Canada’s mega grocery store Loblaw has introduced a fee-based customer loyalty program. As the following Financial Post article describes, this will revolve around special services geared to its active shoppers.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. is launching its new loyalty program across Canada, offering an assortment of perks for $99 a year in an attempt to convince more customers to shop exclusively with its massive grocery chain — creating what one senior executive called a “loyalty loop.”
The PC Insiders program, styled after the popular Amazon Prime (minus the streaming service), includes free “click and collect” grocery shopping, where customers order online and pickup at one of 600 designated locations, as well as free shipping on purchases from Loblaw’s Joe Fresh apparel brand and Shoppers Drug Mart.
“It’s not 16 million customers all at once,” said PC Financial President Barry Columb, who started PC Insiders and continues to oversee the program. “But if we go out in the next six months and we put 100,000 customers into the program, we would be very, very satisfied.”
The announcement Thursday comes after a year-long pilot ballooned to the point that Loblaw had to turn members away. When the pilot started last year, the plan was to open the program up to 5,000 hyper-loyal customers who already used Loblaws PC Optimum and the President’s Choice Financial Mastercard.
This program bears close watching by U.S. based grocers as the vertical has become white-hot with competition not only from Amazon’s Whole Foods entry, but also from European players Aldi and Lidl. Additionally, legacy grocers such as Kroger and Albertson are sinking serious money into technology and applications for mobile ordering, self-checkout, plus curbside pick-up and fast delivery.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group