Marks and Spencer has launched a loyalty scheme, Sparks, which it hopes will rewrite its relationship with customers and fuel a turnaround of ailing sales in its fashion business, a move it hopes gives it the ability to talk to customers at a one to one level.
Officially available next Thursday (22 October), it is being positioned as a ‘members club’ and works on the basis of points and rewards. Customers collect points each time they shop and for every £1 spend as well as points if they go on to leave a product review or donate old clothes to charity through the retailer’s Shwop programme.
Rewards come in the form of tailor-made offers, priority access to the likes of the M&S seasonal sales and invites to exclusive events.
“Sparks enables us to get to know our best customers better and provides us with a single view of the customer,” M&S executive director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne told The Drum.
“This in turn allows us to deliver tailor made offers and more relevant content – strengthening the relationship between M&S and its members. By becoming a member they will get the most out of M&S.”
The retailer has been under increasing pressure to turn around its ailing general merchandise business. Despite what appeared to be a resurgence earlier this year, non-food sales fell 0.4 per cent over the 13 weeks to 27 June.
“Now is the right time for M&S; thanks to our infrastructure investment and the breadth and depth of our product offer, we can deliver a club that sees us collaborate with our members to build a better M&S together,” Bousquet-Chavanne said.
By encouraging customers to post reviews, M&S has promised it will use feedback to inform buying decisions it makes on areas like clothing and beauty.
To kick start the launch, M&S is running ’14 Days of Sparks in store and online. Alongside this it will be integrating a Sparks message into wider marketing activity – come Christmas it expects messaging for the scheme across all customer touchpoints.