Garden centres advised on loyalty scheme future

Building a customer profile then targeting where they live is the way to use loyalty schemes, according to Wyevale Garden Centres' customer loyalty card consultant, as the schemes come under question after Homebase decided to quit the Nectar reward scheme by the end of 2016.

Loyalty card schemes have come under question in garden centres
Loyalty card schemes have come under question in garden centres

Gavin Wheeler, owner of Wyevale consultant WDMP, said garden centres should use loyalty schemes to create geodemographics to identify likely characteristics of people in an area based on their age, gender, purchasing history and to which special offers they respond most. Wyevale uses door drops to target a specific market that regularly attends garden centres and then overlays the data with geodemographics, he added.

New Homebase owner Wesfarmers will end the retailer's partnership with Nectar at the end this year, after a seven-year partnership, to focus on "everyday low prices across a wider range of home and garden improvement products".

Loyalty cards typically offer discounts on selected products, exclusive rewards, free gifts such as drinks and exclusive access to events. Retail consultant Andy Newman of mdj2 said such schemes remain useful for garden centres while the Homebase case is different because involvement in the Nectar scheme is expensive.

"Loyalty schemes are one of the few ways garden centres can communicate directly with customers other than through traditional media," he added. Offers from chains such as Wyevale, Notcutts and Blue Diamond could target customers, he said. "It does work for them, I believe." But he pointed out that schemes are generally quite expensive and admin-heavy, so few retailers are investing further in them or setting up new ones.

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