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Journal of Consumer Marketing

The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty


Blanca Garca Gmez Ana Gutirrez Arranz Jess Gutirrez Cilln

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To cite this document:
Blanca Garca Gmez Ana Gutirrez Arranz Jess Gutirrez Cilln, (2006),"The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and
affective loyalty", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 23 Iss 7 pp. 387 - 396
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Russell Lacey, Julie Z. Sneath, (2006),"Customer loyalty programs: are they fair to consumers?", Journal of Consumer
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Martin Fraering, Michael S. Minor, (2013),"Beyond loyalty: customer satisfaction, loyalty, and fortitude", Journal of Services
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Wei-Ming Ou, Chia-Mei Shih, Chin-Yuan Chen, Kuo-Chang Wang, (2011),"Relationships among customer loyalty programs,
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The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and


affective loyalty
Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

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Department of Management and Marketing, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
Abstract
Purpose The aim of this paper is to analyze the behavioral and affective loyalty of retailer customers in order to establish the role played by loyalty
programs in the development of these variables.
Design/methodology/approach Research data were taken from a survey carried out on 750 customers from a Spanish supermarket chain. Several
ANOVAs are employed to compare the two loyalty dimensions among participants and non participants in loyalty programs.
Findings The results show that participants in loyalty programs are more behavioral and affectively loyal than non participants. Nevertheless, most
customers do not change purchase behavior after joining a loyalty program. The strategy is therefore to retain loyal customers and to achieve the
reinforcement of affective bonds linking the customer to the retailer.
Practical implications Companies should focus their efforts on developing a reward plan as adapted as possible to concrete needs of each
participant in the program to achieve true loyalty.
Originality/value The main contribution of this paper is the completion of an exhaustive analysis of customer loyalty. On the one hand, it is a
pioneer in the study of the influence of loyalty programs on affective loyalty and, on the other hand, it confirms results from other researches on
behavioral loyalty of program participants. In addition, this is one of the few papers developed in this field using the survey as a source of information.
Keywords Loyalty schemes, Consumer behaviour, Customer retention, Customer loyalty, Supermarkets, Spain
Paper type Research paper

consolidated programs (Mollet, 2004b; Reinares and


Reinares, 2005).
The spread of loyalty programs in business circles has
promoted the appearance of one research line comprising
plenty of studies dealing with different aspects related to this
strategy. Our interest in this paper is focused in analyzing the
influence of loyalty programs on customers loyalty. This
matter is of vital importance for companies implementing
them for the following reasons. First, due to the nature of
loyalty programs themselves, achieving customers loyalty is a
prime objective of this strategy.
Secondly, the availability of a loyal customers database
offers benefits for the company which have been already
widely documented in literature. Loyal customers add
profitability to the company (Woolf, 1996; Heskett
et al.,1997) and profitability of one individual customer
grows constantly during his relationship with the company
(Reichheld and Sasser, 1990; Anderson et al., 1994;
Reichheld and Teal, 1996). The high profitability added by
loyal customer can be explained, firstly, through their lesser
price sensitivity towards the products of the company (Sharp
and Sharp, 1997; Dowling and Uncles, 1997; Bowen and
Shoemaker, 1998a, b), secondly, due to the fact that they
require a smaller investment in communication than those
people not having previous experience with the company
(Rowley, 2000) and finally, thanks to their role of prescribers
(Reichheld and Teal, 1996). Besides, true loyalty based on
emotional bonds is hard to copy, so it can be a competitive
advantage (Palmer et al., 2000).
Although the bi-dimensional view of loyalty is commonly
accepted in our time, most papers analyzing the influence of
this strategy on customer loyalty were focused on behavioral
dimension. This dimension refers to purchase behavior
repeated over the time.

Introduction
Loyalty programs are a marketing strategy based on offering
an incentive with the aim of securing customer loyalty to a
retailer. Achieving rewards is related with purchasing
frequency, so this type of programs are also called frequent
purchase programs (Shoemaker and Lewis, 1999; Long and
Schiffman, 2000; Bell and Lall, 2002) or reward programs
(Kopalle et al., 1999; Kim et al., 2001).
Lately, large-scale loyalty programs have been implemented
by firms in different industries around the world. In the case
of retailers, on whom this paper is focused, an extended use
between most of them has led these programs to become one
more element in their offer. In fact this can be seen in the way
that companies set part of their communication budget aside
to promote these programs, especially loyalty cards, as they
are another product offered by the company.
However, not all countries show the same level of
development regarding to implementation of this tool. For
example, in Germany, there are over 100 different programs
and the percentage of families taking part in at least one of
them exceeds 40 percent (Kunzel, 2002). In the USA, the
number of programs surpasses 400 with more than 80 percent
of families taking part (Colloquy, 2003). Regarding to Spanish
data of use of these programs, consumers participate on
average in 1.74 loyalty programs in the USA, this figure
rises to 3.34 and there are more than 40 national
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
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Journal of Consumer Marketing


