John Lewis: ‘Loyalty programme will put us higher up in shoppers’ minds’

John Lewis plans to use the insights it gathers on its customers via its new loyalty programme to improve shopper frequency and reposition the retailer as an everyday shopping destination, rather than just for special occasions or big-ticket items. 

My John Lewis card

The company is expanding the loyalty scheme it first started trialling a year ago to all its stores and customers nationwide following “really good results”, Chris Bates, the retailer’s head of customer marketing, tells Marketing Week.

“This is a great business opportunity to increase how often we talk to customers and grow shopping frequency. At the moment the frequency is relatively low, we tend to get used on special occasions such as Christmas or big-ticket items.

“We want to use this as a vehicle to reposition John Lewis and push it higher up shoppers’ minds so they know we are there all the time,” he adds.

Bates says the data John Lewis gets from the scheme will allow it to build up customer profiles and tailor marketing more precisely. Currently, he believes a lot of what the retailer communicates to shoppers is “noise” that they disregard because it isn’t relevant.

“We know from our insights that customers only consider John Lewis for a narrow set of categories. These are personal to each shopper, but on average they name between three and five areas that they use John Lewis for.

“We want to make sure we’re targeting within these areas, and a sensible wider range of categories that suit these interests,” he says.

The MyJohnLewis programme was soft launched last summer to 75,000 of what the department store identified as its most valuable customers. Customers can use the scheme in its stores and online to earn rewards such as free tea and cake in its restaurants, entry into prize draws and other personalised incentives.

Bates says the decision to focus on rewards, rather than use a points-based system or discount scheme is all to do with the John Lewis brand.

He adds: “The “Never Knowingly Undersold” price promise is the bedrock of the John Lewis brand. Promotions and discount schemes are not in-keeping.

“The brand is founded on service. We wanted to take that and apply it to the way we market to make it more personal by offering services and experiences such as product previews, invites to events and the inspiration behind trends we know our customers are interested in.”

John Lewis plans to market the launch using its own media, including in store, on its website and through social media. There are currently no plans for above-the-line advertising or to include it in the Christmas marketing campaign.

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