A question of loyalty



Loyalty programmes are serious business these days. And in a competitive market like OP, where product quality and service efficiency are a pre-requisite, loyalty schemes are essential in securing customer relations, boosting profits and tracking trends.


According to Jupiter Research, more than 75 per cent of US consumers have at least one loyalty card and it is estimated that one-third of the total shopping population retain two or more cards. In the UK, the Nectar coalition loyalty programme, created and operated by Loyalty Management UK, has signed up more than half of UK households and 62 per cent of Nectar members claim to actively spend more with the companies on the scheme. And figures are still rising.


With what seems like every retailer riding the loyalty programme bandwagon, it is crucial for a company to keep reinventing the scheme’s features and benefits. In its latest bid to get ahead of the game, Office Depot launched Worklife Rewards on Tuesday, which replaces its previous Advantage Programme. The company claims it expects the programme to set a new standard for loyalty programmes in the OP industry.


Tony Ueber, SVP of marketing for Office Depot, explained the logic behind Worklife to OPI+. "Multi-channel shoppers are the most loyal and valuable to us because they spend more, and do so more often. We believe programmes like Advantage and now Worklife Rewards are great tools to keep current customers loyal to the brand while also helping to attract new customers. A customer loyalty programme such as Worklife Rewards enables Office Depot to speak to the right customer, with the right offer, in the right voice, at the right time. Worklife Rewards is the foundation to be able to develop a one-to-one relationship with our customers.


"We have an unwavering commitment to the business customer — the segment responsible for more than 80 per cent of the company’s sales on a global basis across all channels," he added. "We know how demanding it is to run a small business today and how hard our customers work to make their businesses thrive. Worklife Rewards is a tool that can help reward members and help them balance all of these demands."


The principal feature of the Worklife scheme is that it does away with the typical limit placed on customer rewards, offering the customer unlimited earnings potential. Other features include: a guaranteed 5 per cent back to frequent buyers who spend at least $200 on qualified purchases during a reward period; an additional back in bonus rewards on copy, print and ship services when a minumum of $35 is spent; double reward credits on ink and toner; and the ability for customers to keep track of their account online.


Ueber is confident of the impact Worklife will have on its bottom line and the edge it will give Depot over its competitors. "We do believe our programme gives us an edge," he said. "The combination of the 5 per cent back in rewards plus the unlimited earning potential makes this a powerful incentive for customers to continue shopping with Office Depot."