Nectar is getting sweeter with age

Loyalty programme Nectar, which celebrates 10 years this month, is a shining example of how it’s often better not to be first to market.


Nectar now has 18.5 million active members – that’s more than its rival Tesco Clubcard, which has been around for more than 25 years and is seen as the founding father of supermarket loyalty schemes.

While it is most closely associated with Sainsbury’s, Nectar’s reach is extending all through time through new partnerships and products.

It has marked the 10-year milestone with a flurry of activity. Partnerships with Oxfam and restaurant group Tragus, which owns the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Strada chains, have been announced, demonstrating Nectar’s efforts to expand the ways that cardholders can redeem reward points.

A new partnership with eBay means that points can be earned when buying directly on the auction site, where previously points could only be collected if customers went via’s affiliate portal.

It is also strengthening its relationship with Sainsbury’s and using its data in a multitude of new ways. Today (20 September) it unveiled the launch of Insight 2 Communication (I2C) a joint venture with the supermarket that makes Nectar data more valuable for fmcg brands.

Brands will now be able to use insight gleaned from Sainsbury’s and Nectar data to develop targeted advertising campaigns across platforms including the supermarket’s website, in-store ad sites, outdoor sites surrounding stores, till coupons, direct mail, email, mobile and Sainsbury’s magazine.

A new range of banking products means that customers of Sainsbury’s bank can earn reward points in return for using its credit card and its coupons at till scheme uses Nectar and basket data to provide real time, targeted coupons based on what customers are actually buying.

One retail consultant I spoke to this week called the power of Sainsbury’s and Nectar data “awesome”, and commented that Tesco’s Clubcard is no longer the benchmark for other loyalty schemes to live up to.

Nectar, it would seem has taken up this mantel and is benefitting from coming to market well after Clubcard had taken root. Despite being a decade old programme it shows no sign of losing momentum and is continually adding strings to its bow to maintain its relevance not just for consumers but for its brand partners.

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