping online don’t see how many points they could earn on a purchase or get nudges to “Spend another R50 and earn a reward.” By not leveraging critical reward triggers like these, as a business owner you are ignoring one of the most powerful tools that loyalty programs have to drive your sales.

The Solution – Develop customer journeys to try and understand your customers behaviours and how you can improve their life through offering them a well thought out retail gift and loyalty program.


Being aware of these loyalty program challenges and taking steps to avoid them will pave the way for a smoother implementation of your new and improved retail and gift loyalty program.

For all your retail gift and loyalty cards, make sure to speak to one of our sales executives on either 011 894 3914 or alternatively email us on