Waitrose revamps loyalty again as group scheme looms

mywaitrose 2Waitrose is overhauling its MyWaitrose loyalty scheme yet again in a move designed to simplify the programme and make it easier to redeem vouchers as a precursor to a group-wide loyalty revamp by parent the John Lewis Partnership.

Last month, an analysis carried out by consultancy Bionic put John Lewis and Waitrose at number one and number two in terms of UK shopper loyalty. However, the MyWaitrose scheme has faced criticism ever since it relaunched as a digital-only programme in February last year.

At the heart of the upgrade was the plan to offer shoppers greater savings and more personalised offers through weekly emails to remind them to select their offers for the week.

However, Waitrose miscalculated the strength of feeling from its slightly more elderly customers, who flocked to its customer service helplines after being told in store that their physical card was not enough to redeem MyWaitrose rewards.

The complainants have also claimed the programme was “confusing” and “discriminating” towards those without access to a smartphone app.

Waitrose made a series of updates in response to the complaints. At the time, a spokesman said: “We know this is a big change for our customers. Digital first does not mean digital only and, now that we have a better idea of which customers are engaging using smartphones, we’ll be identifying customers’ preferred ways to receive their offers, including print at home, vouchers in the post and coupons printed at till.”

Now Waitrose has written to all customers notifying them of the latest changes, which will come into force this week.

The most significant move will see the timescale of transaction history used to determine a customer’s personalised offers extended, from four weeks to 52 weeks. Waitrose said the change will enable the supermarket to give “more options” to customers who shop less frequently, and “means they’ll now receive more relevant vouchers, based on their previous shopping habits”.

Waitrose will also enable customers to deselect vouchers if a product is out of stock, or if they change their mind. Currently a customer has to select two of the tailored vouchers available each week, and cannot deselect them once the vouchers are in the voucher wallet.

Other changes involve simplifying the terminology for which items are not included in an offer. Items including seasonal and loose produce will now be listed as “excluded” rather than “ineligible”; it will also now highlight the dates of the “offer window” on the front of each voucher.

A Waitrose spokesperson said: “This latest update simplifies our terms and conditions, and reflects improvements like giving customers the ability to reselect their personalised vouchers if they change their mind, or an item is out of stock.”

The changes come as the John Lewis Partnership prepares for a wider relaunch of the loyalty programmes across both Waitrose and John Lewis, including a roll out of a combined loyalty scheme first trialled back in 2018.

Earlier this year, the Partnership appointed Tesco’s head of loyalty strategy, Emily Wells, as its first group head of loyalty, working across John Lewis, John Lewis Finance and Waitrose.

Wells has been briefed to develop and launch a group loyalty proposition in 2024 as well as the MyWaitrose and My John Lewis loyalty programmes and teams.

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