Impact of loyalty program investment on firm performance: seasonal products with strategic customers. (English) Zbl 07479763

Summary: Customer loyalty programs are often used by retailers as an important marketing tool. As an essential element of loyalty programs (LPs), the reward amount invested by the retailer is often linked to retailer’s profit and customer behavior. We consider a retailer who sells a type of product in two periods to strategic customers. The retailer makes inventory ordering and loyalty program investment decisions. Customers decide whether to purchase immediately (in period 1) to receive the product and reward, or to wait for a markdown discount but face the risk of stockout. We have focused on three main questions: (1) How does the loyalty reward investment decision impact strategic customers’ behavior? (2) What are the optimal decisions and profits for the retailer when investing in a loyalty program? (3) What are the factors influencing the reward investment decision? We find that investing in the loyalty program induces more customers to make an early purchase, leading to a higher inventory ordering decision and more profit for the retailer. The benefits from reward investments are significantly affected by the product’s cost and customers’ valuation of the product. Our results shed light on the reward investment decision of LPs. For products with high profit margins and market-determined prices (valuation approximates price), the retailer should invest in a loyalty program to achieve better profits.


90Bxx Operations research and management science
Full Text: DOI


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