In the UK, TalkTalk (the landline telecoms arm of The Carphone Warehouse) and Dollond & Aitchison (a high street chain of opticians) are to join the Nectar coalition loyalty programme, according to a statement from Nectar's operator, Loyalty Management UK.
From 1st September 2005, Nectar collectors will earn 2 points per 1 spent on TalkTalk's fixed line and broadband internet services, while Dollond & Aitchison will begin offering points at the same rate a little later in the year.
Built on the promise of free telephone calls forever between its customers, TalkTalk has grown to one million customers since its launch in 2003. It aims to double its customers by 2008 and expects Nectar to play an important role in customer acquisition and retention during that time. While TalkTalk's customers still call each other for free, they will earn Nectar points on the rest of their bill (i.e. call charges for out-of-network calls).
Commenting on TalkTalk's new participation in Nectar, managing director Max Alexander commented: "Our customers are rewarded for every call they make: when they talk to each other it's free; and when they talk to others they earn Nectar points."
Dollond & Aitchison, a long established optical chain in the UK high street, has 372 stores throughout the country, offering eye care services and a range of eye wear options. With around a million customers a year the company will use Nectar to reward the loyalty of existing customers and to acquire new customers.
Dollond & Aitchison's commercial director, Andrew Bailey, added: "Many of our customers already collect, so Nectar is the ideal way to reward our existing customers and to provide a compelling reason for new customers to come to us." Previously Dollond & Aitchison was a partner in the Tesco Clubcard loyalty scheme but is leaving to join Nectar.
With the exception of two recent partner losses (Vodafone and Barclaycard), Loyalty Management UK (LMUK) has continued adding high-street retail sponsors to the Nectar scheme, with the aim of creating a partner-base that potentially covers 70% of an average household's annual spend. Average household spend coverage at Nectar's launch was around 20%, and currently stands at about 40% (assuming a consumer consolidates their spend at Nectar's partners).
With this latest announcement, Nectar's sector-exclusive coalition partners once again total 17, and the total number of UK retail outlets offering Nectar points stands at 6,500. Since the programme's launch, LMUK says that Nectar collectors have redeemed points for rewards worth almost 500 million.
Rob Gierkink, CEO for LMUK concluded: "We are delighted to welcome these two new sponsors to Nectar, further strengthening our coalition. TalkTalk is a perfect fit within our mix of sponsors, giving a great way for Nectar collectors to earn more points on their household utilities. Additionally, for the first time Nectar collectors will be able to earn points on optical goods and services through our partnership with Dollond & Aitchison."