Kenyan Customers cry foul over dead Nakumatt loyalty points

12 January, 2018

Every business needs loyal customers, keeping customers is hard but acquiring new customers is more expensive. Kenyans are a fickle lot as a marketer you need to keep thinking how to keep them loyal.

Kenyans love for freebies

This, however, is not insurmountable when you understand Kenyans love for freebies. So once in a while brands will enlist a marketing agency to think outside the box and unearth truly creative campaigns to get more customers.

Once you come through the door, we have to keep you coming back. So we tell you how much we value your loyalty to us and would love to reward you every time you shop with us. We give you a Loyalty Card, and every time you shop you earn some points based on the value of your shopping. Then we create seasonal campaigns to remind you, you can redeem those points for a hefty discount on your shopping or buy something for free.

Psychologically we know that this will lead to you choosing us more because you want to make your points grow. This was the case with millions of loyal Kenyan Nakumatt customers. Every month we queued and shopped. What was once a calf grew into a big elephant, in every corner of the country. Then one day it fell sick, now we have millions of Kenyans with Nakumatt Loyalty Cards full of points they can’t use.

What happens to my Nakumatt points, can I redeem them?

Have your Customers at heart

As a marketer, this was not something that I thought of seriously until recently when I was having a chat with some friends about Nakumatt’s woes. One lady friend asked, “So what happens to my Nakumatt points, can I redeem them?” I had to urge them to forget about those unless like Uchumi, Nakumatt makes a rebound.

As a marketer, this made me realize that in this day when we live in a digital world brands need to stop being selfish. In an industry where data and analytics is a key trend, it’s very easy to research other brands that you share customers with and have a partnership where points earned from either side can be redeemed on either side. One example is the KCB Simba Points program. As a KCB customer, I love it when I can redeem my points as I shop on Jumia or at Bata, or while I fuel at a Shell petrol station. Or the partnership between Safaricom & Kenya Airways where KQ customers can pay for flights using their Bonga points

In contrast, I have a friend who will not shop at Carrefour again because they do not have a loyalty program. Also most people now despite being hooked on this loyalty programs, are fatigued at having to carry too many cards around for each business they interact with.

Therefore while at it, brands need to identify technology partnerships that enable them to have a universal card shared across different companies or eliminate cards and instead have, say, a mobile application where a customer’s points are loaded from different businesses.