Tesco Clubcard is the loyalty card of leading British supermarket chain Tesco. The Clubcard scheme operates in the UK, Ireland, Hungary, Poland and several other countries, and in the UK market in particular has been highly successful, with over 15 million members as of 2010.
In 1993 Terry Leahy asked the Tesco Marketing team to investigate the potential of loyalty cards. In the past Tesco had run Green Shield Stamps as a promotional tool which rewarded people for visits and spend but gained no customer information. The initial team led by Grant Harrison, researched programmes across the world and developed a proposal which showed that a loyalty card could be very effective. The key change since the days of Green Shield Stamps was the ability to cost effectively track individual customer behaviour using a magnetic stripe card. In 1994 Harrison attended a conference where Clive Humby from marketing firm dunnhumby was speaking. Dunnhumby was already working with clients such as Cable & Wireless and BMW, and Harrison approached them to help with the loyalty card project. Successful trials throughout 1994 led to the Tesco board asking Harrison and Humby to present to the annual Board strategy session. The first response from the board came from Tesco's then-Chairman Lord MacLaurin, who said "What scares me about this is that you know more about my customers after three months than I know after 30 years."
David Sainsbury, then chairman of J Sainsbury plc, rejected the idea of introducing a similar scheme. However, the effect that Clubcard had on Sainsbury's sales led to the reversal of that decision, with the launch of the Sainsbury's Reward Card in June 1996.
After two slight amendments to the design of cards in the 1990s by Evans Hunt Scott's creative team, the scheme had a major relaunch in 2005 with all members being sent personalised cards and key fobs which could be scanned at the checkout, rather than swiped. The scheme was again relaunched in 2008 with all seven million members once again being sent new design cards and key fobs. The Tesco Clubcard scheme was introduced into the Republic of Ireland almost immediately after Tesco's acquisition of Power Supermarkets Limited (now Tesco Ireland), and operates in similar fashion. It is an extension of the UK scheme, not a separate scheme, so Irish Clubcards can be used in UK stores.
In 2007, Tesco Clubcard was first introduced in all Tesco Extra stores in Malaysia and later in all store formats. In Malaysia, every two Ringgit spent earn 1 Clubcard point. Within two weeks of the launch of Clubcard in all Tesco stores in Malaysia, there were over 800,000 applications.
The Tesco Clubcard scheme was introduced into Polish Tesco Stores in 2008, and SR Slovakia at the end of 2009. As of September 2010, these markets have 1.5m and 850,000 cardholders respectively. Though operating in a similar fashion to the UK scheme it is independent, so Irish and British Clubcards can not be used in Slovak stores. In Slovakia every one euro spent is 1 Clubcard point (excluding petrol). Clubcard was launched in the Czech Republic and Hungary in August and September 2010.
When shopping at Tesco or using Tesco services (such as services from Tesco Finance), Clubcard holders receive one point for every £1 (1 point for every €1 in Ireland) they spend. Holders can also get extra points on special offers and receive one "Green Clubcard Point" for every carrier bag they re-use (England and Scotland only), as part of Tesco's green initiative. These points are stored and built up and at least four times a year (there are sometimes "surprise mailings") the holder receives a statement and vouchers to the value of points they have saved. (They have to have saved at least 150 points to receive a voucher). Vouchers can be spent instore on shopping, online on grocery home shopping or direct, or used on Clubcard Rewards where they can be worth three times their face value on selected Rewards in the U.K and up to four times their face value in Ireland. These can be used to obtain discounted day trips, magazines, hotel breaks, restaurant tokens and other offers.
As part of the Clubcard 2 launch, it was announced that, from 17 August 2009, all instore and online purchases would attract double points (2 points per £1). Reports indicate that this initiative was successful in increasing the number of active cardholders from 14 million to 15 million in the market year 2009/10. However, this reverted to 1 point for £1 spent at the end of 2011.
Clubcard holders are also entitled to free access to the Clubcard clubs which include: baby and toddler club. There is also a facility to save vouchers to be sent near Christmas, similar to a Christmas savings scheme.
Green Clubcard points
Green Clubcard points are earned when customers re-use bags when shopping in store (one point per bag, except Wales and Northern Ireland), or opt out of receiving bagged products when shopping online (one point per ten items delivered). They can also be earned by recycling a limited number of products, currently mobile phones and ink cartridges, through Tesco-branded recycling services. Once earned, Green Clubcard points are equal in value to normal points, but are listed separately on receipts and Clubcard statements.
Formerly know as the 'Double Up', then relaunched as the 'The Clubcard Voucher Exchange'. The Clubcard Boost is the new name for Clubcard Rewards and the Clubcard Voucher Exchange; it was launched in 2013. The Clubcard Boost in-stores works the same way as the previous schemes (for every £5 in Clubcard Vouchers, customers receive £10 in Clubcard Boost tokens. As with previous schemes there are only selected departments included: Baby & Toddler - including Nappies & Wipes, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Clothing, Opticians, and Cook, Home & Dine. It has been said that extra Seasonal departments will be added at Christmas and Summer events. Another change to the scheme is that it now runs all year round the current departments are valid up to and including 31 December 2013, Boost tokens are then valid for 6 months after the date they are issued.
Customers can still 'boost' their Clubcard vouchers to use for days out, restaurants and holidays by going to the Clubcard website. Examples of available brands are Monarch Airlines scheduled flights, Hungry Horse restaurants and Merlin Attractions.
Services that take part in the Clubcard scheme:
- Tesco stores
- Tesco Petrol stations
- Tesco Direct
- Tesco Bank
- Tesco Telecoms
- The Nutri Centre @ Tesco
- AVIS - Earning Points Ended 1 Feb 2009
- E.ON UK
- Marriott Hotels - Earning Points Ended 1 April 2008
- National Tyres
- Nationwide Autocentres
Some Clubcard users[who?] have concerns about the information Tesco and dunnhumby hold and what they do with it. Every time a Clubcard is used, a copy of the store shopped in, products purchased and price paid are stored against the Clubcard account. Applicants are asked to provide personal details such as name, address and children. Tesco have stated that this is to help them pick vouchers that are relevant to the holder and also monitor trends to help product availability.
Mobile phone applications
Tesco have recently launched both an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android (operating system) and a Nokia Ovi applications so points can be collected by presenting a barcode on the handset instead of a keyfob or card. This application may in future offer more functionality including point balances and possibly special offers. An unofficial Android application is also available.
- "About us". www.dunnhumby.com. dunnhumby Limited. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Mesure, Susie (2003-10-10). "Loyalty card costs Tesco £1bn of profits - but is worth every penny". The Independent.
- Randall, Jeff (1996-06-23). "Sainsbury plays its loyalty card". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers).
- "CZECH REPUBLIC: Tesco to launch Clubcard programme". Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- "Marriott Rewards Members can earn points with partner programmes". www.marriott.co.uk. Marriott International Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- Rory Cellan-Jones (2007-06-18). "A journey into personal privacy". BBC News on bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-06-09. "Privacy campaigners are convinced that big companies, from Google to Tesco, know too much about us - and are not careful enough with our data....While call centre staff don't have access to your data, details of all purchases on Clubcard are stored for up to two years."
- "Nick Lansley's Technology for Tesco.com Blog". techfortesco.blogspot.com. Nick Lansley. 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- "Tesco Clubcard - Android App on AppBrain". appbrain.com. AppBrain. 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-09.