Retail and services companies are trying out innovations in their loyalty programs. Whether it is airlines, hotels, retail chains or credit cards, companies that offer loyalty programmes know all too well the value of a customer who comes back.

Typically, little freebies for a faithful customer - free car parking, gift vouchers, value redemption of points earned - go a long way in engaging customers and encouraging them to spend more often on your products and services.

Retail analysts estimate that in some companies close to 40 per cent of sales comes from loyalty program members.

Taking on from such insights, companies are looking at newer initiatives to generate effective loyalty programs. Market analysts point out that loyalty programs are not about winning goodies or bribing customers into using your products. The program has to be built in a way that it creates an affinity and closeness with the customer.

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