Customer Loyalty Plans And Rewards. Keep Them Simple.

I have Woolworths Rewards Card.

I scan it every time I pick up groceries and at some point in the future Woolworths rewards me with a $10.00 credit on my purchase when I have accrued sufficient reward points.

But the card does more. It also profiles me. Because it registers my purchases, it allows Woolworths to suggest sale bonuses on items that I have previously purchased.

And sometimes Woolworths suggests increased rewards to me if I were to spend a certain amount by a certain date…. you get the idea?

They, Woolworths, are trying to encourage me to spend a little more with them than I normally do. And they are incentivizing me with a carrot ahead of time of course.

But these incentives are not random.

They are targeted specifically to me based on my spending patterns, and are an attempt to nudge me to spend a little more to receive a “perceived” benefit.

And make Woolworths look like the good guy.

Here is what they do…

Woolworths will email me these benefits ahead of time.

And most of the time I simply click on the link in the email to immediately activate the opportunity to maybe benefit from the offer.

Which is in itself quite cunning….

Because the reward that they offer could alternatively be really a “just because” reward?

I mean, why couldn’t Woolworths simply send me a reward and say:

“For no reason, thanks for being such a loyal customer. We really appreciate you. Here’s an xxxx to show you how much we think of you. Have a great week!”

No. Retailers are more cunning and calculating than that…

Recently Woolworths emailed me a promotion that I thought was a really good offer.

Let me tell you about it.

The offer was that if I were to spend only $90.00 each week at Woolworths over the next four weeks, then Woolworths would thank me by GIVING me a new-fangled just released electrical appliance.

This looked like a really good deal.

Firstly, our household does spend more than $90.00 each week on groceries, so this wouldn’t be a difficult target to hit.

Secondly, we might have to travel a little out of our way to buy EVERYTHING each week at Woolworths, but heck, that’s a small inconvenience to us if they’re going to gift me this electrical device that I do not already own.

So here is what happened:

After one week, and two shopping trips, we passed the $90.00 target for the first week.

And so just to remind me and keep me focused, Woolworths send me a congratulatory email to let me know that I’d jumped through the first hoop.

However, having been away this week, I only have two days left to go make my ninety dollar purchase for the week.

And I have another week, the third week, starting in two days.

And then the fourth week starts a further seven days….and for that fourth week, I’m going to be overseas and relying on my adult children to go purchase their groceries from Woolworths.

It was starting to get a little bit too hard…

So here’s what I did

Firstly, I thought, how much does one of these devices actually cost to purchase?

I mean, is the benefit of owning one worth the effort of jumping through the Woolworths hoops?

I was surprised…..

The device retailed for $79.00.

That’s a reasonable gift for purchasing $360.00 of groceries.

Especially if you were going to be spending that much anyway on groceries…


Then I reduced it down to the ridiculous.

$79.00 divided by four weeks was less than twenty dollars per week bonus for those four weeks.

And when I looked at what I needed to do over the next three weeks to secure this “gift”, I realised that I valued my time and the time needed to go out of my way to jump through the hoops at a lot more than $19.75 per week.

What does this all mean?

This whole gift thing from Woolworths was a contrived effort to purchase some greater customer loyalty.

But to me it was a plan with too many hoops.

Sure, there will be Woolworths customers who WILL indeed pick up one of these gifts by satisfying all the criteria.

But to me, it will be just as simple to pick up one of these devices when I’m out retail shopping one day. Or maybe even go online.

To me both of those scenarios will be a far better use of my time.

I wonder how many Woolworths customers liked the idea of this reward but gave up on it in the same way that I did?

Rewards need to be simple and achievable.

Do this and we give you that. Period.

Not, do this, and then this, and then this, and then this. And then maybe…

Too hard will be too hard.

A complicated bonus gift never given has got to be worth a way less than a simple bonus gift earned regularly.

If you are going to reward your loyal customers, then make the rewards simple and frequent.

If you are going to reward your loyal team members then make their rewards simple and achievable also.

Small simple acts of memorable.

Easy to do…


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