News Feature | February 19, 2015

Target, Whole Foods Market Test Strength Of Loyalty Programs

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies
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By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

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Retailer Target has just launched a new loyalty program known as REDperks, according to StreetInsider.com. REDperks is currently available in select markets, and rewards consumers for everyday purchases. Like other loyalty programs, Target gives users points for the dollars they spend at Target stores. However, unlike other retailers, Target actually assigns 10 points to shoppers for every dollar they spend, awarding a 5% off shopping day at 5,000 points. A new app for REDperks popped up in the Apple iTunes store for use on iOS devices, however, the program and app require an invite. At this time, REDperks may only be used on Apple devices. The launch was a quiet one, and wasn't announced via press release.

REDperks is currently in a Beta version, and Target customers can visit the program's website to sign up for an invite. Terms and Conditions for REDperks are available and states that the 5% certificate is applicable in-store or online. Bargain seekers will be happy to know that the 5% can be combined with other transaction discounts including Pharmacy Reward certificates and more. Exclusions include Target Optical, Target Clinic, gift cards, and payments for Target credit cards. At Target.com, the 5% cannot be combined with additional promotional codes. Users who aren't able to currently request an invite will be notified when the program is available in their market.

Target isn't the only retailer to launch a loyalty program this week, with Whole Foods Market recently introducing their first rewards program in 30 years. The retailer began testing the program, known as Whole Foods Market Rewards, in September 2014 in Princeton, New Jersey and the Philadelphia market. Currently, three stores in New Jersey and eight stores in Philadelphia participate in the program. No news on when Market Rewards will roll out to more stores is available at this time.

Like Target, Market Rewards lets users earn and track rewards via an app, however, Market Rewards also features the non-digital plastic card. After receiving the card, shoppers can register their card online, then earn points by shopping at Whole Foods Market stores. Points can be redeemed for rewards and offers, with one possibility being “experiential rewards” such as cooking classes, according to a September 2014 USA Today article. In September, a Whole Foods spokesperson, Michael Silverman, said to Bloomberg that the company “hopes to introduce a national rewards program by late 2015.” Several retail analysts including Forbes, have pointed out Whole Foods Market has been safe by waiting to properly test a loyalty program, and not “burning their resources on faux loyalty.” The retailer recently posted its Q1 results, with a 10% increase in sales.

Whole Foods Market has shown it is invested in technology and innovation to make consumer experiences better lately. The company currently accepts Apple Pay, and also offers online grocery delivery. In May 2014, the retailer announced they would focus on innovation and lower prices to better compete with Trader Joe's and traditional supermarkets for consumer dollars. That announcement came after Whole Foods Market posted low profits in April 2014, and in response, began expanding its digital footprint.