Comparing The Best Loyalty Schemes (Guest Post)

Supermarket and store loyalty schemes
have been part of the UK shopping culture for 30 years. All major UK
supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury have a scheme and there
are a number of chain retail stores such as Boots, Starbucks and
Superdrug who have also started customer loyalty saving schemes.

All the loyalty schemes have different
reward systems, but all are based on collecting points when making
purchases in the particular store. The points can then be redeemed in
different ways; some can be used for products or services which are
not offered by the store they have been collected in and are redeemed
through partnership schemes and some can only be used as money off
future purchases. There have been changes over the years as retailers
look to lure the consumer towards their stores to encourage them to
stay loyal with bigger and better offers. There may be rewards which
require some extra finance on top of points collected, so talking to
your bank or a payday loan company
such as Wonga
may be the solution. It’s important to know
though that this would only be for an emergency situation for a
reward which was just about to expire.

The supermarkets are fiercely
competitive for customer loyalty and the largest schemes are those
with Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Tesco Clubcard has over 15 million
members and operates in countries including the UK, Ireland and
Polan. The Clubcard was launched in 1996 with the general earning
power being 1 point per pound spent. This can be increased with the
use of their Green Clubcard points where re-using carrier bags earns
extra. The points can be spent in-store as money off vouchers or
against partner offers such as RAC membership or meals at Café

Sainsbury’s use the Nectar Points
scheme where they can also be collected at Homebase, Ford, Vision
Express, BP and British Gas. Generally speaking, two points per pound
are collected other than petrol which is one per litre. There are
opportunities to increase points by signing up to a number of deals
and they can be spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos, online with Expedia or
a number of other retailers.

The largest non-supermarket scheme is
the Boots Advantage Card. Points are collected at a rate of four per
pound spent, but can only be redeemed at Boots stores on through
their online website. Unlike the supermarket points, there is no
limit to how long they can be kept before they have to be used, but
the disadvantage to the scheme is that you have to have enough points
to cover a whole purchase, rather than being able to use them as a
part payment.

There are always discussions about
whether loyalty card schemes are worth it
– many feel that
reducing the prices generally would be of much more help () but there
are huge online communities who look to share news and offers with
each other to boost their points each month in order to spend on
extra gifts and treats.

With 86% of adults in the UK carrying
at least one loyalty scheme card and 29% carrying five or more,
consumers are determined to collect the points from their favourite
shops. There have been reports in past years of special offers
leading to one shopper gathering enough points to buy return flights
to New Zealand, but these extreme examples are few and far between.
For the majority of people, it’s about the sensation of thinking
they are treating themselves to something a little special and for
the loyalty scheme operators, it’s about ensuring that they
continue to make offerings to keep the customer spending with them.

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