Battle of the loyalty schemes: New World launches Clubcard nationwide, Countdown partners with AA Smartfuel

  • News
  • October 6, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Battle of the loyalty schemes: New World launches Clubcard nationwide, Countdown partners with AA Smartfuel
New World's new look Clubcard.

The New World Clubcard was initially launched in 2014, but was only available for its South Island customers.

The nationwide roll out carried out this week will boost the number of customers in its database significantly from the 450,000 current members it has in the South Island.

Foodstuffs NZ group general manager of marketing Steve Bayliss says the programme has been a big success in driving loyalty for New World and delivering customer benefits.

“Going national is a big step forward for us, and we’re anticipating a great customer reaction just as we saw in the South Island, where more than 84 percent of all sales include a Clubcard swipe,” Bayliss says.

The launch of the programme has kicked off with a huge mailout to existing Fly Buys and Airpoints customers who shop at New World with the new card enclosed.

A media campaign including TV, radio, social and digital channels has also been rolled out.

Why now?

The past few weeks have seen a stir up in the loyalty industry, with brands either parting ways from collaborations or teaming up to reach a wider audience.

While Fly Buys used to be the nation’s largest loyalty programme, many brands are now pushing it aside and charging ahead with their own schemes.

In September, Air New Zealand announced it was pulling out of Fly Buys to focus on its own programme, Airpoints, which commands a massive membership of 2.2 million Kiwis.

Most surmised that because Airpoints had become such an effective beast on its own, it no longer saw the need for a strategic partnership with Fly Buys.

At the time of the split, Airpoints announced new partnerships with Mitre 10, Tower Insurance and Storage King.

Meanwhile, Countdown and AA Smartfuel teamed up to combine their saving schemes on one card earlier this week.

The AA Smartfuel and Countdown Onecard now has 3.5 million members, surpassing Fly Buy’s 2.5 million members and stripping it of its largest loyalty provider title.

The New World Clubcard has its own collaborative ties, giving customers the option of earning Fly Buys or Air New Zealand Airports.

Countdown and New World are by no means alone in the market, as there are myriad retailers offering their own loyalty programmes, such as the Farmers Club card.

Founder of The Retail Collective Juanita Neville-Te Rito says all these movements in the loyalty space come down to one thing: customer data.

A bigger customer pool means more data can be extracted, she says.

“The power of the data is the ultimate hand these guys all want a part of,” Te Rito says.

“In theory, monetisation of the data is more powerful than the actual reward and recognition power of a programme, but this is a space few have really got their heads around yet.”

Ben Goodale, the managing director of JustONE, the agency behind New World Clubcard’s nationwide rollout, emphasised the importance of data to Foodstuffs’ operations.

“The launch of Clubcard as a nationwide programme signals New World’s desire to be an even more customer focused, technology and data-led organisation,” Goodale says.

Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin also echoed this.

Speaking at Retail NZ’s event last year, he said one of the benefits of offering a loyalty programme is the data that can be gathered in order to truly personalise an offer.

“The vision you create is an understanding of where a customer leaves home in the morning, perhaps drops kids to school or goes to work, and then goes shopping at certain brands before coming to our brand. We compare what they buy to where they have been and start being able to market very directly to a customer based on what they want,” Quin said.

Who’s winning the battle?

With all that said and done, data can’t be collated without the customers’ permission to be signed up to the scheme.

While membership numbers are one thing, customer satisfaction is another.

According to a Horizonpoll of more than 12,000 consumers released earlier this week, Fly Buys is considered the best loyalty programme out of them all, with almost a third preferring it (29 percent).

This was followed by AA Smartfuel on 14 percent, then a tie between Air New Zealand Airpoints and Countdown’s Onecard on nine percent. Farmers Club clocked in last at five percent.

With AA Smartfuel and and Countdown’s recent collaboration, their combined reach will give the brands broader customer relevance.

The poll also noted that there’s probably enough room in the marketplace for consumers to belong to several loyalty programmes.

On average, respondents were members of 3.1 loyalty programmes, with lots of cross membership with Fly Buys and Airports, Farmers Club, Onecard and AA Smartfuel members.

 The survey also found just 39 percent of members thought the loyalty programmes they used knew what they really wanted to buy, for what prices and when.

Te Rito says in order for retailers to succeed, there are several key factors that make up a good loyalty programme.

“True personalisation, monitoring of spending to tailor the shopping experience better for me, authenticity of reward (on my terms not yours), not too many emails and less push marketing and more pull,” she says.

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