retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In the UK, the Guardian reports that Tesco has decided to delay changes to its Clubcard loyalty rewards program after “a backlash from customers who objected to it reducing the value of vouchers without warning.” The delay means that instead of making the changes on January 15, they will take effect on June 10.

Here’s how the Guardian frames the contretemps:

“Tesco wrote to its millions of Clubcard customers this week to say it had “simplified” the scheme, with the changes taking effect from 15 January, to make it more straightforward. It said the revamped loyalty card would offer three times the value of their vouchers with more than 100 commercial partners as the standard redemption.

“The retailer said it was ending those offering twice and four times the value, including some of the most popular and longstanding deals, such as meals at PizzaExpress, Prezzo and Zizzi.

“The announcement was immediately met with criticism that customers would gain less from their points and that they had been given no notice about the changes. Tesco said any customers who had redeemed vouchers at three times the value ‘will not lose out’ and should contact customer service.”
KC's View:
Tesco always has been a leader in terms of its approach to loyalty marketing … but in this case, leadership means having created enormous emotional investment on the part of its shoppers in a system that has existed for a long time.

You mess with that at your own risk.