Consumers today often belong to a host of retailer ‘loyalty programs,’ earning redeemable points when they spend. In many cases, there is no extra reward for building up a high balance of points in your account. So why do so many people stockpile their points?
This is the question explored by Wharton doctoral student Valeria Stourm and marketing professors Eric T. Bradlow and Peter S. Fader in their paper, “Stockpiling Points in Linear Loyalty Programs,” recently published in the Journal of Marketing Research. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Fader talks about what the trio learned, what it means for the businesses that use loyalty programs and how this peculiar hoarding behavior reflects a phenomenon at the heart of consumer psychology.