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Waitrose Loyalty Scheme Overhaul Sparks Criticism

The Waitrose shop front in Wells, Somerset in the UK

Waitrose has faced criticism for modifying its myWaitrose loyalty scheme, leading to disappointment among shoppers used to receiving weekly discount vouchers. 

Previously, members enjoyed two weekly vouchers for in-store or online discounts, sent out every Wednesday and valid until the following Tuesday. 

However, following an update to the terms and conditions on February 14, the supermarket has shifted to sending these personalised offers "from time-to-time," with no guarantee of weekly vouchers. 

The intervals between voucher distributions could now extend up to four weeks.

However, Waitrose assures this adjustment aligns with "industry standards" and aims to impact shoppers minimally.

A Waitrose spokesman said: “While the vast majority of members will see personalised vouchers as usual every week, there may be short breaks between these. But don’t worry, they’ll be back soon.

“Our loyalty scheme is used by millions of customers, with benefits including free hot drinks and exclusive discounts across hundreds of products.”

He added: “We’ve also made improvements, like giving customers the ability to reselect their personalised vouchers if they change their mind, or an item is out of stock.”

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Additionally, improvements have allowed customers to reselect vouchers, addressing issues like stock unavailability.

Customers are moving to M&S

This shift in Waitrose's loyalty strategy has prompted some customers to explore alternatives, notably M&S, a direct competitor in the upscale grocery segment. 

Both companies command a 3.8 percent market share, yet Waitrose has experienced a slight decline from 3.9 percent last year, while M&S has seen an increase from 3.6 percent. 

Waitrose is taking steps to regain customer loyalty, including a £30m investment to reduce prices on 200 of its own-brand items and plans for further price reductions later in the year. 

These efforts reflect the grocery chain's commitment to maintaining its competitive edge and customer base amid evolving market dynamics.

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