UK Retailers Count on Affordability, Omnichannel Sales to Foster Customer Loyalty


With consumer sentiment at an all-time low due to a worsening cost-of-living crisis, devising strategies to help United Kingdom customers shop and save money seems to be at the top of retailers’ minds, especially ahead of the annual holiday shopping season.

Read more: BNPL Offers Lifeline as UK Consumer Sentiment Hits All-Time Low

For example, Walgreens-owned health and beauty retailer Boots announced plans this month for its “most affordable Christmas ever” and introduced a new “everyday” range and an extensive program of deals in time for the holiday season.

Boots’ announcement came just two days after the country’s biggest supermarket chain — Tesco — revealed that it has added more than 1,000 products to its price lock scheme, while promising to freeze the price of essential items until 2023.

As well as sharing a commitment to affordability, Tesco and Boots also have a similar approach to loyalty schemes, with Tesco’s Clubcard and Boots’ Advantage Card programs both offering reduced prices for members.

While alternative loyalty schemes focus on rewards, Boots’ and Tesco’s emphasis on savings will have an additional appeal as consumers look to counter the effects of high inflation and rising costs. Both programs allow scheme members to collect points that can be redeemed as vouchers and unlock additional deals.

As PYMNTS research has found, U.K. shoppers are especially keen users of loyalty schemes in grocery stores, with 63% of Brits using at least one grocer’s loyalty program, and 44% spending more at supermarkets that offer one.

See more: What UK Consumers Expect From Their Grocery Shopping Experience

Omnichannel Loyalty Programs

While they might be called Clubcard and Advantage Card, these days, physical cards are no longer the prerequisite proof of membership they once were.

Both the Tesco and Boots loyalty programs also offer mobile apps and integrate into the respective retailers’ eCommerce services, providing customers with integrated, omnichannel loyalty programs.

As observed in the U.K. edition of PYMNTS’ “The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Playbook: UK Edition,” this integrated experience is key because using loyalty and rewards programs is one of only two smartphone-assisted shopping categories in which Brits don’t rank last out of the 11 countries studied.

U.K. customers have not fully embraced smartphone-assisted shopping to the same degree as their peers, but the ability to access loyalty rewards on mobile devices can be especially significant in reducing customer shopping friction and boosting merchants’ chances for conversion.

Read also: 3 in 4 Brits Don’t Use Smartphones to Check Prices, Inventory In-Store

How Loyalty Programs Can Help UK Shoppers Fully Embrace Mobile-Assisted Retail Experiences

Boots, for instance, has been doubling down on its digital and mobile strategy to take advantage of the benefits an omnichannel retail experience has to offer.

In September, the London-based company announced that it would debut an online marketplace, powered by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform Mirakl, next year to enable third-party brands to list their products on the company website. Customers will still be able to collect and use their Boots Advantage Card points in the process.

See more: Boots Launching Online Marketplace as Part of Digital Transformation

In addition to the upcoming launch, the firm has also partnered with Deliveroo and Uber Eats to offer qCommerce delivery to customers as an additional sales channel.

Meanwhile, Tesco, which launched the Whoosh rapid service last year to deliver groceries to customers’ doors in under 60 minutes, has also teamed with Uber Eats to expand its delivery service.

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