The long-awaited Nectar programme officially begins on Monday 16th September 2002, when UK shoppers will be able to start earning Nectar points at more than 1,800 outlets of Sainsbury's, Debenhams and BP, and wherever they make purchases using their Barclaycard credit card.
The Nectar card is a standard magnetic stripe card, with a stylish purple theme, carrying the branding of all four launch partners (Sainsbury's, Debenhams, BP and Barclaycard). The same card will be issued regardless of which partner was responsible for the member's registration.
All four partners are transferring their existing in-company loyalty schemes into Nectar, with the exception of BP's Premier Points which will not be transferrable (but can still be redeemed through Argos until September 2004). Nectar is expected to capture around 12 million UK households within its first year.
More retail partners are expected to join the programme at a later date, although none have yet been specifically named.
Operated by Loyalty Management UK (LMUK), which is chaired by Air Miles founder Keith Mills, the programme has been developed over the past eighteen months using extensive consumer research to make sure that it addresses most of the concerns people have with existing loyalty programmes in the UK.
Keith Mills explained, "After serious research, we realised there were too many loyalty programmes in the market and customers wanted to get bigger rewards faster. With Nectar, customers will accumulate points on one card and will get substantially more points with broader rewards than any other single programme."
Key programme features
Following the company's in-depth research to ascertain consumer preferences and needs, the programme's key features have been structured accordingly:
- Choice. The choice of rewards is huge. Consumers can use their Nectar points not just for flights, but also for rewards that include offers on groceries and merchandise, holidays, restaurant meals, family days out and cinema tickets from some of the UK's best known names.
- Speed. Points can be earned quickly by shopping at more than 1,800 partnered outlets, and wherever a Barclaycard credit card is used. And yes, if a consumer pays for goods in a partnered store using a Barclaycard, they earn Nectar points twice over.
- Simplicity. Being a coalition loyalty programme, only one standard card is issued, regardless of which retail partner initiates the membership. One card, and one points currency. Consumers simply present their Nectar card whenever they pay at any of the participating outlets. This decreases 'plastic fatigue' in consumers wallets, making points collection far less troublesome.
- Ease. LMUK has gone out of its way to simplify the redemption procedure for accumulated points. Depending on what the consumer wants to use points for, the following options are available:
· Exchange points for Nectar vouchers, or
· Call Nectar direct to redeem them, or
· Automatic redemption at the point-of-sale
Members will receive quarterly points updates and points balances, which can also be checked online at the www.nectar.com website at any time.
Massive rewards expected
LMUK expects the number of points earned during the first year of the programme's UK launch to be as high as 50 billion. Conservative estimates by the firm suggest, perhaps a little whimsically, that shoppers in the UK could collectively earn enough Nectar points to:
- Send everyone in the City of London to Amsterdam and back for free with BMI, or
- Buy the whole of Belfast lunch in McDonald's every day for a year, or
- Treat all of Birmingham or Glasgow to a free movie at the Odeon Cinema every week for a year, or
- Fly the entire population of Cardiff to Orlando via Virgin Atlantic five times, or
- Send every single child in the UK to Legoland for free.
The programme has a wide range of famous-name 'reward partners', through which point and voucher redemptions can be made, currently including:
- Goods and groceries: Sainsbury's, Argos, and Direct Wines (Laithwaites)
- Eating out: McDonalds, Planet Hollywood, and Whitbread (Brewsters, Brewers Fayre, TGI Fridays)
- Entertainment: Blockbuster video and Odeon Cinemas
- Days out: Historic Royal Palaces (Tower of London, Hampton Court, Kensington Palace), Jorvik Viking Centre (York Archaeological Trust), Legoland Windsor, Tussauds Group (Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventure, Thorpe Park, Warwick Castle, London Plantetarium), Cadbury World, Dynamic Earth, English Heritage, Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Living Well Health Clubs, Sealife, Whipsnade Animal Park, Executive Golf Club, and MegaBowl
- Adventure activities: AquaXcite, Exhilaration, and Orient Express
- Holidays, flights and travel: Avro, British BMI British Midland, TAP Air Portugal, KLM, Eurostar, Eurotunnel, Lunn Poly, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Air Europa, Best Western Hotels, British European (Flybe), DFDS Seaways, Gatwick Express, Heathrow Express, Singapore Airlines, and Stansted Express
- Charities: NSPCC, Red Cross, Tommy's and Free Kicks.
The following table shows a number of examples of opportunities that programme members have to redeem their Nectar points. Note: Although this information was checked at the time of writing, it should not be taken as a definitive or strictly accurate guide to points values. You can obtain the latest information about points redemption at Nectar's web site, www.nectar.com.