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The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the growth of loyalty marketing cards, which, it says, is allowing retailers to change “their merchandise, store layout and advertising accordingly to keep their most loyal customers spending.”

While the Sun-Times piece makes the case that the cards allow stores to better serve their best shoppers and give them better prices on the products they most want, it also tells consumers how to avoid having their personal and shopping information tracked: by withholding information, even to the point of offering fabricated information when filling out applications, or by using cash.
KC's View:
Look, we think people certainly have the right not to use loyalty marketing cards if they don’t want their data captured, or to shop in stores that don’t use the cards in their marketing strategies. Just as stores have the right to use the cards as a tool if they so desire…as long as they don’t sell the data.

The anti-card activists quoted in the ,i>Sun-Times piece love to accuse retailers of selling the data, but aren’t specific about the retailers doing the selling, or the companies doing the buying.

The bigger accusation against retailers always seems to be that they don’t use the data as much as they can or should, not that they abuse the customers’ rights of privacy.

Finally, we just wish everybody would stop referring to these things as loyalty marketing programs. They aren’t. They’re technology-driven discount programs.

And have almost nothing to do with loyalty.