Stephen Cranston Writer & columnist

After writing quite extensively about rewards programmes in my day job at the Financial Mail, I was pleased to receive a report on British loyalty programmes. Of particular interest to us was that it compared the approach of two supermarket chains. One is Sainsbury’s, which has a lot in common with Pick n Pay, including continued involvement by the founding family. It has been a successful user of a loyalty programme called Nectar. It also looked at Aldi, a discount retailer that prefers to reward customers through everyday low prices. There isn’t anything quite like Aldi in SA, but imagine a Shoprite Usave store run by Germans. Loyalty programmes are already well-entrenched in the UK. Even before the term was coined, in the 1960s and ’70s Tesco, a far more downmarket chain than it is now, offered Green Shield Stamps. Stamps were given out at checkouts and put in a book until there were enough stamps to buy, say, a lawnmower. There was a hiatus after Tesco stopped giving these stamp...

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