"A loyalty program is a marketing strategy designed to encourage customers to continue to shop at or use the services of a business associated with the program." (from Wikipedia).
❌ There's no such thing as a free lunch.
And there is likely no such thing as free rewards, either. Sure, you can get 10, 20, 30 or even 50% off for "being loyal" - but you don't simply get this.
You're paying, just not in cash, but with your personal data. (And you might also be forced to receive spam...)
"Join our loyalty program and get free stuff" is a sham.
👉 Such programs aren't necessarily problematic, as long as companies are honest and transparent about the trade-off. And we need to be conscious about what we're agreeing to give up in return for discounts and other benefits.
Links and resources:
- Guidance from the Norwegian Consumer Authority (Forbrukertilsynet) on email marketing as per the Marketing Control Act (only in Norwegian)
- Guidance from the Norwegian Consumer Authority and the Data Protection Authority (Datatilsynet) on digital services and consumer data: in Norwegian and in English
- Guidance from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority on customer clubs (only in Norwegian)
- Guidance from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority on newsletters, email lists and SMS (only in Norwegian)
- Guidance from the ICO, UK's Data Protection Authority, on the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) and the "soft opt-in"