23/7 (2006) 387 396
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 0736-3761]
[DOI 10.1108/07363760610712920]

387

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The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

Existing literature on the impact of loyalty programs on


behavioral loyalty yields two interesting results. Firstly,
participants in these programs show a higher behavioral
loyalty than non participants. This becomes evident through
indicators like the frequency of visits to the retailer or the
number of visited competitor selling points (Dre`ze and Hoch,
1998; Passingham, 1998; Benavent et al., 2000;
Meyer-Waarden, 2002).
Secondly, papers focused on loyalty programs that compare
the consumers behavior before and after enrolling themselves
in these programs show that there is virtually no difference
between the two states regarding to number of visits to the
retailer or purchase volume (Sharp and Sharp, 1997, 1998;
Wright and Sparks, 1999; Benavent, 2000; Bell and Lall,
2002; Meyer-Waarden, 2002).
Taking into account both the two previous results, we are
led to think that loyalty programs do not make customers
become more loyal, but its main contribution is retaining the
already loyal customers. One of the goals of this paper is
deepening in this aspect througth the hypothesis proposed.
Following with loyalty components, the affective dimension
refers to emotional bonds of one individual towards
something, in this case, a selling point (McGoldrick and
Andre, 1997; Bennett and Rundle-Thiele, 2002). While
attitudinal loyalty may be considered a mere mediator of
marketing instruments that affect behavioral loyalty, its
measurement is a prerequisite for the understanding of how
stimuli affect cognitive and affective processes that make
customers to become or remain loyal in their deeds
(Noordhoff et al., 2004). Literature points customer
attitude, satisfaction, trust and commitment as key
component in the development of affective loyalty. Loyalty
only based on a repeated behavior is fragile. Some authors
consider that there is true loyalty only when these two
dimensions are met in a consumer (Dick and Basu, 1994;
Trinquecoste, 1996).
In spite the importance of this aspect, research on the
influence of loyalty programs on customers affective loyalty
towards the retailer are scarce and show contradictory results.
On one hand, some researchers state that most loyalty
programs are in fact saving programs in disguise that do not
contribute to the attitudinal component of loyalty, and thus
do not create sustained loyalty (McGoldrick and Andre,
1997; Bennett and Rundle-Thiele, 2002). On the other hand,
in a comparative research carried out in Netherlands and
Singapore by Noordhoff et al. (2004) we can detect a positive
relationship between holding a loyalty card and what they call
attitudinal loyalty of consumers towards the retailer in both
countries. Undoubtedly, most relevant literature confers to
the ability of the strategy to influence customer satisfaction
(Shoemaker and Lewis, 1999; Stauss et al., 2001; Mueller and
Pietrzyk, 2004). Due to this lack of research, another aim of
this paper is to determine the influence of loyalty programs on
affective loyalty.
The methodology used to fulfill the goals of our research
consists in comparing behavioral and affective loyalty of
participants and non participants in loyalty programs.
Besides, we also take into consideration participants change
of behavior. Data collection was complete by a personal
survey of 720 consumers of one supermarket chain placed in a
medium-sized Spanish city running two loyalty programs.
The paper is organized into the following sections. Firstly,
we propose several hypotheses about loyalty of participants in

loyalty programs. Then, we explain in detail the methodology


used in this research and the results obtained from the carried
out analysis. The paper ends with the presentation of
conclusions based on results, and some recommendations
for business management.

