The big data Jedi
Nielsen’s SVP consumer and shopper insights Todd Hale points to Kroger’s loyalty card as one of the best examples of consumer data aggregation. “Not only do you save money when you use their loyalty card, but you [also] save money no matter where you shop,” he said of Kroger’s 1-2-3 Rewards Visa Card, which is linked to its loyalty program.
That catapults actionable shopper data to an entirely new level — Kroger knows what its best customers are buying from other retailers.
“If you think about the digital world, we’re going to know where you browse; we’re going to know what you watch; we’re going to know where you are,” Michael Donnelly, Kroger SVP merchandising, recently told analysts. Donnelly outlined a future where personalization becomes so fine-tuned that a customer can walk into the supermarket with a prepopulated shopping list generated by a retailer.
ExtraCare strikes back
CVS/pharmacy certainly is the leader in terms of how to translate reams of shopper data into programs that drive profitable results. It’s been at it for almost 15 years, and its 70 million active cardholders makes for the largest loyalty program in retail pharmacy.
In a major nod to the program’s success, 67% of CVS transactions and 82% of all front-store sales are tied to ExtraCare, and card members buy 85% more items per trip versus nonmembers.
ExtraCare also is enabling CVS to evolve its circular program, which has been negatively impacted by the drop in newspaper circulation in recent years. CVS will reduce circular pages over time, shifting those dollars into digital promotions through ExtraCare. The retailer is currently piloting a personalized circular program that tailors customized offers based on front-store purchasing history.
A new hope
Walgreens is the newest to jump into the loyalty game. Still, its Balance Rewards managed to sign up 16 million members within just two weeks of its mid-September launch.
In many ways, Balance Rewards represents some of the best thinking in customer loyalty. There’s a better-health incentive linked to the Walk with Walgreens program. There are complementary health offerings tied to participation. It is mobile-enabled and ties into its multichannel strategy. Points don’t expire. And the data from the program will help inform every facet of Walgreens’ business.
Look for learnings from the Alliance Boots loyalty program to help shape the program going forward — several aspects of the Advantage program would be unique here in the United States, particularly how it ties in with Boots’ holiday and beauty business.