Outlets that compete to expand them. Its officials considered it an additional value and allows to know consumption patterns

Consumers propose unifying "loyalty cards"

  • Union Coop: Loyalty program systems give customers additional value. Cinematographer: Ahmed Arditi

  • Suhail Al Bastaki: "Loyalty cards allow outlets to know consumption patterns, which supports the continuous development of their business systems."


Many of the loyalty card programs that retail businesses compete to offer require large purchases in exchange for revenues they consider low, consumers said.

They suggested unifying the systems of these programs, and developing mechanisms for them without the need to carry cards physically, or upload them through smart applications, which causes them confusion.

For their part, officials in the retail sector said that loyalty cards provide consumers with multiple benefits and added value, pointing to the difficulty of standardizing the systems of these programs, due to the different marketing policies of each outlet.

Consumer Reviews

In detail, consumer Ahmed Abdul Ghani said that a large number of outlets, especially medium outlets operating in the retail sector, are expanding the offer of loyalty cards that appear to be "optional", but they force consumers to subscribe to them, due to the limitation of the largest percentages of offers and discounts to their holders.

Abdul Ghani pointed out that the increase in the number of loyalty cards, and the different systems of them, have become a cause of great confusion among consumers, so it is important to work on unifying their systems.

For his part, consumer Hassan Hammad said that retail outlets are incentivizing to subscribe to their loyalty cards, at a time when consumers receive very weak returns, in exchange for the money they spend.

He explained that some outlets give consumers only 12 dirhams through a loyalty card, in exchange for spending 5000,<> dirhams on purchases.

In the same context, consumer Youssef Ibrahim confirmed that he holds many loyalty cards and is keen to buy from the outlets that belong to it to collect the largest number of points, and take advantage of their offers.

"However, I have received very little revenue, and after a long period of spending," he said, stressing that he finds himself forced to subscribe to these cards, since a number of outlets offer large discounts for loyalty card holders only, which makes many consumers obligated to subscribe to them, even if their systems do not suit them.

In addition, the consumer Yahya Reda considered that «loyalty cards cause great confusion, due to the different systems of work, and carry them when shopping, or even if downloaded to phones through smart applications», suggesting the unification of the systems of these programs between sales outlets, with the development of mechanisms of work for them without the need to carry them financially, or download them through phone applications, by providing phone numbers only, and some outlets work.

Consumer Mohamed Samir pointed out that "most loyalty cards impose an indirect obligation on consumers, and offer them weak returns in exchange for spending large sums," pointing to a sales outlet that gives one dirham for spending 400 dirhams on purchases.

Additional Value

Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki, Director of Marketing and Happiness at Union Coop, said: "Loyalty programs give customers additional value when dealing with them, whether when benefiting from the offers granted to their holders, or even when collecting a return on the points collected."

He added: «It is important for consumers when dealing with cards, to know how to use them and understand their systems clearly, to benefit from the feasibility of these cards», pointing out that loyalty card systems allow outlets to know consumption patterns, to support the development of their systems on an ongoing basis.

He pointed out that Union Coop grants through its systems an amount of AED 50 when collecting 3000,50 points to shareholders from cardholders, and gives non-shareholders AED 4000 when collecting every <>,<> points of purchase.

Multiple benefits

In turn, the Director of Marketing and Community Relations at Sharjah Coop, Faisal Khalid Al Naboodah, said that «loyalty cards provide multiple benefits when knowing the mechanism of their use», indicating that «Tawuniya» did not limit its loyalty cards to collecting points and revenues from purchases only, but also developed them to include granting holders of these cards the benefits of discounts on some services in different destinations in the emirate.

He added that «the number of subscribers to the loyalty systems in the cooperative recorded a remarkable increase recently, as it exceeded 200,160 members, compared to <>,<> members during the last year, with estimates of recording significant growth before the end of this year».

Marketing Policies

In the same context, the sales manager of one of the retail chains, Mohamed Bashir, said that «loyalty cards adopt different systems for their work, although they vary according to the marketing policies of each outlet, and therefore it is difficult to standardize their work systems».

He added that many outlets help shoppers by awarding more points when purchasing certain items within the offers, which compensates for the long waiting times to collect revenues when relying on a regular purchase only.

Attracting consumers

Ibrahim Al-Bahar, a retail expert and director of Al-Bahar Consulting Company, said that "loyalty programs rely in their work mainly on systems to attract consumers, to commit to buying from outlets to collect points, which pushes a number of consumers to continue buying from certain outlets, in the hope of obtaining a return from the points granted on purchases, even if those outlets offer high prices on their products, compared to their counterparts from other outlets."

"If some consumers relied on buying from outlets that offer discounted prices, they would get more revenue than they expect during long periods of purchase, relying solely on loyalty programs."