Behavioral and affective loyalty of participants in


loyalty programs
Our research on the effect of loyalty programs on customer
loyalty comprises the analysis of three aspects: behavioral and
affective loyalty of participants on loyalty programs and their
change of behavior after enrolling themselves in the program.
Behavioral loyalty of participants in loyalty programs
In order to carry out the analysis of behavioral loyalty of
participants in loyalty programs we distinguish two aspects in
purchase behavior: that produced in the retailer and that
taking place in other competitors retailers.
We use the following indicators for the first aspect:
frequency of visits to the retailer, purchases and percentage
of purchases per customer.
Regarding to the role played by loyalty programs in
purchase frequency, Dre`ze and Hoch (1998), Passingham
(1998) and also Meyer-Waarden (2002) state that
participants in loyalty programs make a higher number of
visits to the retailer than non participants. Benavent et al.
(2000) emphasize this aspect concluding that promotional
actions related to loyalty programs encourage to users of these
programs to have smaller interpurchase times than those
lacking this incentive.
In support of the positive impact of participation on loyalty
programs on the purchase volume in the retailer, Benavent
et al. (2000) and Meyer-Waarden (2002) conclude that
owners of loyalty cards purchase more than people without
them.
Another indicator of behavioral loyalty is the percentage or
share of purchase, defined as the ratio of the total expenses of
one consumer made in one specific retailer. A high value in
this variable points out that the consumer scarcely buys in
other retailers, so he shows a loyal behavior to that point of
sale. In this sense, there is plenty of research material which
proves that participants in one loyal program have a higher
share of purchase in that retailer (Neslin et al., 1985; Dre`ze
and Hoch, 1998; Bell and Lall, 2002; Jorna et al., 2002; Jorna
and Bijmolt, 2003; Ayala and Neslin, 2004; Mollet, 2004a).
Taking into account the existing literature, we propose the
following hypothesis:
H1. Participants in one loyalty program show a greater
behavioral loyalty to the retailer that has implemented
that loyalty program than non participants.
The spread of purchases between different points of sale is
one of the barriers to loyalty towards one retailer. Loyalty
programs aim to remove this spread (Meyer-Waarden, 2002),
transforming them into defensive strategies.
Literature on the effectiveness of loyalty programs deepens
in the research on the influence of these programs on
switching costs creation (Jackson, 1985; Klemperer, 1987;
Duffy, 1998; Kim et al., 2001; Singh, 2001).
Switching costs lead the consumer to visit a limited number
of points of sale as they reduce the appeal of other choices. In
the finance industry, Perrier et al. (1992) state that one
technique used by banks to raise retention ratios is to increase
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The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

switching costs through loyalty programs. Also frequent travel


programs use by airlines have a similar effect because they
lead customers to perceive that competitors offer higher prices
since they are deprived of the discounts offered in return for
loyal behavior (Palmer and Beggs, 1998).
Meyer-Waardens (2002) research is the only paper where
the defensive role of these programs is proven empirically and
which shows their ability to slowly reduce the spread of
purchase between several retailers.
According to the above facts, we propose the following
hypothesis:
H2. Participants in one loyalty program show a less
behavioral loyalty to other retailers than non
participants.

Tietje (2002) focused on the role of rewards offered by


loyalty programs, and concludes that obtaining certain
rewards can generate positive feelings towards the retailer
implementing the program. These feelings linked to the
purchase experience involve a greater satisfaction leading to
higher purchase intentions (Price et al., 1995; Oliver et al.,
1997).
Taking into account the previous statements, we propose
the following hypothesis:
H4. Participants in one loyalty program show a greater level
of satisfaction with the retailer than non participants.
Trust, the third key element in creating affective loyalty,
appears when one part has in the reliability and integrity of
the other part in the interchange (Morgan and Hunt, 1994).
The concept of trust as key factor to establish successful
relationships in the tertiary sector was introduced by
Parasuraman et al. (1985). These authors suggest that
customers should be able to trust in service suppliers, to be
sure about the behavior maintained with them and to have the
certainty that data transmitted to them will have a confidential
nature. All these considerations are crucial to obtain
customers loyalty and they mean a positive contribution so
that any company has a stable customer portfolio. Other
authors like Macintosh and Lockshin (1997) and
Sirdeshmukh et al. (2002) also recognize the role of trust in
creating loyalty.
There is not a great deal of research which can shed light on
the possible relationship between participation in loyalty
programs and the creation of trust in the retailer. Kelley and
Thibaut (1978) and Macintosh and Lockshin (1997) suggest
that a loyalty program allows a relationship between supplier
and customer to be built, that favors the concept of trust and
commitment. Also Meyer-Waarden (2002) supports this idea
when he explains that loyalty programs cause switching costs
to consumer as a result of rewards offered by them and also
costs arising from the evolution of the relationship established
with the retailer. The increase in the number of contacts
between both parts coming from participation in loyalty
programs leads to an improvement in the customer
knowledge, which translates into an increase in consumer
trust and commitment to the retailer.
Based on these premises, we propose the following
hypothesis:
H5. Participants in one loyalty program show a higher trust
in the retailer than non participants.

