Supermarkets shift focus from price cuts to loyalty

After the recent surge of momentum into loyalty programmes, with Tesco’s Double Points launched in August, and Sainsbury’s revelation last week that it would give all its customers targeted coupons at the checkout, Asda has now thrown its hat into the ring.

Rosie Baker

Last week Asda CEO Andy Bond revealed three initiatives it believes are better than any points or voucher scheme its rivals offer.

Bond plans to invite customers into areas of the business they have never had access to before. In doing so he hopes to engender consumer’s trust and in turn their long-term loyalty.

It gives customers an opportunity to get involved with the things they care about, at each stage of the supermarket’s operations. If a customer is concerned about the conditions at a dairy farm that supplies the supermarket, they can log onto a live webcam and see for themselves, likewise with their headquarters.

It quells a natural curiosity for what happens behind the scenes. Even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea it does at least demonstrate Asda’s willingness to go public with its entire business if that’s what the customers want.

In other areas shoppers can get involved in product design of George fashions, making suggestions about patterns styles that will go on to inform buying decisions.

I don’t regularly shop at Asda so I’m not sure I’ll be tuning in or joining the panel of customers, but as part of an overarching strategy of ‘transparency’ I think it’s an appealing concept that will resonate with Asda’s shoppers.

With three of the ‘Big Four’ making significant leaps into offering consumers added value, and declaring their dedication to loyal customers, only Morrisons is yet to make its move.

And it seems that the Bradford based retailer will be revealing its own campaign geared towards loyalty in the run up to Christmas.

Only time will tell which tactic will come out on top but it seems as though supermarkets have well and truly shifted the focus from cut-throat price promotions to added value reward schemes and earning loyalty.

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