Woolies overhauls unpopular loyalty scheme

Woolworths Supermarket Australia

Woolworths has today announced changes to its loyalty program in response to customer complaints.

As of 31 August 2016, members will earn rewards on every dollar they spend in Woolworths’ Supermarkets and BWS stores.

Woolies has also for the first time offered members earnings on every dollar they spend at Caltex Woolworths outlets.

“When we launched Woolworths Rewards, we made a commitment to put our members first and make improvements in response to their feedback,” said Ingrid Maes, Woolworths’ director of loyalty and customer data.

“We are pleased that our members have responded positively to automatically getting money off their shopping. However, we’ve acknowledged that we didn’t deliver enough orange ticket offers in-store and while many of our members have been rewarded well, too many have not.”

The supermarket giant said there will be exclusive member offers across over 990 stores and 1270 BWS stores, including double-points on items from essential household categories, including launch deals on fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat and at the deli and seafood counter; and increased personalised offers sent direct to members on items they already buy.

Woolworths also confirmed two additional redemption options: a choice to convert savings to Qantas Points, or to bank them for Christmas.

“Overall, we are confident these changes will be well received by our members,” said Maes.

“Every Woolworths shopper can enjoy money off their shopping without any effort required. Alternatively, from the end of August, members can convert their savings to Qantas Points or bank their savings for Christmas.”

Woolies said the changes to its rewards program is underpinned by the introduction of Woolworths Points. Members will earn a minimum of one Woolworths Point for every dollar they spend in store or online at Woolworths Supermarkets, BWS and Caltex Woolworths1, with the supermarket giant asserting the opportunity to earn additional points means most members will earn significantly above the minimum earn rate without needing to change their shopping behaviour.

Members will automatically get $10 off every time their points balance reaches 2000 Woolworths Points, or they can choose to bank these savings for Christmas

Products on which members will not earn points include gift cards, tobacco and mobile recharge. Members will also not earn points at Caltex Woolworths fuel outlets with a Star Mart or Star Shop. Members who prefer Qantas Points will be able to convert at a rate of 870 Qantas Points for every 2000 Woolworths Points from 31 August 2016.

“This isn’t the end of improvements to our loyalty program,” said Maes. “We’ll continue to listen to our members and introduce new, attractive features to evolve the program in line with member preferences and feedback.”

Justine Davies, editor in chief of comparison website Canstar, said the new program is much less confusing than the previous one, and potentially more rewarding than the one scrapped in October 2015.

“Shoppers spending very small amounts per shop will be better off due to the fact that the original scheme did not attract any reward until a minimum $30 spend,” she said.

However, she said the downside was that shoppers who spend more than $50 will not earn as many points under the new program.

Davies said the new scheme is similar to rival Coles’ Flybuys program, under which customers receive one point per dollar spent.

The move represents another backflip by Woolworths, which dumped Qantas frequent flyer reward points in October 2015 only to reintroduce a reworked Qantas scheme two months later.

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