The pilot scheme will be available in Portsmouth from 4 November, with Nectar cardholders able to collect 2 Nectar points per £1 spent at participating businesses. That is the same collection metric which applies at other partners, including Sainsbury’s and British Gas.
As with other partners, 500 points earned through the local pilot are worth £2.50 to spend on Nectar rewards.
So far, Nectar says 100 merchants have signed up. The trial is open to businesses ranging from cafes and restaurants to retailers, estate agents, hairdressers and builders.
James Frost, Nectar marketing director, told Marketing Week: “This partnership brings Nectar right to people’s doorsteps and gives local businesses the power of a national loyalty programme.
“It also continues our mission to allow people to collect points at more and more places.”
Nectar will support the launch with a marketing campaign in Portsmouth including outdoor, press and online media, as well as direct mail that will be “very, very targeted” and mention businesses in the direct vicinity. The campaign kicks off with a triple points promotion that will run until 17 November.
Under the partnership, Yell.com will show which local businesses offer Nectar points in its online directory service as it looks to strengthen its relationship with merchants. Yell.com is owned by Hibu, which is trying to encourage small to medium business owners to reappraise the company after a series of loss-making quarters.
Merchants will also feature in Nectar’s search function on both its website and mobile app. The pilot will run until May, with plans to roll it out across the country region by region if it proves successful.
Nectar says the trial is in response to consumer appetite for a loyalty programme for local businesses. Recent research by the firm found that 90 per cent of cardholders would collect points from local shops and businesses and 56 per cent would shop locally more frequently if they could collect Nectar points.
This is the latest move by Nectar to expand its scheme beyond big brands and retailers. It has also partnered with Oxfam to reward people for donating items to the charity and tested services with local council organisations to offer Nectar points to households that increase recycling or visit gyms.