Reports of the death of the customer loyalty scheme – for petrol retailers, at least – appear to have been premature. When Esso decided to abandon its Tiger Tokens in favour of its price-cutting strategy Pricewatch, some observers suggested all petrol retailers would abandon collection schemes and loyalty programmes. In fact, the reverse appears to be the case.
Esso says research conducted on forecourts in the North-east and Scotland reveal that its customers are more interested in low-price fuel and in collecting coupons for free gifts. Now, each of its 2,100 outlets is to monitor and match the prices at other local garages and supermarkets.
While Shell and BP vowed to do whatever was necessary to match Esso’s price-cutting policy, they remain committed to their loyalty programmes. Some loyalty experts have suggested that Tiger Tokens may have been knocked out by the enormous success of the Shell Smart scheme. Another factor in Esso’s decision, according to insiders, was due to large supermarket chains adding petrol to their offering. Significantly, Tesco has now extended its Clubcard loyalty scheme to cover all 248 of its stores that have petrol forecourts.