Canadian Tire is expanding its reward program in October to offer a digital option for customers to collect Canadian Tire money on a card or smartphone. But, this will not replace paper Canadian Tire money, which has been around since 1958 defining Canada’s oldest loyalty program. Approximately $1-billion in Canadian Tire money has been in circulation since the first launch.
Canadian Tire paper currency was originally created by Muriel Billes, wife of cofounder A.J. Billes. Denominations of the bills include 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, 50-cent, $1 and $2 and the bills have historically enticed repeat customers to collect and use towards additional store merchandise. There is approximately $100-million in outstanding paper money, which customers have the option of converting to online points if desired.
Carol Deacon, senior vice-president of loyalty and digital at Canadian Tire said that the company did not consider eliminating the paper currency since Canadians have come to value it as a “part of our heritage.” The paper money has cultivated an ‘iconic status’ with Canadians.
But, for those who value convenience, Deacon says the new program is “…a much easier option for Canadians, especially those who prefer digital forms of rewards.”
The new program will launch in Nova Scotia on October 10 and roll out across the rest of Canada on October 28.
The company launched a pilot version digital loyalty program in 2012. This test version allowed the company to analyze results and determine how to construct its current version.
Chief Operating Officer Allan MacDonald said that the new program allows the company to tailor offers to individual customers. He said, “With the information received through the program, we’ll better understand how and when customers shop and what they are buying.”
For example, if a customer always buys swimming-related merchandise around June and July, specific deals may be sent to the customer offering discounts on swimming merchandise in that time period.
Under the new plan, customers will receive a base rate of 0.4 per cent of paper or digital Canadian Tire money on all purchases. Holders of Canadian Tire Options MasterCard will receive four per cent on purchases made at Mark’s, Sport Chek, PartSource, L’Equipeur and Canadian Tire Home Services.
Customers will also be able to use accumulated paper currency to pay for automotive services.
Canadian Tire is a successful company with a proven financial track record and this new digital reward program will allow it to analyze customer purchase data in order to better stock its stores according to customers’ preferences and needs.
This is in line with other company’s that also offer digital rewards programs like Loblaws PC Plus and Club Sobeys.
At the same time, the old paper money will still be in existence, which should appease many customers as well and remind them of Canadian Tire’s heritage.