As with its online and convenience offer, the Bradford based grocer has launched into price matching and a points based loyalty programme much later than its main rivals
Yet again, Morrisons is late to the party. As with its online and convenience offer, the Bradford based grocer has launched into price matching and a points based loyalty programme much later than its main rivals with Match & More. This time however, it has at least arrived with something unique, and unusually for Morrisons, something which will put the cat amongst the pigeons matching not only the rest of the Big Four, but Aldi and Lidl too.
Matching the discounters is an incredibly bold strategy. The combination of a price matching offer with a points based loyalty scheme is a canny move, making the card more desirable, encouraging shoppers to use it more often, and encouraging repeat visits as customers try to fill up their points balance to trigger their £5 voucher. The news comes just days after Sainsbury’s re-based its Brand Match scheme, benchmarking its prices to Asda, and surely Tesco will have to react before long.
The launch also sees Morrisons shift up a gear in terms of customer data gathering. This will allow it to begin communicating with its customers on a more personal and direct basis. However Morrisons decides to use this information, be it through vouchering or more targeted marketing, it will at least aid the retailer in catching up with Tesco and Sainsbury’s and their well-established loyalty offers.
Whether shoppers will be enamoured with the scheme remains to be seen, with a slow rollout initially and such ubiquitous price based marketing out there already, it may take some time for Morrisons to see decent levels of participation, though it already has 500,000 Morrisons Miles card holders. However this will be accelerated by the fact that the only way for shoppers to benefit from price matching, will be for them to join the Match & More scheme.
While it is designed to reduce the need to shop around, customers will need to have confidence in Morrisons, and plan to shop there on a regular basis in order to benefit. Shoppers who are prepared to visit multiple retailers may struggle to see the advantage of paying more at Morrisons today, then being rewarded at a later date. However it will at least enable Morrisons to instil a level of confidence that customers won’t be worse off shopping there, and hopefully stem the flow of people switching away.
While the scheme is innovative and should be commended, there is more to the Morrisons saga than competitive pricing. One has to wonder if the retailer still only sees the discounters as rivals on price, as product quality is firmly on the agenda with Aldi and Lidl. While matching the discounters has the potential to make waves, it is no silver bullet for Morrisons, and it must address the numerous issues it has with shopping environment and availability in order to mount a full turnaround.
- Andrew Stevens is senior retail analyst at Verdict