Can you buy customer loyalty? This is a question that Waitrose and Sainsbury’s posed during December with their loyalty card promotions.

Waitrose offered its loyalty card holders a £20 voucher on four £40 basket spends. That means that a 180 pounds’ worth of shopping would cost £160 – that is an 11% discount. My wife and I bought in to this offer easily as we knew that four £40 spends in the run up to Christmas would be comfortably achieved.

Sainsbury’s were giving 8,000 loyalty card points worth £40 on five £80 spends. That’s a 9% discount on 440 pounds’ worth of shopping. To keep their shoppers informed and focused on the ‘prize’, Sainsbury’s provided shoppers with an update ‘voucher’ each time they shopped. When we were given one of these tickets telling us we had had three £80 shops with five days to the end of the promotion the offer became very compelling. In fact a 25% bonus on £160 of shopping was irresistible and by forward buying some shopping we were able to get the reward of the 8,000 points.

These two loyalty buying promotions during the key Christmas trading period would appear to have worked as both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were able to report sales performances that were better than the other big supermarket companies. Kantar reported that Sainsbury’s has crept past Asda to become the UK’s second largest supermarket.

So what does this mean for you?

People chose their shopping destinations for a variety reasons. Accessibility, quality of goods, range, service and value are a part of many shoppers’ decision processes. For my wife and I, the extra discount did not change our store choice as the Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stores in Melksham fit our store destination profile. We took the £60 as a “thank you for shopping with us bonus”.

With cash like this on offer what are you doing to anchor your loyal customers to your store? Please let us know by using the comment box.