Sainsbury’s turns to Nectar to forge data-driven future

nectar 2Sainsbury’s is planning to beef up its data-driven strategy by tapping into the Nectar loyalty scheme – which it bought for a knockdown £60m last year – as it attempts to move on from the failed merger with Asda, blocked by the Competition & Markets Authority.

According to reports over the weekend, chief executive David Coupe will outline the supermarket giant’s plans to investors this week, detailing how Nectar data will be put at the heart of the business.

The move comes as Sainsbury’s begins to roll out a new digital format – first reported by Decision Marketing in May – following trials on the Isle of Wight and in Wales.

The new-look scheme – which has yet to be officially announced – is based on the Nectar app, which has seen an 8% year-on-year increase in sign-ups to 1.2 million, although it has a way to go, in total the scheme has 18.5 million members.

Customers are sent a range of points-boosting offers via email based on their shopping habits, which can be “saved” on the website or app and then used within a week.

To get the bonus points, customers then just scan their Nectar card at the till. At the moment shoppers can do this using a physical card, but Nectar is installing new scanners at checkouts to allow customers to simply scan a barcode generated by the new Nectar app instead.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman declined to give full details of the scheme at this stage, but added: “We’re fully committed to getting the scheme right for our customers, who we have listened to throughout the trial to make sure any changes we roll out nationally in the future reward our customers in the best possible way.”

The supermarket giant already claims to have a “unique depth of customer data” based on 33 million customer records at its disposal.

Speaking about the app back in May, chief executive Coupe said: “Nectar goes from being a piece of plastic to being something on your phone that’s delivering value to you in realtime.

“We now have an increasingly valuable set of digital assets which give access to our customers and that’s something that could be valuable to other businesses. So there’s no reason over time we wouldn’t consider different business relationships in the digital estate as with physical. We expect digital will have bigger opportunities in future.”

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