Is this the UK's largest loyalty programme?
Keith Mills, the founder of Air Miles, is to launch a collaborative loyalty programme, 'Nectar', in autumn 2002, having teamed up with some major high-street names - Debenhams, BP, Barclaycard and Sainsbury's. Nectar is a card-based joint loyalty programme which aims to centralise and rejuvenate the partners' existing reward programmes.
According to reports in the UK national press, the scheme will capture around half of the UK's households within the first month, based on the size of the four partners' existing loyalty databases combined. This would reinforce the firm's claim that Nectar will be "the UK's largest ever loyalty card programme." More partners are expected to sign up in the future.
For the customer "A number of UK customers have become cynical about the way these programmes work," Mr Mills said. "There are only so many pieces of plastic you can carry around in your wallet." This programme, however, aims to allow consumers to collect reward points more rapidly - which in turn will rejuvenate their interest in loyalty programmes. Customers should be able to obtain rewards - such as flights, holidays, meals, consumer goods and cinema tickets - more quickly than before. Initially, consumers will be able to use their cards at 1,800 locations operated by the four retail partners.
For the retailer Retailers should feel the relief of reduced administrative costs which are usually associated with running their own loyalty programme (often between 5% and 20% of the total cost of a stand-alone programme).
Funding The programme is to be operated by Loyalty Management International (chaired by Keith Mills). The loyalty firm is expected to spend some £50 million on the launch of the programme later this year, and is reported to be backed by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.
The Wise Marketer will bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.