High street retailer Marks and Spencer launched their loyalty scheme ‘Sparks’ in 2015, but customer feedback branded it confusing and hard to use. Even CEO Steve Rowe himself admitting it needed “substantial improvement”.
Sparks has now been relaunched as a digital-first loyalty scheme offering members instant rewards. For example, one customer at every store will get their shopping for free each week, and there will also be cash giveaways and smaller rewards like free packets of Percy Pigs. The scheme also has increased the number of charities that members can choose to send their M&S donations to.
YouGov Profiles data indicates that 16% of the population holds a Sparks card, increasing to 43% of those who shop mainly at M&S. Nearly half (45%) of M&S customer are aged over 60 – a group which is more likely to be a member of loyalty programmes (84% versus 68% of the wider population), more likely to have joined membership schemes to benefit from discounts (68% versus 56%), and more likely to donate to charity regularly (31% versus 21%).
Indeed, new YouGov BrandIndex data shows that customer satisfaction of M&S has sky-rocketed since the scheme launched on the 9th of July. Brand satisfaction of M&S customers grew 15.7 points in the week following the launch, while Recommend scores also grew 16.5 points (whether someone would recommend a brand to a friend or not).
Customers are not just more satisfied with M&S and more likely to recommend the brand, but are also more likely to shop there - suggesting the retailer has achieved its aim of connecting with its customer base. Consideration scores grew 17.1 points between the 11th and 19th July (whether someone would consider purchasing from the brand in future).
By focusing on ease of use, clearer and more frequent discounts and a better charity links, M&S demonstrates that it understands the motivations and desires of its core customer base. The scheme was designed for M&S’s most engaged customers and while not every person that shops at M&S will become a member, the relaunched Sparks card has clearly had a tangible positive effect which should help to strengthen its customer base during the current uncertain retail climate.
This article previously appeared in City A.M.