Five agencies to fight it out for Waitrose CRM business

waitroseWaitrose has lined up five agencies – MSQ, MRM McCann, Rapp, TMW Unlimited and M&C Saatchi (formerly Lida) – to pitch for its CRM account as the retailer gears up for life after Ocado.

Rapp first started working with the retailer back in 2018, when it was appointed to a “secret squirrel” CRM project, which it is understood saw the agency develop the MyWaitrose loyalty programme.

The MyWaitrose scheme was originally set up in 2009 by the now defunct Kitcatt Nohr, but did not have a full roll-out until 2013, when the equally defunct AIS London handled the business.

A number of other companies also work on the loyalty account, including retail marketing specialist Ecrebo, which signed a five-year agreement in May 2017, and GI Insight.

The latest pitch is being handled by Ingenuity.

The move comes as Waitrose revamps its operations in the run-up to the Ocado switch-over to Marks & Spencer. In August last year, M&S paid an upfront fee of £562.5m for a 50% stake in the online shopping platform, with a further £187.5m conditional on performance over five years.

Waitrose has launched a major marketing campaign, devised by Adam & Eve/DDB, to “bring home Ocado shoppers to Waitrose.com”, featuring press, PR, CRM and social media.

The retailer, which will now handle all online grocery orders from its main website, has developed 5,000 new or reformulated products to boost its own brand range. It insists that until now own brands have represented a quarter of Ocado’s online sales.

Waitrose customer director Martin George recently said: “Waitrose own label products have historically made up a quarter of Ocado’s grocery sales, so we know a lot of people who use the service love our products, are loyal to our brand and are keen to avoid any disruption.

“With that in mind, we have focused on retaining and reformulating our customers’ favourite products as well as developing thousands of new ones – all of which are sure to entice them to Waitrose.com.”

According to the latest data from Nielsen, online grocery sales rose by 117% in the four weeks to August 8, achieving a record market share of 14%. UK shoppers spent £678m more on FMCG products during the month, with online sales accounting for 97% of this growth, equating to £658m.

Waitrose has yet to comment on the CRM agency review.

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