Affective loyalty of participants in loyalty programs


Most authors agree in identifying the key components for
developing affective loyalty: attitude, satisfaction, trust and
commitment. We propose several hypotheses for each of these
components of affective loyalty of participants on loyalty
programs.
Attitude was defined by Oliver (1980) as a consumers
relatively lasting affection towards an object or an experience.
The role of attitude in customer loyalty is vital, since it is
required a previous positive attitude to consider a repetitive
behavior as true loyalty (Day, 1969; Jacoby and Chestnut,
1978; Assael, 1987; Solomon, 1996; Huang and Yu, 1999).
Regarding the relationship between participation in loyalty
programs and attitude, there is virtually no empirical research
that discusses in greater depth the strength and sense of this
relationship. We can quote Ayala and Neslin (2004) when
they assert that the reward obtained from a loyalty program
can increase the subsequent purchase behavior as long as the
rewarded customer develops a positive attitude towards the
retailer. In spite of the shortage of literature on this matter
and taking into account that loyalty schemes are aimed to
create loyalty in consumer, we venture to suppose that they
also obtain a favorable attitude from consumer:
H3. Participants in one loyalty program show a more
positive attitude to the retailer than non participants.
The second element that should be studied in the
development of affective loyalty is the satisfaction.
Satisfaction is defined as an affective condition resulting
from a global assessment of all aspects comprised in the
relationship in which the consumer takes part (Severt, 2002).
There are plenty of researches proving that satisfaction is an
important antecenden of consumers intention of behavior
(Rust and Oliver, 1994; Taylor and Baker, 1994;
Bhattarcherjee, 2001; Szymanski and Henard, 2001;
Anderson and Srinivasan, 2003, among others). Therefore,
it is one of the variables considered as a key to the creation of
customer loyalty.
At this point, it is advisable to investigate the conclusions of
research which analyzes one possible relationship between
participation in loyalty programs and satisfaction. In this field,
authors like Shoemaker and Lewis (1999), Stauss et al. (2001)
and Mueller and Pietrzyk (2004) establish the outstanding
ability of programs to raise customer satisfaction and also to
reduce the consumer dissatisfaction when a problem arises in
the relationship with the supplier (Bolton et al., 2000;
Meyer-Waarden, 2002).

Commitment is widely considered as a key component to


achieve successful relationships at long term (Dwyer et al.,
1987; Morgan and Hunt, 1994). A high level of commitment
appears when there is a rational bond (net profit) and an
affective bond (emotional link) in the relationship.
According literature, the commitment is a required
condition to true loyalty (Day, 1969; Bloemer and Kasper,
1995; Oliver, 1999). There are authors that go even beyond
stating that commitment and loyalty are the same (Assael,
1987; Price and Arnould, 1999; Pritchard et al., 1999; Too
et al., 2001).
It is also necessary to investigate the relationship between
loyalty programs and creation of commitment from consumer
to the retailer running the strategy. Regarding to this aspect,
we should recall that when we tried to justify the relationship
between participation in plans and trust we quoted Kelley and
Thibaut (1978) and Macintosh and Lockshin (1997), who
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The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

propose that a loyalty program is a means of favoring the


customers trust and commitment to the retailer.
On the other hand, and taking as starting point the concept
of leveled commitment, literature on the effectiveness of
loyalty programs concludes that those create switching costs
and, therefore, leveled consumer commitment (Klemperer,
1987; Caminal and Matutes, 1990; Bolton et al., 2000; Kim
et al., 2001; Meyer-Waarden, 2002).
From another point of view, one of the benefits derived
from the availability of loyal customers is the advising role
they play that is widely recognized in literature (Deming,
1982; Anderson, 1998; Bowen and Shoemaker, 1998a,
McIlroy and Barnett, 2000, among others). Consumers who
purchase repeatedly recommend the product to other people,
representing a great source of word-of-mouth advertising.
Some of the literature has regarded this advisory role as an
example of consumer commitment to the retailer.
In the field of loyalty programs, Benavent et al. (2000)
explain that the goal of these programs is achieving a bigger
income thanks to the cross selling and recruitment of new
consumers with lesser cost through word of mouth
advertising. For this reason, customer commitment to the
retailer can be presumed.
According to the above facts, we propose the following
hypothesis:
H6. Participants in one loyalty program show greater
commitment to the retailer than non participants.

that plans should be addressed just to a limited group of


consumers who may change their behavior due to their
participation in them.
According the above, we suggest that loyalty programs
cannot modify behavior patters in most consumers taking part
in them. Quoting Magi (2003), it is possible that some
consumers change their purchase behavior in one program
and other consumers participate in programs rewarding
purchasing patterns already established. Thus, our hypothesis
is the following:
H7. Participation in loyalty programs does not cause a
change in most consumers.

