Coles hits back after Woolworths releases report claiming shoppers would earn rewards twice as fast under its new scheme

Coles has gone on the offensive following rival Woolworths’ decision to overhaul its rewards program and cut its alliance with Qantas by highlighting how its Flybuys scheme offers rewards points on every product people buy in its stores.

FlybuysColes’ response comes as loyalty becomes the latest battleground in the war between Australia’s two biggest supermarkets, with Woolworths announcing it is moving to a rewards system to offer shoppers discounts, although limiting the amount of products they can actually earn rewards points on.

However Woolworths has pointed to research it commissioned from Monash Business School which claimed its shoppers would earn $10 of rewards twice as quickly as they would at Coles.

Woolworths’ decision has sparked a social media backlash from some people who said they would no longer shop with the supermarket as it does not offer Frequent Flyer rewards.

It supported its decision to change the loyalty program with research which concluded that shoppers at Woolies would earn a $10 reward every 7.4 weeks, “less than half the estimated time to earn the equivalent reward from the Coles Flybuys scheme,” according to the report.

But Adam Story, general manager Flybuys and loyalty at Coles, attacked Woolworths’ plans to only offer points on selected items.

“At Coles, Flybuys members earn rewards on every dollar they spend in our supermarkets and fuel and liquor stores – not just the specific products we want them to buy. They can also earn points even faster through frequent bonus offers. On average Flybuys members are earning more than 2 points per dollar spent at Coles,” said Story.

“Flybuys gives members the choice to earn rewards in thousands of places when buying some of Australia’s biggest brands including Kmart, Target, AGL, Telstra, OPSM, Medibank, NAB as well as our own supermarkets and fuel and liquor outlets.

“When redeeming their points, members can also choose from hundreds of reward options, including using Flybuys dollars to pay for their shopping or to receive gift cards, products, lifestyle experiences and travel. Our members clearly tell us that they want choice of rewards so they can redeem when and how they choose.”

Coles is also quietly noting its alliance with airline Etihad.

Yesterday loyalty experts have warned that Woolworths will have to dig deep to convince consumers of the value of the new rewards scheme  after angering them with the the decision to cut ties with Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Simon Canning


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