Just weeks after buying the Nectar loyalty scheme, Sainsbury’s is already plotting a major overhaul of the programme by trialling a new system which will see loyal and frequent customers rewarded with the greatest number of points.
Under the trial, being run on the Isle of Wight, shoppers will no longer receive one point for every £1 spent in store: instead, they will be rewarded for how frequently and how long they have been shopping with the retailer.
The supermarket giant bought the Nectar business from Aimia in February for £60m. It claims that there are 19 million people signed up to the scheme, which launched in 2002.
Sainsbury’s says the move will reward customers for their loyalty while “ensuring a truly personalised experience” and allows it to recognise a customer’s relationship across the Sainsbury’s Group.
The revamped Nectar will be digitally-led, with an app allowing customers to register their card and then scan their smartphone at the checkout, as well offering a newly designed card for those who do not want the app.
The app allows customers to choose their own offers from a curated list based on the products they buy most often. It also offers a ‘favourites’ list, where customers can ‘star’ five items they buy frequently in the store to get better points offers.
Customers currently get double Nectar points on their shopping if they have an insurance product with Sainsbury’s Bank. The new system will continue to offer double Nectar points. But this could change depending on the loyalty of the customer.
Helen Hunter, director of innovation at Sainsbury’s, said: “We are excited to be trialling this new Nectar scheme which gives more rewards to our loyal customers.
“By giving them the option to choose the products on which they earn Nectar and awarding points based on loyalty, we’ll be able to show our most valuable customers how important they are to us.
“We’ll be actively listening to customers during the trial so that we can shape new Nectar as we learn.”
Loyalty Pro managing director Rob Meakin said: “Consumers now expect a certain level of personalisation with deals they make – this is what we’re calling the ‘membership economy’, where everyone is now expecting the VIP treatment with tailored rewards that reflect the consumer’s own buying patterns.
“As more and more consider loyalty as a sort of currency, the battle between the UK’s top supermarkets will only intensify. It will surely be a matter of time before other UK chains respond with their own schemes.”
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