Loyalty systems are very typical when shopping in Japan as they reward customers for purchasing products. Many companies in Japan have developed loyalty programs to increase customer retention and create an incentive for consumers to shop and purchase their products.
Loyalty systems and programs in Japan are very similar to what credit card companies do in the US. Here in the US, if you have a credit card that gives out rewards and cash-back based on purchases, customers tend to use the card more as they receive points and cash-back towards future purchases. In Japan, many e-commerce sites and stores have their own loyalty systems that they have created to give customers cash-back not only toward their site, but toward other e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores and sites as well.
Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s largest marketplace, has a very strong loyalty ecosystem called Rakuten Super Points that allows customers to receive a minimum of 1% back on all purchases. Many times, Rakuten will run promotions on 3%, 5%, or even sometimes 10% back on purchases made through their site. These points are not only redeemable on their site but can be used in convenience stores, travel sites, and banks. Becoming a member of Rakuten’s global network allows members to utilize all parts of the Rakuten Group’s services to earn points through their services. For example, Rakuten has a credit card called Rakuten Edy, where customers are able to earn points through purchases on the card. These points in turn can be redeemed through other Rakuten network services such as Rakuten Travel or Rakuten Ichiba.
Convenience stores in Japan are very different than ones located here in the US, as their names ring true in being convenient. Many convenience stores, generally called “konbini” (コンビニ) in Japan, offer their own loyalty systems for customers through their point cards which are completely free to use.
Lawson, one of Japan’s largest chain convenience stores, offers their own point card called the Ponta Card.
Customers who purchase items at Lawson can collect points to be used towards banks, brokerages, insurance firms, hotels, gas stations, rental shops, and their other partner stores. Lawson also allows points to be shared among family members and friends, making it even more beneficial for everyone to use their point card at their stores.