Sometimes it seems as if life just keeps on getting faster. And faster. And faster. In fact, where time was once measured in years, months, and days, today time is now measured in minutes, seconds, and even milliseconds.

To us, what happens between the confines of a measurable second is more or less instantaneous. Whether it be a simple Google search or service in a restaurant, we have come to expect instantaneous, or at least very, very fast results.

It is, after all, against this backdrop of the instantaneous that our expectations are informed. Our expectation of loyalty programs is no different.

Now or Never

If there’s one thing consumers hate more than anything, it’s having to wait. 50 percent of mobile users will abandon an ecommerce site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. 3 in 5 won’t return to it.

In the brick and mortar world, half of all consumers would not return to an establishment that kept them waiting. Amazon could purportedly lose as much as 1.6 billion dollars in a year if its webpages were delayed a second.

Yet for some reason, the vast majority of loyalty programs out there continue to insist that consumers carry around a keyfob, wallet-busting loyalty cards, or other unwanted loyalty paraphernalia. If the difference of a single second can make or break purchases online, chances are the inconvenience of having to lug around a whole host of loyalty accessories will render the offending reward programs mostly ineffectual.

What is the main issue with these conventional schemes? They inconvenience consumers and needlessly waste their time. Want to get a free sandwich? You’re going to have to dig through your wallet or purse for the punchcard. Want to get members-only pricing on select products? You’re going to have to fill out this long and tedious application form.

Cut. To. The. Chase.

When it comes down to it, if a consumer can’t have what they want when they want, most consumers would rather just not have it. Implementing an instantaneous, seamless rewards system is a critical first step towards cultivating long-term buyers in an era of short-term consumer allegiances.