Methodology
Data collection
Collection of data was made through personal surveys carried
out at the exit of several retailers belonging to a supermarket
chain located in a medium-size Spanish city.
A stratified selection by simple affixing was used. The
sample consists of 720 people from whom 180 were
participants in the retailer frequent shopper program that
was in force at that moment, 180 in the card program and 360
not participant in any loyalty program at that retailer. The
makeup of this sample allows a comparison between
participants and non participants in loyalty programs and
the analysis of possible differences between the effectiveness
of the two types of programs used.
Technical data relating with the sample can be found in
Table I.

Influence of loyalty programs on behavior change


At this point, we study if consumers change or not the
purchase behavior because of their participation in loyalty
programs. This aspect is fundamental to discovering if loyalty
programs make customers more loyal.
Existing research does not offer consistent results in this
area. Nevertheless, many researchers coincide in proving the
inefficiency of loyalty programs in causing behavior change in
the majority of participating consumers. On this line, Sharp
and Sharp (1997, 1998) do not find evidence to demonstrate
an increase in depth or purchase frequency in consumers
through the incentives offered by loyalty programs. These
authors believe that it is hard to change repeated purchase
models of consumers, and Dowling and Uncles (1997) agree
with this. They also conclude that most consumers do not
show increased loyalty, which is the final goal of this type of
marketing actions. Long and Schiffman (2000) reach a similar
conclusion when they recognize that only a small group of
consumers change their purchase patterns due to their
participation in a loyalty program.
Wright and Sparks (1999), meanwhile, explain that the
majority of consumers polled declare that they purchased
regularly in the retailer before belonging to the reward
program. Customers go beyond recognizing their intention to
continue purchasing in the future in the retailer, regardless
what happens with the loyalty program.
In the papers of Benavent (2000) and Meyer-Waarden
(2002) we can observe that the time between purchases and
purchases spread between retailers hardly varies from cards
possession and that the program only modifies the behavior of
a small part of consumers: the large consumers of the retailer.
This justifies the emphasis of the authors on the importance
of a proper customer segmentation to achieve effective plans.
On the same line, Bell and Lall (2002) recognize that the
program can obtain an increase in sales although they believe

Measurement of variables
In order to draw up the questionnaire, we completed an
exhaustive review of research from different study areas
supplying the measurement scales of variables used in this
paper. In this way, we aim to fulfill the requirements of
reliability and validity of scales as far as possible.
Nevertheless, the items obtained needed to be corrected in
order to adapt them to our specific context. Furthermore, we
created new items from theoretical concepts found in relevant
literature.
Before reaching the final design and in parallel with tasks of
concreting and defining the questionnaire, we conducted a
series of detailed interviews with managers of some companies
belonging to the national grocery retailing. Finally, the initial
questionnaire was cleaned up using a pretest. The
measurement scales employed in the research are shown in
Table II.
Table I Sampling technical data

390

Characteristics

Survey

Sample element
Sample procedure
Sample size
Sampling error
Trust level
Time
Scope
Source of information

Retailer consumers
Random stratified. Same affixing
720 people
2 3.6% for p q 50%
95%
October-November 2005
Valladolid (Spain)
Personal survey

The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

Table II Measurement scales


Name of the construct (Cronbach Alpha or
correlation coefficient, composite reliability and
average variance extracted)
Measure of the construct
Attitude towards the retailer: Alpha 5 0.89;
CR 5 0.89; AVE 5 0.74
Trust in the retailer: Alpha 5 0.76; CR 5 0.77;
AVE 5 0.47

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Trust in the retailer staff: Alpha 5 0.85;


CR 5 0.86; AVE 5 0.68
Commitment to the retailer: Alpha 5 0.75;
CR 5 0.70; AVE 5 0.45

