Do Loyalty Cards Influence Your Loyalty?

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My purse is fat not because it has a lot of cash inside (I wish!) but because of the countless department store, hypermarket, beauty brand and other retailers’ loyalty cards I carry around. I have them in my purse all the time because I never know when I may need to show them at the cashier’s to collect points.

Each department store has its own redemption system, some may offer better redemptions than others. Do these cards determine or influence where you shop for your beauty products? Each department store has its members’ day where you can collect more points than usual or when you can collect double vouchers when you purchase beauty products.

To what extent are we influenced by the loyalty cards and what makes us more loyal to one particular department store than another? I am sure most of us have our preferences because it is impossible to be accumulating points every month from each and every department store in town.

Let’s have a closer look at what each of the department stores whose cards are featured above have to offer us:-

(1) Robinson’s

First of all, there aren’t many beauty counters within Robinson’s. I think I can count the exact number of beauty counters located therein with both hands and have fingers left to spare. There used to be a Kanebo counter there but it closed down a long time ago.

Every time I go into Robinson’s beauty hall, I don’t see many customers. Out of all the counters there, I visit Benefit (because the counter manager and I get along very well) and Shu Uemura the most (because I do buy from there to collect points and this counter is one of the few remaining Shu counters in the Klang Valley within a department store). Seems to be Shu is slowly phasing out its counters within department stores.

Robinson’s doesn’t have its members’ day once a month but they are quite regular. During those days, members are offered RM10 voucher with RM100 purchase at the beauty hall and RM25 voucher with RM200 purchase. These vouchers can be used for subsequent beauty purchases unlike vouchers at some other department stores.

Points are accumulated on a quarterly basis meaning you will get a letter informing you of the amount of vouchers you are entitled to every 3 months, e.g. Jan-March, April-June, July-September and October-December. As long as your minimum purchase within these 3 months is RM100, you’ll be entitled to 5% of RM100, i.e. RM5. Even if you purchased a total of RM199, you’d still be entitled to RM5. You have to purchase RM200 and above in order to be entitled redeem a RM10 voucher.

Overall Comments

The good : 5% redemption is possible with a minimum purchase of RM100 within 3 months, these vouchers are valid for a year from the date of collection. Vouchers collected during members’ day can be used for beauty products. Membership card is free and valid for life.

The bad : Not much choice of beauty counters and vouchers collected during members’ day must be used only on beauty products. Supplementary membership cards are not issued.

(2) Jusco

Jusco at MidValley has the best and most varied choices of beauty counters out of all the Jusco outlets but that may change once Jusco at 1Utama is re-opened. One of my two favourite Clinique counters is located in Jusco, MidValley. I have been going to the Clarins counter there too ever since the counter manager from Robinson’s was transferred there.

Their members’ day is one of the most popular in town and you’d be well advised to go early on such days as parking is impossible after 10am whenever they have their members’ day, not to mention the road to MidValley will be severely congested. This is because on members’ day, you can purchase anything instore and be entitled to RM10 voucher for every RM100 purchase.

If you purchased a lipstick for RM70 and a blouse for RM45, you can total the purchases and be entitled to a RM10 voucher. These vouchers are only valid after members’ day but have no expiry date and can be used on any purchases, even from their supermarket.

Purchases totalling a minimum of RM500 must be made from their General Merchandise Store (and not supermarket) within a six month period (Jan-June & July-December) in order to qualify for a RM20 voucher. A sms will be sent to members who qualify informing them to collect the vouchers from their Customer Service.

Overall Comments

The good : RM500 minimum purchase qualification is lower than Isetan’s. No lack of choice at Jusco MidValley in terms of beauty counters. Vouchers collected during members’ day and through redemption of points bi-annually can be used for any purchases. They have no expiry date and can be used at their supermarkets. Membership card can be used at other retailers in MidValley and 1Utama during members’ day for discounts. It can be shown at some F&B outlets and hotels for discounts as well. Members are entitled to 5% discount at their supermarkets during members’ day.

The bad :  Membership fee of RM12 is required for a year’s membership and time starts to run from the expiry of the membership card and not the date of renewal. Supplementary card is included in the RM12 fee though. Members are given a booklet of largely useless offers on their birthdays. I threw mine away without even using one page from the booklet last year. No vouchers are given for purchase of value sets.

