Waitrose chief says supermarket loyalty cards are ‘meaningless’ – consumers want immediate rewards

The managing director of Waitrose, Mark Price, has said that the loyalty card system employed by many large supermarkets is “meaningless” to consumers.

Discussing the myWaitrose card, which offers a free cup of tea or coffee every day for members, Price said that its success has been “phenomenal” and that it currently gives out over one million cups of coffee a week, making it the second largest coffee provider in the UK.

As such, he said that loyalty cards offered by supermarkets, like Tesco's Clubcard, have become “meaningless” to shoppers who want an instant reward.

"Giving free coffee or free newspapers is disruptive to the market, but I think that is what customers want, I don't think they want a point. I mean, what is a point? I think it's meaningless. It doesn't have the richness, it doesn't have the affinity you can gauge if you engage with your customers in a different way.

"It is about what do consumers value today, not what did they value historically. So green shield stamps, or points, were a response to what happened post-war . . . I just don't think that is where the world is now."

His comments come ahead of a major planned revamp to Waitrose stores in early 2014.

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