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Woolworths faces protracted battle to maintain loyalty after ditching Qantas deal says expert

Woolworths will have to dig deep and invest heavily for at least six months to regain customer loyalty after announcing it is splitting with Qantas as part of the revamp of its Everyday Rewards Program, according to a loyalty expert.woolworths rewardsThe retailer has triggered a wave of customer outrage over the decision to part with Qantas in a move that will see many members lose unredeemed Qantas Frequent Flyer Points. Woolworths will instead offer members cash discounts as part of the rewards scheme rebranded Woolworths Rewards.

Both Woolworths and Qantas informed their members of the decision in emails on Sunday morning with the social media backlash almost immediate.

woolies complaints frequent flyersChris Doufas, co-founder and managing director of The Loyalty Group, said while travel rewards were not as valued by consumers as more immediate recognition of loyalty such as cash discounts, the loss of the partnership with Australia’s biggest loyalty scheme was going to have deep repercussions.

“People ultimately want to get something back that’s tangible,” Doufas told Mumbrella.

“Flights are generally ranked fifth or sixth as a reward people are seeking, but the problem here is that everyone is interested in Qantas rewards.”

He said Woolworths now faced an uphill battle convincing members that the changes to the scheme were in their best interests and a major investment was now needed to counter the reaction.

“A lot of people are going in on social media and saying they are not going to shop at Woolworths any longer as they can’t earn points,” he said.

“They are going to have to double or triple their points and go hard for the next six months.”

The change to the loyalty program is just the latest move in what has been a turbulent year for Woolworths which has included the departure of CEO Grant O’Brien, chief marketer and former Coles marketing boss Tony Phillips and head of supermarkets marketing Jess Gill.

Simon CanningWoolworths QFF backlash

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