(3) Parkson

Parkson does not have its own membership card, it accepts Bonuslink card which is widely accepted by other retailers. It’s not RM1=1 point though and there must be a minimum purchase of RM8 or is it RM10 before the cashier will swipe your Bonuslink card.

Each Parkson has different beauty counters and although I used to shop for beauty products in Parkson because of their monthly members’ day where they offered RM10 vouchers for RM100 beauty purchases and another RM10 for RM150 on any products + 5x Bonuslink points, I got fed up with their pink price tag policy.

If the beauty product has a pink tag on it, that means you won’t be entitled to the RM10 voucher for every RM100 purchase. Products which are from a limited edition or value buys will not qualify you to the RM10 voucher for RM100 purchase.

My last beauty purchase from Parkson was at the Benefit counter in KLCC where I purchased 2 lipsticks which had the pink price tags on them. They were RM75 each and I thought I would be entitled to RM10 x 2 vouchers but I was in for a surprise as I was only given one RM10 voucher for total purchase of RM150. That was the last straw! They are quite indiscriminate with the pink price tag and that really gets my goat.

Overall Comments

The good : Offers RM10 x 2 vouchers on Bonuslink members’ day + 5x Bonuslink points. 980 Bonuslink points can be redeemed for RM10 Parkson vouchers. Bonuslink card is free for life. A supplementary card is available.

The bad : Difficult to get RM10 with RM100 beauty purchases most times no thanks to the dreaded pink price tag. Gifts With Purchases (GWPs) at the beauty counters in Parkson never seem to be as attractive as GWPs at Isetan. Vouchers have a very limited life span.

(4) Metrojaya

My favourite Metrojaya is the one at MidValley because that’s where one of my 2 favourite Estee Lauder and Clinique counters is located. The service at those counter is exceptional by all the staff, not just one particular person.

Metrojaya’s members’ days are almost as frequent as Parkson’s. During Metrojaya’s members’ days, they sometimes offer breakfast and supper to members. They are the only department store to offer breakfast and supper to their members.

There are two reward periods for the points redemption programme – January to June & July to December. The chart for the redemption is available on their website. I don’t receive their newsletters at all, I have to rely on their ads in the papers be informed about their members’ day.

The membership fee is quite high at RM20 for a year. However, they sometimes have incentives for renewing and occasionally they offer their membership card for free but that’s rare these days. I got my card for free but I doubt that’ll be the case when it’s time for me to renew in a few months.

Overall Comments

The good : Customers are treated well on members’ days, they get free breakfast & supper. Enough choice of beauty counters with some exceptional service. Sometimes RM20 vouchers are given for RM100 beauty purchases with a specific credit card.

The bad :  Fee for the membership card is on the high side. No vouchers given for value sets purchased.

(5) Isetan

This has by far been my 1st choice of department store for my beauty purchases. Isetan at KLCC has a good choice of beauty counters and the majority of staff there offer superb customer service. It’s always been an enjoyable shopping experience at Isetan outlets.

Isetan’s offers and privileges for members are very good (although hardly as good as Isetan Singapore’s) as the beauty counters regularly offer value sets and samples which are not available at other department stores. These skincare/makeup value sets are in very limited quantities and they are offered at a much lower price than their original value.

The GWPs at Isetan beauty counters seem to be better than at other department stores’ beauty counters. They offer extras which the others don’t. From time to time, they have special GWPs which are unique to Isetan’s beauty counters.

Being an Isetan member has more perks and privileges than other department stores especially for beauty addicts. From time to time, they have international makeup artists holding workshops and I find that Isetan has the most beauty events out of all the department stores.

You have to spend a minimum of RM600 in 2 redemption periods (similar to Metrojaya) in order to get 3% redemption. Total purchases above RM1000 during these periods entitle members to 5% redemption. The vouchers are are valid for a limited period only.

Overall Comments

The good : Isetan gives vouchers for purchase of value sets unlike other department stores. Due to the vast choice of beauty counters as well as frequent beauty promos, it is quite easy to reach the minimum purchase required to be entitled to the 3% redemption. Their newsletters always have details of beauty promos and events.

The bad : Last year, Isetan increased the membership fee to RM25 for members who still wish to receive the newsletter. I would prefer to receive the physical newsletter rather than via email because sometimes you need a page or a cutting from the newsletter in order to redeem a beauty sample.

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