Original Research

Grocery loyalty cards: Do they work? A customer-centred investigation

Marius Wait
Acta Commercii | Vol 22, No 1 | a1056 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v22i1.1056 | © 2022 Marius Wait | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2022 | Published: 26 October 2022

About the author(s)

Marius Wait, Department of Marketing, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Research into the effectiveness of loyalty programmes is fragmented and paradoxical. Some authors showed that loyalty programmes are effective, while others demonstrated the contrary.

Motivation for the study: This study draws on two previous studies and argues that theories compiled in developed economies are not applicable in emerging economies and that the success of loyalty programmes is a multidimensional topic.

Research purpose: This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of grocery loyalty programmes within an emerging economy and investigate various areas to get a customer-centric perspective on this marketing tool.

Research design, approach and method: This study used a qualitative methodology with an abductive mindset and proposed several hunches that arose from the findings. Ten online interviews were conducted with customers of grocery loyalty programmes, and issues were probed such as the customers’ purchase frequency, their price sensitivity, their advocacy of loyalty programmes and the quality and length of their relationship. The interview were transcribed and the content was analysed inductively.

Main findings: Findings suggest that the customers of grocery loyalty programmes are generally uncertain about the benefits of loyalty programmes and a sense of disengagement is observed.

Managerial/practical implications: Several suggestions are made to improve the practicality of loyalty programmes. These suggestions focus on ways to get the customers more engaged.

Contribution of study: This study contributes to the academic knowledge within an emerging economy and provides some practical managerial suggestions for effective implementation. This study proposes that the effectiveness of loyalty programmes is not a simple issue and requires input from several disciplines, such as psychology.


grocery loyalty programmes; abductive hunches; emerging economy; integrated loyalty reviews; inductive content analysis.


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