Woolworths’ new loyalty program has been branded “pointless” and a “waste of time” on social media.
Angry customers have flocked to Woolworths’ Facebook page this week to express their disappointment and inform the supermarket giant they will be “voting with their feet” from now on.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
Woolworths overhauled its customer rewards program in October, ditching its Qantas Frequent Flyer points-based program in favour of discounts for in-store purchases.
The new program allows shoppers to earn different levels of monetary discounts when they buy selected items with orange tickets. Once a shopper has accrued $10 of savings, they receive a $10 discount on their next grocery shop.
But customers have complained online these orange tickets are hard to come by.
“We have accrued a big $2.40 with the new card,” one woman wrote on the supermarket’s Facebook page.
“What a waste of time. We won’t be using the card and will shop at Coles to get more points from all our shopping.”
Others complained they had spent hundreds of dollars and only gotten “pointless” rewards as a result.
“Just chopped up my Woolworths rewards card – manipulative rubbish,” one customer wrote.
“Spent $165 with Woolworths, received zero reward dollars,” wrote another.
“Shopping at Coles, I would receive 165 Flybuy points. What does Woolworths think is the better deal?”
Woolworths looking at ways to improve its new rewards program
A spokesperson for Woolworths told SmartCompany the new rewards program is only weeks old but has already snapped up more members than the previous rewards scheme.
“The nature of the program is that the number of Woolworths Dollars will differ from shop-to-shop, but over time customers will experience superior rewards when compared with our competitors’ programs,” the spokesperson said.
“It has always been our intention to listen to our customers and refine it over time. We are looking at ways to ensure we increase the earn rate for less typical shoppers, including increasing the number of orange tickets in store on fresh and high demand products.”
So when it comes to customer loyalty programs, what actually works?
Nicole Reaney, director of InsideOut Public Relations, has had extensive experience with major retailers and says customers expect to be rewarded in a way that is proportionate to how much they spend in store.
“Loyalty programs were introduced by organisations to recognise customers continually selecting its product or services over other alternatives and to generate brand ambassadors who share positive experiences with friends and family,” Reaney said.
“Effective loyalty programs are simple for the consumer to activate, offer true value to the consumer in the form of a monetary or tangible gift and are transparent and accessible.”
Reaney points out customers are often “bombarded” with loyalty programs, so it is important that businesses make their programs stand out from the crowd.
“The best loyalty programs are technology based,” she says.
“For instance, they don’t rely on the consumer registering and taking that extra step to participate, are personal in that they acknowledge the shopping habits or interests of the individual, and are tailored to reward the most loyal customers differently to those that are on a completely different spending level.”
Never miss a story: sign up to SmartCompany’s free daily newsletter.