The Hidden Value Of Thanks: 3 Ways Apple, Lululemon And Others Do It

If love means never having to say you’re sorry, then loyalty should mean always having to say thank you.

It can come as a verbal word of gratitude, or in the form of rewards points. One factor does not change when it comes to retail: Consumers like to be thanked and recognized for their patronage.

Apple employee showing an iPad to a young girl inside an Apple store.

That’s my takeaway after reviewing the results of a recent survey by TD Bank, which measured consumer attitudes about giving and receiving thanks in both personal and commercial settings. Not surprisingly, when it comes to being thanked by others, 84% of those surveyed said they prefer their thanks to come in person.

However, just how consumers like retailers and other companies to deliver their thanks is a different story. For instance, 33% of those surveyed prefer companies to thank them with points, miles or other loyalty rewards. This is a great boost for loyalty marketing and rewards programs, but I don’t think the takeaway should be so cut-and-dry. Retail interactions involve much more than a purchase, and a rewards program will realize its full potential only if a retailer shows its thanks across all shopper touchpoints, such as the online experience, its social channels and customer care.

There are ways to generate customer recognition beyond traditional loyalty programs, as Apple, Lululemon and REI have proved. Let’s explore them; but first, let’s look at the research.

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