“The development of loyalty consortia may be an idea before its time” writes Sean Brierley (MW January 31).
But Shell’s card isn’t the first casualty. AT&T’s similar concept attempted to break new ground by match-making petrol and grocery retailers. They never managed to make it up the altar and eventually AT&T gave up disillusioned.
As the people who build, run and analyse a number of large loyalty schemes including the Do-it-All bonus card, we accept the advantages of offering cardholders a broader range of benefits from a few large alliances.
But in order to achieve sales objectives one must be able to influence the database. If one of the partners is prevented from doing this, and the shared database is the only source of information then an inevitable “tug of love” ensues and it all ends in tears.
Maybe Sainsbury’s saw this as a problem?
But this doesn’t, as Sean wonders, mark the death of the loyalty scheme. Loyalty can still be a powerful influence on profits, so maybe the answer lies in “partner retailers” forcing themselves to identify at the outset just what their loyalty scheme is intended to do.
And if your loyalty scheme isn’t working, don’t blame the concept, fix it.
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