Customer Loyalty Ecosystems

December 2023

Customer loyalty ecosystems are quickly becoming a popular format for loyalty programmes. Ecosystems either connect the loyalty programmes of brands within one company or the loyalty programmes of separate companies. Ecosystems offer multiple benefits, including increased customer engagement and data on customers’ shopping habits. To join an ecosystem, companies should consider which ecosystem model best complements their business model and existing loyalty scheme.

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Key Findings

Ecosystem partnerships benefit companies and consumers

Ecosystems are a fast-growing loyalty model. Their quick growth comes from the benefits they offer to both companies and the consumers they serve. For companies, ecosystems offer increased customer data and engagement with loyalty programmes. For consumers, ecosystems provide an answer as to how to maximise benefits from participating in loyalty programmes.

Ecosystems are a framework, not a formula

As with any type of loyalty programme, there are numerous ways companies can structure loyalty ecosystems. Ecosystems are ultimately about cooperation between loyalty programmes. That cooperation can start between brands of the same company, or it can grow from cross-company partnerships. Companies should consider their size, goals, and vision alignment with potential partners before joining a loyalty ecosystem.

Payments at the centre of ecosystems

Payments have become a critical component of loyalty strategies, and this is especially true in loyalty ecosystems. With multiple brands or companies participating in an ecosystem, payments are often a common thread that connects the different members. When consumers use the same payment type across multiple merchants, they will be likelier to understand the relationship between those merchants in the ecosystem.

Ecosystem creation offers risks and rewards

Companies must handle transitions from stand-alone loyalty programmes to loyalty ecosystems carefully. If they do not sufficiently explain the benefits of the ecosystem to their customers or devalue previous benefits customers received in the stand-alone programme, they risk losing the loyalty they already established with their customers. Companies that manage this transition successfully, however, stand to benefit from much stronger connections with their customers.

Key findings
Loyalty programme models
Industry and consumer factors drive ecosystems’ growth
Ecosystems’ exponential partnership potentials
Ecosystem visualisation: Amazon Prime
Ecosystems SWOT analysis
Ecosystems challenge stand-alone programmes
Ecosystems incentivise loyalty participation
Ulta’s Target partnership introduces the company to new customers
Ecosystems address the lifestyle shopping era
LEGO uses ecosystem to build community
Ecosystems generate data for personalisation
Ecosystems drive seamless customer journeys
Marriott launches Rappi partnership to support personalisation
Euromonitor International’s Loyalty Consumer Segments
Ecosystems appeal to the most engaged consumer loyalty segments
Loyalty Enthusiasts are a high-value opportunity
Younger generations seek simplicity from loyalty programmes
Ecosystem development models
Ecosystem development steps
Ecosystem development overview: Shinsegae Universe Club
Delta angers customers with ecosystem devaluation
Expedia consolidates brands’ loyalty programmes into One Key
Consumers consolidate loyalty strategy via payments
Matching ecosystems with payment methods
Apple enters fintech to support its product ecosystem
Majid Al Futtaim uses lifestyle ecosystem to personalise experiences
Payments play a critical role in loyalty ecosystems
Decentralisation is the next step for loyalty ecosystems
Key findings

Consumer Finance

This is the aggregation of ATM, charge, credit, debit, e-purse and retail cards. Note that smart cards are not included in financial cards.

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