Consequences of customer loyalty to the loyalty program and to the company
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Gaining customer loyalty is an important goal of marketing, and loyalty programs are intended to help in reaching it. Research on loyalty programs suggests that customers differentiate between loyalty to a company and loyalty to a loyalty program, yet little is known about the consequences of these two types of loyalty. Therefore, our study intends to make two main contributions: (1) improving our understanding of the constructs “program loyalty” and “company loyalty”, (2) investigating the relative impact of the two types of loyalty on preference, intention, and purchase behavior for the case of a multi-firm loyalty program. Results indicate that company loyalty influences a customer’s choice to visit a particular provider and to prefer it over competitors, but it is not a strong predictor of purchase behavior. Conversely, program loyalty is a far more important driver of purchase behavior. This implies that company loyalty primarily attracts customers to a particular provider and program loyalty ensures that once inside the store, more money is spent.
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