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The Contra Costa Times reports that Albertsons, which used to make a point of the fact that it did not have a loyalty card program requiring customers to belong in order to get discounts, is now implementing just such a program in its Northern California stores.

An Albertsons spokesperson told the paper that “by using the buying history profile, it will start offering deeper discounts to customers on the products they buy most, rather than across-the-board specials that aren't as cheap.”

However, opponents of the program object to it on privacy grounds, as well as suggesting that it will just offer “the same deals dressed up differently.”

According to the paper, “The new program also will allow shoppers to use their cards to get discounts at Northern California restaurants, hotels and car rental agencies. It also will occasionally give shoppers 5 percent store discounts after they buy $250 worth of food.”
KC's View:
ven if the dollar amount of the total promotions and discounts offered by Albertsons is exactly the same under a card program as it was back in the old pre-card days, the company is wise to offer the savings to regular and frequent shoppers as opposed top cherry-pickers just looking for the sale items.

That said, let us repeat the point we always make about loyalty marketing: it shouldn’t be a discount program. Otherwise, it is just a targeted couponing scheme that doesn’t really prove to consumers how loyal the supermarket is to them.