Sunday, October 14, 2007

Doesn't loyalty deserve more?

America does many things better than here and they seem to have understood the idea of loyalty a bit more than retailers on this side of the pond. I signed up for the Waterstones loyalty card learning that every £1 equals a point. Quite what they add up to is not clear from the literature. Apart from invites to shopping nights and email alerts then only perceivable benefit seems to be to be able to get a copy of the Waterstone’s magazine without having to pay anything for it. But when I pointed this out to the shop assistant he demanded to be referred to the line in the magazine that mentioned the magazine. Why he bothered to fight it is beyond me because at the end of the day the magazine is only a clever attempt to mask a series of adverts presented as reviews and interviews. The Barnes & Noble membership card sounds much better even with an equivalent £12.50 charge and maybe Waterstones could learn about the idea of discount.


Stephen said...

I signed up for this too and it's totally useless (and nobody in their right mind would pay money for the magazine).
I've noticed that Waterstones has gone downhill recently -could be me being snobbish but I remember them being more highbrow in the old days - so this might be a misjudged way of trying to win back customers.

simon quicke said...

I know what you mean about the magazine. I am sure the last time I visited the states I saw both Borders and Barnes & Noble using loyalty cards as a way of getting customers and they offered discount. I think the Borders card has stopped and B&N are obviously charging now but there are real lessons that could be learnt. The problem I have with Waterstones is the stock - it rarely has what you want so they are you to order in or go to the web and to be honest that's where it loses out to chaper online competitors.