Tesco announces changes to Clubcard scheme
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Inflation has reached an all time high, forcing millions of Britons to seek out easy ways to cut costs while protecting their cash. Loyalty cards are a great way to redeem points and money-off while making purchases, yet a fifth of people fail to use them. To help you make the most of your rewards cards, Express.co.uk spoke to Pete Howroyd, CEO & Founder of Swapi, who revealed his exclusive guide to unlocking all of the potential savings on offer.
Loyalty schemes give customers an incentive to shop at certain retailers by offering discounts, promotional prices and redeemable points to spend in store and online.
But while rewards schemes sound like an easy way to save, Britons are missing out on an average of £257 a year by failing to use them while shopping, according to research by Virgin Red.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Pete Howroyd, CEO and founder of Swapi said: “A little goes a long way for those with tight purse strings, and with more opportunities for customised, exclusive promotions and additional reward values – the savvy shopper can soften the brunt of weekly purchases.
“Loyalty cards are available in a variety of different and widely used forms, so signing up to as many as possible is a surefire way to maximise savings.”
Which rewards cards offer the best savings?
Many loyalty schemes come with both positives and negatives, and recent changes to expiry dates have widened the gap between people that do make use of rewards schemes, and those that don’t.
Pete said: “Boots, for example, may have lost some infrequent, large purchase customers due to slashing their loyalty point expiration from two years to just one, while the Tesco shopper may enjoy accessing Clubcard price slashes as part of a current campaign trying to drive sign-ups and repeat consumers.
“Equally, the budding eBay user may find more value in Sainsbury’s, as Nectar offers deals at both supermarkets and the eBay marketplace.”
Spending enough to garner significant loyalty savings largely depends on individual shopping habits and lifestyle, for example, larger family shops will naturally have a higher chance of purchasing bonus point products or gaining additional points from higher spend thresholds.
Supermarket loyalty schemes also often include earnings at their convenience stores and petrol stations, meaning for those who commute, significant savings can be made.
Flight purchases are often rewarded with a fair amount of loyalty earnings in the form of air miles, although this form of loyalty is currently quite inflexible, and can be redundant for those that rarely fly.
Large purchases, such as appliances, will naturally accrue large amounts of points, however, this often stays relative on a points-per-pound basis.
Pete said: “It’s not so much the type of product you buy that makes for the biggest savings, but rather the loyalty potential on specific products, such as those included in loyalty reward-based promotions.”
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How to use loyalty schemes to their full potential
Maximising your savings through rewards-based schemes can only be done if you have your card or user details to hand.
The good news is, loyalty cards are becoming more consumer-centric, with plenty of new technology, apps, and e-wallets now offering consumers more flexibility in their loyalty earnings than ever before.
There are now various ways to earn loyalty points, redeem lost points, and access exclusive deals that can make significant impacts on the effectiveness of loyalty systems – all of which can be done through the Swapi app.
According to Pete, the best ways to maximise your savings with rewards schemes include:
Not limiting yourself to one brand
He said: “Loyalty schemes across the board come with their specific benefits and drawbacks, but you can get the biggest bang for your buck by knowing when certain brands have loyalty promotions or specific deals you can take advantage of.”
Keeping an eye on live deals
Supermarkets use gathered data to understand individual shopping habits at increasingly granular levels.
According to Pete, the consumer can then take advantage of this by accessing deals relevant to them.
To increase the likelihood of relevant deals, engage with digital loyalty apps as much as possible.
Shopping in-store isn’t always better
Physically, earnings in high streets, leisure parks, or supermarkets will be influenced by accessibility.
However, online earnings can nearly always be optimised if you spend some time looking at various schemes and seasonal loyalty promotions.
Always read the fine print
Expiration dates in the fine print of loyalty schemes have long caught out even the savviest of shoppers, but what should you look for to avoid losing out?
Pete explained: “With a traditionally long-winded and complex process for redeeming lost points, many customers do not go to the effort to claim them back.
“One of Swapi’s core missions is to make the redemption of lost and expired points far easier for the consumer, after all, they’ve earned them.”
Another fine print issue that catches out some customers is the minimum spend to both accrue points, and to spend them.
With some schemes taking a long time to accrue the necessary spend value, consumers can become disheartened with loyalty offerings and eventually forget about them.
Pete said: “With £47 of unspent loyalty in the average UK adult’s wallet, it’s clear that ‘minimum spend’ is harming effective loyalty use.”
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