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Customer loyalty and customer loyalty programs

Mark D. Uncles (Professor of Marketing, School of Marketing, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Grahame R. Dowling (Professor of Marketing, Australian Graduate School of Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Kathy Hammond (Assistant Professor of Marketing, London Business School, London, UK)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 July 2003



Customer loyalty presents a paradox. Many see it as primarily an attitude‐based phenomenon that can be influenced significantly by customer relationship management initiatives such as the increasingly popular loyalty and affinity programs. However, empirical research shows that loyalty in competitive repeat‐purchase markets is shaped more by the passive acceptance of brands than by strongly‐held attitudes about them. From this perspective, the demand‐enhancing potential of loyalty programs is more limited than might be hoped. Reviews three different perspectives on loyalty, and relates these to a framework for understanding customer loyalty that encompasses customer brand commitment, customer brand acceptance and customer brand buying. Uses this framework to analyze the demand‐side potential of loyalty programs. Discusses where these programs might work and where they are unlikely to succeed on any large scale. Provides a checklist for marketers.



Uncles, M.D., Dowling, G.R. and Hammond, K. (2003), "Customer loyalty and customer loyalty programs", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 294-316.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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