Purchase behavior in the retailer

Purchase behavior in competitor retailers

Satisfaction

Change in purchasing behavior

Reflective scales
I like shopping in the retailer
Its a nice, comfortable and friendly retailer
In general, I consider it as a good retailer
I think that the retailer acts in my best interest
The retailer is concerned with my welfare, not only with
obtaining profit
The retailer is honest with their customers, it does what it
promises
The retailer makes an effort to know its customers
The retailer staff are competent and professional
The retailer staff are friendly and helpful
I trust the retailer and its staff
I like the relationship I have with retailer staff
I usually recommend the retailer to my friends and family
I intend to purchase in the future in the retailer
I consider myself as loyal to the retailer
Formative scales
Times you go usually to the retailer in one month
Types of products purchased in the retailer
Average amount earmarked for purchasing drug retailer and
food products
Percentage of money for purchasing drug retailer and food
products that you spend in the retailer
Average amount spent per visit to the retailer
Number of competitors retailers of the same type you visit
regularly
Other types of retailer where you purchase:
Hypermarket
Fruit shops
Butchers
Fish shops
Drug retailers
Retailer has good prices
Retailer has a large variety of products
Section distribution in the retailer is comfortable
Parking and access are easy
Retailer responds to any product problem
I feel comfortable when I go to the retailer
Opening hours are adjusted to my needs
In general, I am satisfied with the retailer
Stopping purchasing in other retailers (Loyalty card)
Stopping purchasing in other retailers (Frequency program)
Increased purchase frequency at the retailer (Loyalty card)
Increased purchase frequency at the retailer (Frequency
program)

In this paper we used two different types of scales in respect of


the type of relationships between observed and non observed
variables: reflective and formative scales. In the case of the
first type of scales, it is considered that observed variables
with which we try to measure each theoretical concept are a
representation or reflection (effect) of this concept. Therefore,
we can expect that reflective indicators used to capture the

Average (SD) Measurement scales


3.85 (1.03)
3.92 (0.96)
3.96 (0.92)
2.64 (1.18)
2.60 (1.06)

Five-point Likert

Five-point Likert

3.34 (1.12)
3.08 (1.14)
4.09 (1.01)
4.10 (1.03)
3.85 (1.03)
3.59 (1.10)
2.50 (1.37)
3.56 (1.17)
2.89 (1.34)

Five-point Likert

Five-point Likert

2.65 (1.18)
2.28 (0.79)
3.13 (0.93)

1 to 4
1 to 3
1 to 4

2.20 (2.06)

1 to 4

2.3 (1.01)
1.41 (0.85)

1 to 4
Ratio (open)

1.81 (0.64)
1.92 (0.69)
1.90 (0.76)
1.98 (0.76)
1.72 (0.61)
3.24 (1.11)
3.67 (1.03)
3.96 (0.95)
3.46 (1.42)
4.00 (1.74)
4.00 (0.97)
4.34 (0.90)
3.97 (0.95)
1.83 (0.39)
1.79 (0.40)
2.33 (1.28)
2.37 (1.32)

1 (never) to 3 (always)

Five-point Likert

Five-point Likert

essence of one specific theoretical concept are highly related


between them. One alternative in the measurement process
that has been less used but that is beginning to spread
gradually in the academic world is the use of formative or
causal indicators. These involve the creation of composite
indexes more than the development of scales
(Diamantopoulos and Winklhofer, 2001; Jarvis et al., 2003).
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The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

In this case, one variation in any of the observed variables


causes changes in the structure which is multidimensional
by nature and not in reverse. In other words, the indicator is
one of the causes or antecedents of the underlying variable to
which it is related. From this point of view, the conceptual
and empirical meaning of one underlying composite variable
is determined by the set of observed variables used, which are
not necessarily inter-related (Jarvis et al., 2003).
In our case we measure using reflective scales three
dimensions of affective loyalty: attitude, trust and
commitment. Satisfaction and behavioral loyalty have been
considered as a formative scale. Trust and behavioral loyalty
are structured into two parts derived from the factors obtained
in the previous exploratory factor analysis. In order to measure
purchasing behavior change we used two variables: stopping
purchasing in other retailers and increased purchase
frequency at the retailer. For these two variables we
distinguish between participants in loyalty programs and
participants in the frequent shopper program (see Table II).
According to the above considerations, the use of reflective
scales requires the completion of a reliability and validity
analysis, contrary to formative scales, over which there is no
unanimity regarding the methodology that should be applied.
For the last scales there is no clean-up process, we simply create
one variable that represents the structures examined, to obtain
the average of the values obtained for each of variables involved.
Reliability and validity analyses are carried out through an
exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of proposed
structures. Table II shows the scales resulting from the above
clean-up process and their reliability and validity indicators.

