2023 Trends in Relationship Marketing

Par 23 February 2023 April 9th, 2024 Aucuns Commentaires
Jeune adulte utilisant un programme de marketing relationnel sur son appareil mobile

The year 2023 promises to be a turbulent one. After a pandemic, it’s now galloping inflation that has consumers worried. Later this year, the new phase of Quebec’s Law 25 will impose more transparent and secure use of data on companies.

Let’s see how this context affects relationship marketing trends for 2023.


Program redesign and enhancement

Closer customer relations

Our latest LoyalT study¹ shows that Canadians are enrolled in 13.5 loyalty programs, but use only 7.1 of them. If these programs are not fully utilized, it’s because they haven’t yet developed a strong relationship with their members.

In 2023, our experts are expecting many program redesigns and improvements. In addition to being up to date, programs must strive to create greater engagement with their members by developing the affective side of the relationship. Offering only discounts or points linked to total purchases is no longer a sufficient strategy.

To achieve this, there are a number of best practices.

  1. Customer-centric approach (not focused on company performance)
  2. Exclusives
  3. Useful features that make life easier or save time
  4. Unique content and experiences
  5. Personalized offers and content
  6. Surprise & delight
Further reading: 4 reasons why you should incorporate surprises & pleasures into your loyalty program

Anti-inflation initiatives

The period of inflation has given rise to a trend in relationship marketing towards anti-inflation initiatives.

A good loyalty program responds to the needs and concerns of its members. We therefore expect many programs to adjust by offering initiatives that save members money. In addition to listening to members, this makes the programs seem generous, a quality that pays off in loyalty.

My Morrisons, un programme de fidélisation ayant bien mis en place des initiatives anti-inflation

Crédit: Morrisons website

A good example in this context is Morrisons Supermarkets (England and Scotland)². To help members save even more, several offers have been added to their loyalty program.

  • More points offers on frequently purchased products
  • More point offers on meat and dairy products
  • Surprise offers to save during specific periods (e.g. Mother’s Day)
  • The chance to earn bonus points on every transaction with the physical card or mobile application

Customer data management

Of all the 2023 trends in relationship marketing, that of data management is irreversible. Faced with the imminent end of third-party cookies and the new phase of Quebec’s Law 25, Canadian companies have no choice but to adjust.

As a first step, brands and companies need to review their data strategy. They need to prioritize their own customer data – zero and first-party data. Apart from developing a loyalty program, surveys, competitions and gamification activities are good tactics to start cultivating data.

This data collection must be carried out with clear and transparent consent, as required by Law 25. In force from September 2023, the new phase of the law ensures informed consent and the cybersecurity of customer data. The use of a consent manager (CMP) will therefore become essential.

Investment in proprietary data is one of the keys to success in improving the performance of relationship marketing strategies. More than ever, we see analytics becoming the main lever for relationship program performance.

Premium and subscription programs

Increasingly popular, subscription services and Premium programs are based on the same principle: offering complementary or exclusive benefits and/or rewards in exchange for a monthly or annual fee.

In concrete terms, by paying a fee, members can gain access to free and/or faster delivery, a discount, more bonus points, a welcome gift, exclusive offers, and more.

Subscription programs
Premium programs
Amazon Prime
PC Optimum Insiders (Loblaws)
Harley Owners Group (HOG)
Triangle Select (Canadian Tire)
Walmart +
Plum + (Indigo, Chapters)

The impact of this strategy is highly significant. Whether in food, fashion, petrol stations, pharmacies or restaurants, brands that adopt a Premium program benefit from numerous advantages.

  1. Recurring revenue
  2. High profitability due to increase in members’ share of wallet, purchase concentration and frequency of visits
  3. Increased brand engagement
  4. Higher perception of generosity (even if it’s the members who pay)
Walmart +, un programme de fidélisation de type abonnement

Crédit: Walmart website

At Walmart, 60% of Walmart+ members make a purchase every month³. This percentage drops drastically to 16% among non-members. At Amazon Prime, the figures are 61% versus 10%.

This trend has been present in the United States for several years. Almost three out of four customers (72%) are members of at least one Premium⁴ program. By 2023, the R3 team expects this trend to be more widely adopted in Canada.


Need advice on how to adapt your relationship marketing strategy to the trends of 2023? Our team can help.


¹ Web survey conducted by Léger from September 13 to October 14, 2021 among 10,000 Canadian respondents, including 4,000 Quebecers aged 18 and over, selected from the LÉO panel.
² The Oldham Times, Morrisons announces major change to loyalty scheme to help shoppers save money, 9 juillet 2022
³ PYMNTS, Kroger Joins the Members-Only Deal Club, 13 juillet 2022
⁴ Clarus Commerce, 2022 Premium Loyalty Data Study: How To Keep Your Customers Engaged When Loyalty Standards Are High
Hans Laroche

Hans Laroche

With over 35 years of experience in relationship marketing, loyalty program management, and development, Hans Laroche contributes to the relationship strategies of numerous companies, including Nespresso, The Royal Canadian Mint, Fido, belairdirect, Cirque du Soleil, Énergir, McKesson, and Desjardins. He has also been sharing his passion with master's students at ESG UQAM and the University of Sherbrooke for 30 years.