Tesco to try out Clubcard in the US
Bid to reduce losses at American operation
Tesco is to pilot a version of its Clubcard UK loyalty scheme in the US.
The US offering – an extension onto cards of the existing “Friends of Fresh & Easy” email-based marketing scheme – will be tested at seven California stores of Tesco’s Fresh & Easy chain in the autumn in a bid to curb losses at the US operation.
It will offer one point for each US$1 spent in store and cardholders would be able to trade in their points for cashback rewards. Cardholders will be sent personalised emails every fortnight with updates on points earned and targeted bonus point coupons.
Tesco – the world’s third biggest supermarket chain – third said the scheme could be rolled out across all 175 Fresh & Easy neighbourhood stores in the US by February 2012 if the trial is successful.
The move is being seen by some market observers as an about turn in Tesco’s strategy for the stores, which has so far focussed on providing the lowest prices.
The west coast-based US operation, which Tesco started in 2007, made a loss of US$299m for the 12 months to February.
Friends of Fresh & Easy, which was launched three years ago and has 360,000 members, is an email marketing programme. It gives customers news and information about the company and its products in addition to special coupons and offers.
The Fresh & Easy stores are located in Arizona, Nevada and California.
“We wanted to create a program that was designed to thank our customers for being our friends,” commented Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “The programme will be digital so points can be online and communication to customers can be sent via email. This model for Clubcard will work well for our US customers and is a great fit for our Fresh & Easy business.”
New Tesco CEO Phil Clarke says his aim is to cut costs at the US stores so that they could break even by the end of the 2012-3 financial year.
The Clubcard scheme has over 30 million cardholders in 12 countries.