into which behavioral loyalty has been divided for the two
groups of retailer consumers. That is to say that participants
in loyalty programs, independently of the type of program,
demonstrate greater behavioral loyalty towards the retailer
and lesser behavioral loyalty to competitors than customers
who do not take part in any program. According the above,
we can accept hypotheses H1 and H2.
In order to contrast the hypotheses relating to affective
loyalty of participants in loyalty programs, we completed an
analysis similar to the previous one: an ANOVA test for the
difference of averages. In this case we try to determine the
existence of different values for the different constructs of
affective loyalty between participants and non participants in
the retailer loyalty programs.
The values of dependent variables are obtained in different
ways, depending on the type of measurement of these variables:
formative or reflective scales. Satisfaction was measured
through the formative scale. In the same way as in the case of
behavioral loyalty, for satisfaction we created an average variable
from responses given by consumers to the seven items designed
to measure the different aspects of individual satisfaction with
the retailer. In the case of the other aspects of affective loyalty
attitude, trust and commitment and since we are dealing with
reflective scales, in order to carry out the analysis we used the
consumer marks in the factors obtained in the factor analysis of
key components previously carried out.
The ANOVA results (see Table IV) coincide in showing
significant differences between the average values obtained
from the dimensions into which affective loyalty has been
divided in both samples participants and non participants in
loyalty programs. These facts lead us to accept H3, H4, H5 and
H6, i.e. it can be asserted that participants in loyalty plans show
a more positive attitude, and greater satisfaction, trust and
commitment towards the retailer than non participants.
The last proposed hypothesis (H7) analyzes whether
participation in a loyalty program can modify the consumer
behavior in the retailer implementing the program. The analysis
of frequency distribution made for variables employed to
measure change in consumer behavior (see Tables V and VI)
shows that a high percentage of participants in retailer loyalty
programs claim not to have changed their purchase behavior,
that is, they affirm that they do not shop more frequently at the
retailer. Furthermore, they state that they do not stop
purchasing in competitor retailers as a result of their
participation in the loyalty program implemented by one retailer.
In order to statistically contrast the results obtained with the
contingency tables, we propose proportion tests for each of
them. The aim is to check if most consumers taking part in one
loyalty program in one retailer, that is, more than 50 percent,
do not give up purchasing in other selling points as a result of

Results
In order to contrast the hypotheses we divided the sample into
two independent sub-samples: on the one hand, the set of
people taking part in one loyalty program, whether frequent
shopper or card programs, and, on the other hand, the group
of consumers who do not take part in any retailer loyalty
program.
In order to contrast H1 with H2, that is, the hypotheses
comparing the behavioral dimension of loyalty between
participants and non participants, we use an ANOVA model.
It should be recalled that, in this case, we are working with
formative scales; so, the values of dependent variables are built
up from the average of punctuation of polled individuals for
behavioral loyalty variables. We work specifically with two
scales, one used to obtain the average loyalty through the
purchase behavior of people in the retailer and other measuring
the purchase behavior in competitor retailers.
The ANOVA analysis results, shown in Table III, are clear,
since they reflect significant differences in the two dimensions
Table III ANOVA analysis results for behavioral loyalty

Average Average
part.
non part.

Addition of
squares

df

Square
average

Intergroups
Intragroups

76.317
290.123

1
636

76.317
0.456

167.300 0.000

2.86

2.17

Behavioral loyalty: purchase behavior in competitor retailersa Intergroups


Intragroups

6.674
118.484

1
639

6.674
0.185

35.996 0.000

1.70

1.90

Behavioral loyalty: purchase behavior in the retailera

Note: aLevene test reveals equality of variances

392

Sig.

The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

Table IV ANOVA analysis results for affective loyalty

General satisfaction

Trust in the staff


Attitude
Commitment
Trust in the retailer

Addition of squares

df

Square average

Sig.

Average part.

33.599
198.814
11.086
517.914
43.267
485.733
41.805
487.195
15.788
513.212

1
490
1
528
1
528
1
528
1
528

33.599
0.406
11.086
0.981
43.267
0.920
41.805
0.923
15.788
0.972

82.808

0.000

4.06

11.302

0.001

0.146

2 0.142

47.032

0.000

0.290

2 0.281

45.306

0.000

0.285

2 0.276

16.243

0.000

0.175

2 0.170

Intergroups
Intragroups
Intergroups
Intragroups
Intergroups
Intragroups
Intergroups
Intragroups
Intergroups
Intragroups

Average non part.


