Last week Raj Aggarwal told RN about the Spar loyalty scheme he is exclusively trialling in his stores. Here he explains how it works

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January and February are normally quieter periods for us because everybody is being more frugal with their spending after Christmas. So when Spar approached us about trialling a loyalty scheme – designed to help boost our footfall – in my Sheffield store, I jumped at the chance.

It works like this: shoppers who sign up online can get 5% off their shopping. Categories such as alcohol, tobacco, PayPoint and the National Lottery are exempt and it can’t be used in conjunction with existing in-store promotions. 

Once customers have registered, they’ll then be emailed a pass to print out, which can be scanned at any till in the shop. Customers have to be aged 18 or over and be able to present valid ID when using the pass at the till.

Additionally, customers involved are able to nominate a preferred charity which we then send donations to.  So, I’m attracting more registrations to the loyalty scheme because of the charitable incentive. 

Customers can currently choose to donate to Marie Curie, St Luke’s Hospice or Hackenthorpe Church for the Homeless. I’ve set aside £300 for these charities. At the end of the trial, the proportion of customers who have chosen a particular charity will determine how much is donated. For example, £150 will be donated to Marie Curie if 50% of customers selected it as their preferred charity when registering.

One of the biggest advantages from my point of view is the data it allows me to build

We originally called it ‘New Year, New Me’ to tie in with all the shoppers on healthier diets at the start of 2018. Since then, it has being advertised across social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

We’re trialling it until the end of February so it’s nearly come to an end.

One of the biggest advantages from my point of view is the data it allows me to build up about my customers. I’m using it as a way of working out which products become more popular once customers know they can get a discount and this will be used to determine what promotions I have throughout the store in the future. I’m investing heavily in my food to go offering, for example, and the scheme will help me understand what kind of snacks encourage the most sales when they’re discounted.

It can also give me a lot of useful information on where my customers live and their gender, as they’re asked to provide these details when signing up. This information will also be useful to not only determine who I target my promotions at, but how far my store advertising could go in the future. 

It also asks if they would like to be sent store updates by email or text message, which provides another way to promote my shop.

I’ve hired a third party company called Velocity Worldwide to help me organise all the data. It already works with high street retailers such as Boots and Topshop, alongside convenience stores, and has built up a reputation for being a company which can be relied upon to capture accurate and detailed customer information.

 Velocity Worldwide will also analyse the data from my EPoS system. Both sets of data will be combined to give me a complete overview of information collected during the trial period.

 So far I’ve learned that the majority of my shoppers are nearby residents, so I thought giving them the opportunity to give to local charities would be a good way of attracting more of them. 

It’s a trial for now and I’m yet to see how I’ll continue it after February. If it’s a success, however, there’s a possibility I will introduce it to my other two stores.

 The scheme will be tailored to each shop area if it does get extended, and customers in Leicestershire will be given a choice of charities based in their local area, too. 

I haven’t yet planned how I will develop the scheme further when the trial is over. I’m not sure if I’ll carry on with setting a donation pot aside for the charities, or donating to them through a different method. But as a dynamic for a modern loyalty scheme, I think something like this is the future.

Raj Aggarwal is the owner of three Spar stores in Sheffield and Leicestershire