The Co-operative Group is putting the finishing touches to its loyalty scheme revamp as part of plans to give £100m a year back to members and communities and distance itself from its recent scandals.
The new loyalty scheme, which is now being pushed to shoppers, rewards members and their communities for trading with the Co-op, and was first announced at its AGM in May.
It is the company’s response to the dire conseqences of finding a £1.5bn black hole in its finances and the controversy over ex-chairman Paul Flowers’ private life.
Described by the company as a “re-engagement programme”, the move has already seen the return of Co-op’s iconic blue clover-leaf logo, which will be rolled-out across its entire business over the next few years.
As part of the “five in one” loyalty revamp, members will receive a 5% reward for any purchases they make of Co-op own brand products and services, with a further 1% directly benefiting local causes.
The benefits will be available to all members from next month and by 2018 will amount to more than £100m a year going directly to members and their communities, the Co-op said.
The Co-op has identified 1,500 communities around its Food stores and Funeralcare homes, where local causes and projects will be given the opportunity to benefit from the new 1% community reward. Initially members will choose the local cause they want to support from a list of three selected by colleagues in their local community, but later they will be able to propose local causes they think should benefit.
The Co-op has also set a number of ambitious targets to support its vision of creating what it calls “a Co-op economy” across the UK, benefitting members, communities and local suppliers alike.
Over the next five years the Co-op plans to recruit one million new members, to have 50% of sales across its businesses coming from Co-op members (currently 25% in our food business) and to return an additional £3m in benefits to Fairtrade producer communities.
Co-op chief executive Richard Pennycook said: “This is what the Co-op is all about. Big business is often accused of taking money out of communities – we are putting it back in as we champion a better way of doing business for our members and their communities.
“Our intention is to return to paying a dividend again, but we also want to make the rewards for members who trade with the Co-op more meaningful and community focused. We’re already seeing good momentum across our businesses and this will drive further growth which our members and their communities will benefit from. It clearly demonstrates the Co-op difference being delivered every day.”
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