3.53

Note: aLevene test reveals equality of variances

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Table V Descriptives for change in purchansing behavior (give up purchasing in competitors)


To give up purchasing in competitor retailers
Yes
No
Total

Loyalty card

Absolute frequency
Frequency program

32
148
180

Total

Total relative frequency (%)

69
291
360

19.16
80.84
100

37
143
180

Table VI Descriptives for change in purchasing behavior (higher purchase frequency)


Higher purchase frequency
Completely disagree (1)
2
3
4
Completely agree (5)
Total

Loyalty card

Absolute frequency
Frequency program

67
30
50
17
14
178

69
28
44
25
14
180

Total

Total relative frequency (%)

136
58
94
42
28
358

37.99
16.20
26.25
11.73
7.83
100

A key matter related to loyalty programs is research into its


contribution to customers loyalty towards a specific
company. Throughout the paper, we have made a detailed
analysis of loyalty of participants in one loyalty program of a
supermarket chain. The results we have obtained are the
following.
First, participants in loyalty programs show a greater
behavioral loyalty to the retailer that has implemented that
loyalty program and, at the same time, less behavioral loyalty
to competitors of that company, than non participants.
These results can lead us to believe that loyalty programs
contribute to an increase in behavioral loyalty of participants,
but yet most of these people claim that their purchase
behavior varied very little, if at all, since they joined up. With
this data, the strategy can at least be attributed with the ability
to retain the loyalest of customers.
The results obtained are consistent with results achieved by
other research referred to in the justification of the proposed
hypotheses.
Another result is related to affective loyalty. In this regard,
participants in loyalty programs show higher levels of positive
attitude, satisfaction, trust and commitment than non
participants.

participation in the program. In this case, sample and


population values are 80.84 percent and 50 percent,
respectively. This test leads us to reject the hypothesis of
behavioral change on most participants Z 11,70; p , 0.000).
The second contrast focuses its analysis on the percentage
of people recognizing that they do not shop more frequently at
the retailer as a result of their participation in the loyalty
program. In the sample, we consider inside the percentage the
people scoring 3 or less in the variable, meaning 80.44 percent
of those. Results show that there is a negligible possibility of
accepting the null hypothesis, according which over 50 percent
of participants in the loyalty program shop more often at the
retailer after adopting the loyalty program (Z 11,52;
p , 0.000).
All these facts allow us to accept H7 loyalty programs do
not modify the behavior of the majority of consumers.

Conclusions
The mass implementation of loyalty programs is a reality,
strengthened over time. Our paper is focused on grocery
retailing companies, one of the industries with the largest
number of current loyalty programs around the world.
393

The role of loyalty programs in behavioral and affective loyalty

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Blanca Garca Gomez, Ana Gutierrez Arranz and Jesus Gutierrez Cillan

Volume 23 Number 7 2006 387 396

The analyses carried out do not allow us to establish the


extent to which loyalty programs have led to a change in the
magnitude of these variables. Nevertheless, we can affirm that
among participants in loyalty programs we can detect the two
factors required to refer to true loyalty: this group of
consumers demonstrate favorable feelings towards the retailer
and behave in accordance with these feelings.
Therefore, loyalty programs attract most loyal retailer
customers. Out of this group, non participants are those
sporadic customers characterized by a lack of emotional
bonds with the company. The size of each group varies from
one company to another and the most suitable strategy for
each group is different.

differences relating to its management and it is possible that this


has an impact on the effect that it is able to obtain.

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field of research that is closely related to our objective and that
has not yet been developed; the analysis of the influence of
different types of loyalty programs (for example, loyalty card,
frequent shopper programs or customers clubs) on behavioral
and affective loyalty. Each of these tools shows significant
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About the authors


Blanca Garca Gomez is an Assistant Professor in the
Department of Management and Marketing, Faculty of
Business and Economics, University of Valladolid, Valladolid,
Spain. She is the corresponding author and can be contacted
at: bgarcia@eade.uva.es
Ana Gutierrez Arranz is an Assistant Professor in the
Department of Management and Marketing, Faculty of
Business and Economics, University of Valladolid, Valladolid,
Spain.
Jesus Gutierrez Cillan is a Full Professor in the Department
of Management and Marketing, Faculty of Business and
Economics, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain.

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