Just as loyalty programs like Safeway’s Just for U and Shoppers Drug Mart’s Optimum program have gained in popularity, just last week Loblaw unveiled its new PC Plus loyalty program. This program is designed to be the latest digitally intelligent loyalty program.
The PCplus.ca website has gone live and the program is currently available in 44 Loblaw stores in Ontario with plans for the program to be rolled out across country later this year.
The program is specially designed for smartphones as they are currently in widespread use and still gaining in popularity. The program will be available on the iPhone, Blackberry 10 and Android smartphones.
Plastic cards are also available and current PC financial credit card holders can sign up while still collecting points or receive a new plastic card.
Uwe Stuekmann, VP Marketing at Loblaw says the app is based on the following three customer insights: 1. People are busy and want grocery shopping to be more convenient, 2. Many customers are disappointed with current loyalty programs and, 3. Most people are now connected with smartphones.
Loblaw President Vicente Trius says, “We expect this program to build on our business momentum, increase customer engagement, further enhance customer experience and drive share of wallet.”
What makes the PC Plus loyalty program unique is that it is designed to individually market to each customer based on individual previous purchase history.
“Doing the same thing for all customers doesn’t make sense anymore,” said Stueckmann.
Approximately 8-10 products are promoted to customers each week in “time to event modeling” which determines when customers are in need of certain products.
For example, if a customer buys Palmolive dish soap approximately every 3 weeks then the program would send promotions on this item around the time the customer would typically buy the product.
Stueckmann says that PC Plus represents true one-to-one marketing. The longer and more frequently customers use the program, the more data is compiled that personalizes individual offers even more.
Even though offers are based on past purchase behavior the company is also offering “stretch offers” with promotions on products customers may be interested in. For example, a customer who buys diapers frequently may be interested in baby wipes.
Offers may be made on individual products or based on departments or shopping frequency. For example, additional rewards could be given if a shopper spends a certain amount on produce or if they shop two times a week.
The program works by allowing customers to accumulate points that can be redeemed for discounts off their grocery bill. They can also keep track of points and the dollar amount they are worth (1,000 points = $1).
The PC Plus program offers other special features in addition to promotions like shopping lists, browsing flyers and linking recipes to shopping lists.
The integrated shopping list allows customers to add their own shopping list and link in foods to the list from the Loblaw flyer or from recipes with the click of a button. The system is also intuitive enough not to add everyday items you may already have in your pantry into the shopping list from a recipe.
A unique feature is that customers can compile the shopping list by department so that the list is displayed in the order the customers intends to shop in while in store, making grocery shopping even that much more efficient.
The PC Plus program offers unique, helpful and cost-saving features and raises the bar for other loyalty programs, especially in the integration of mobile commerce. With more than 50% of Canadians carrying smartphones already, expect other programs to take Loblaw’s lead sooner rather than later.