UK supermarket rolls out customer rewards??
UK supermarket chain Waitrose is launching its first customer rewards scheme, to be called Food Club. The retailer’s MD Mark Price declined to give specific details of the scheme but said it is designed to build greater affinity with its key customers.
Previously Price wrote a customer blog, but he is now thought to have scrapped this in favour of using the Food Club scheme as his chief way of communicating with customers.The scheme will focus on all aspects of enjoying food, including the sociable element of eating and ethical issues, as well as cooking and ingredients.
Rival Sainsbury’s (nectar) and Tesco (Clubcard) longstanding loyalty programmes. This is the first time Waitrose has tried to compete with its own scheme, although Price referes to it ast a ‘brand affinity driver, rather than a loyalty scheme. The rival loyalty programmes both have access to valuable customer data and Tesco has successfully used this recently to target its price cutting and help maintian sales in the economic slowdown.
Waitrose has so far ridden the economic conditons well and posted a 4.1% in sales over the Christmas and New Year period. The upamarket retailer, part of employee-owned retailer John Lewis, is currently mounting an expansion drive and plans to add around 4,000 jobs by acquiring 13 stores from the Co-Operative Group and opening at least nine more this year.
The expansion will bring its total of UK stores to 220. It is hoping to overtake Marks and Spencer in food and drink sales in 2009 and to take market share from Tesco and Sainsburys in sales of ingredients and foods to families.