Research shows that 74% of economically active South Africans were using loyalty programmes last year.

Perhaps even more significantly, the same research shows that, on average, South Africans belong to almost nine loyalty programmes.

Of course, as fuel prices continue to rise, inflation hits all-time highs and the ongoing uncertainty about global food supply chains due to the conflict in Ukraine, one of the world's six breadbasket regions, consumers will increasingly turn to loyalty programmes to benefit from discounts and other value adds.

These benefits are solely for consumers who are willing to part with personal data such as their buying habits in exchange for receiving these benefits.

Being able to tell who bought what and when can provide powerful insights to brands looking to get a competitive edge. Mining this data for patterns of spending can, for example, show retailers the 'sweet spot' for pricing items in a way that maximises their profits while shoppers are still happy to purchase the goods at that price.

However, a shift is starting to take place as consumers have access to more loyalty programmes than ever. This means that retailers must start prioritising interactions over transactions. 

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