With value at the very top of the typical consumer’s priority list, retailers have been competing for the title of the UK’s best supermarket loyalty scheme.
But which has come out on top?
I think it’s fair to say that we know a thing or two about supermarkets. And we’ve been watching closely as the latest battle between grocers plays out.
After Aldi officially overtook Morrisons in the battle for the Big Four and discount supermarkets became increasingly popular across shopper demographics, growing numbers of big-name grocers began looking to their added value offerings to compete for shopper retention and spend.
The go-to strategy? Loyalty schemes.
So, with that in mind, let’s check out nine of the UK’s biggest loyalty schemes and see which ones offer more:
- Our guide to the 9 best supermarket loyalty schemes.
- Why are loyalty schemes important?
- Setting yourself up for supermarket success.
Our guide to the 9 best supermarket loyalty schemes
Consumers want more from their food shop. With supermarket inflation at 17.3%, it’s not hard to see why. That’s why supermarkets have been strengthening their loyalty schemes – or introducing them if they didn’t have one already.
So, without further ado, here are nine of the UK’s biggest and best-known loyalty schemes, ranked.
9. Morrisons More
It’s early days for Morrisons’ latest loyalty development.
A reintroduction of their earlier Morrisons More loyalty scheme, it was initially taken off the table to make way for their more recent My Morrisons offering.
My Morrisons offered members access to personalised discounts and deals. But, following significant market shifts, it’s cle
ar that modern consumers want straight up discounts on their favourite products and brands.
Which is exactly what Morrisons More offers, and on top UK grocery brands like Cadbury and Nestlé!
Given that Morrisons More is currently being rolled out to only 20 stores in the North East, it’s low down the rankings. But, with a full release expected in summer 2023, this loyalty scheme is certainly one to watch.
Will returning to an older iteration of its loyalty scheme prove successful for Morrisons? We’ll find out.
8. Marks & Spencer Sparks
The Marks & Spencer Sparks card is a tiered offering, and one which M&S recently had to revamp to provide much-needed clarity.
The scheme offers shoppers a range of benefits, including personalised discounts, treats, and charity donations on their behalf. Plus, every week, one member who swipes their Sparks card will win their shopping for free.
There’s also a new premium level in the works, called Sparks Plus. This level offers shoppers additional benefits like unlimited deliveries and a monthly £10 voucher. But, unlike the standard offering, members will have to pay an annual fee to unlock this tier.
This is another loyalty scheme that doesn’t focus exclusively on instant savings. Instead, with myWaitrose, members get access to weekly vouchers, which offer personalised discounts based on shopping habits.
And there are some quick wins that all members can enjoy. Namely, these include 20% off selected counters in-store and free hot drinks with purchase.
6. Lidl Plus
The Lidl Plus rewards app is all about making big savings even bigger. Each week, shoppers get sent personalised vouchers on own brand products, plus access to exclusive competitions and prizes.
So, it’s not a scheme that offers immediate savings. Still, it’s an impressive value-add for a retailer that already offers shoppers significant value.
5. Co-op Member Prices
One of the latest to throw a hat in the loyalty ring, Co-op recently launched its new Member Prices initiative.
As part of a push to support customers through the cost-of-living crisis, the scheme gives members access to price cuts across product lines. And, according to the retailer’s own calculations, these exclusive promotions will save the typical shopper up to £300 a year.
The catch? A one-off £1 fee when you sign up. This makes it the only supermarket on the list to charge a joining fee for its loyalty scheme.
4. Iceland Bonus Card
The Iceland Bonus Card works a little differently to its competitors. While it does offer lower prices, competitions, and free home delivery for Bonus Card members, it’s also the only loyalty scheme here that helps shoppers budget too.
And, not only are there several ways to top up your Bonus Card savings account, but members also get £1 back for every £20 they deposit! In that sense, it’s not all about better value for money. It’s also about offering Iceland customers peace of mind, whether they’re in-store or not.
3. Sainsbury’s Nectar Prices
In a bid to compete with the country’s most successful loyalty schemes, Sainsbury’s has switched up its Nectar Card offering.
Previously, Nectar Card holders and app downloaders could earn points to spend with partner brands, like Caffe Nero or Argos. Now, with the introduction of Nectar Prices, members can also enjoy lower prices across a range of products.
Discounts have so far included more than 50% off Nescafe Gold and big savings on essentials like baked beans.
However, the scheme is still in its infancy and discounts are only available on around 450 lines at the moment. So, while Sainsbury’s seems to have the right approach, the success of its revamped loyalty scheme will depend on how well it can compete in the coming months.
2. Asda Rewards
Another relative newcomer to the game, Asda Rewards has managed to make an impact on shoppers already. With its ‘Pounds, Not Points’ approach to loyalty, Asda Rewards is a scheme that offers shoppers something slightly different.
When members shop, they earn money back on so-called ‘Star Products’ in an in-app Cashpot. Any money accumulated in this Cashpot can then be redeemed against their shopping. Other ways to earn include completing ‘missions’, which offer rewards of between £1 and £5 for buying from certain categories.
So far, the initiative has proved to be a big success.
But it’s not just that the offering helps customers save on their shopping; Asda is also clearly listening to consumers. The reintroduction of the £5 ‘First Scan Bonus’ (which contributed more than £2 million to shoppers’ Cashpots back in February) is proof of that.
1. Tesco Clubcard
Despite Tesco dropping the value of its loyalty points, the Tesco Clubcard remains an undisputed champion.
If it’s savings that shoppers want (and they do), the simple fact is that the more discounts supermarkets offer, the better. And, according to retail researcher Assosia, Tesco offers exclusive member discounts on 5,979 product lines.
But that’s not all the scheme offers. As well as Clubcard Prices, members can build up Clubcard rewards points to claim at the likes of Pizza Express, Fitbit, and even Alton Towers.
Admittedly, shoppers can’t accumulate rewards points as quickly as they once could. This is a shift some consumers aren’t all that happy with.
But still, there’s no denying that Tesco’s more established offering ticks a lot of the right boxes. That’s why an impressive 79% of all their UK shoppers are currently signed up to their loyalty scheme.
Why are loyalty schemes important?
In this time of strained budgets and tightened purse strings, a loyalty scheme can go a long way.
Consumers are less concerned with convenience and shopper experience than they used to be. For many, it’s all about getting as much for their money as they can. Which is why so many supermarkets have introduced or improved their loyalty offerings.
Here are some of the advantages loyalty schemes can offer supermarkets who are competing for consumer attention and sales:
- Customer retention.
- Increasing customer engagement.
- Customer data collection.
- Encouraging customer spend.
- Enhancing brand loyalty.
But, true as this may be, it’s worth noting here that the UK’s favourite supermarket, Aldi, has got no loyalty scheme to speak of.
With its rapidly increasing market share, Aldi is testament to the fact that brands don’t necessarily need to offer more to enjoy popularity. If the offering is already strong enough to attract consumers during difficult times, then there might not be any need for a value add.
Setting yourself up for supermarket success
The battle for supermarket supremacy is far from over.
And, with competition comes shifts in the market. The uptick in supermarket loyalty schemes is just one example.
In reaction to these trends, we’ve seen an uplift in requests for Sales and National Account Managers with specialist experience in areas in like discount and grocery.
Are you looking to expand your teams?
Get in touch to speak to one of our specialist consultants!
Call us: 0333 772 7200