March 9, 2021 - System

Supermarkets replace plastic loyalty cards by apps

More and more, supermarkets are going digital. The plastic loyalty card is slowly but surely replaced by an app in your smartphone. The advantages? The apps contain extras that make shopping more enjoyable. Think of tasty recipes, digital shopping lists, an overview of your purchases, folders, newsletters … In addition, promotions and discounts obviously make the apps very attractive. Are they a safe bet?

More comfort, less privacy

Our CEO Bart De Waele comments on this ongoing trend: "The fact that supermarkets are turning to apps is a good thing. When there was only a physical (plastic) loyalty card, it only registered what you bought in the physical store. There was no link with your - initially still limited - online purchasing behavior. These were two separate data streams. But, as customers buy more online, partly due to COVID-19, it no longer makes sense to stick with that loyalty card. Online and physical purchases should be connected, and an app makes that possible."

“The fact that supermarkets are turning to apps is a good thing.”

Bart De Waele

CEO Duke & Grace

Convenience versus privacy

By this approach, supermarkets are able to provide personalized advice, tailored recommendations and help customers with their shopping. "That leads to so-called convenience, (buying) comfort and ease for those customers", says De Waele. But if you leave data in the app, you are handing over a piece of your privacy, right? "In exchange for those data, you get a discount, a targeted offer, perhaps a nice surprise. If you know what you're giving away and what you're getting in return, then there is no privacy problem."

“If you know what you're giving away and what you're getting in return, then there is no privacy problem.”

Bart De Waele

CEO Duke & Grace

However, this must be an agreement between the customer and the supermarket - and no one else. So, selling data to a third party is absolutely not allowed. "Companies, and therefore also supermarkets, don't venture into that anymore. If you leave data in your supermarket's app, it has to be on the basis of trust. Supermarkets realize that", says De Waele. And according to our supermarkets, it’s a safe bet indeed!

Plastic cards remain valid 

Are you at a disadvantage if you haven't downloaded the app (yet)? Not necessarily, as it turns out. The loyalty card will still exist at the supermarkets that already had one. In some supermarkets, you might have to do something to get the same benefits with just a physical card. For example, those who want to enjoy the benefits from the MyDelhaize app with their loyalty card must register at the store, on the website or through customer service.


Want to learn more about the privacy debate?

In the 15th edition of our trend report, Matthias Dobbelaere-Welvaert talks about how we guard our personal details closely, yet enjoy relevant content. Read the whole interview here: 

Discover our trend report

This article was published on Het Laatste Nieuws on January 17, 2021.

PS: Having a hard time keeping up with the fast evolving field of online marketing? From now on, you can receive an online marketing digest on a monthly basis. Subscribe to our Online Marketing Newsletter!

Bart De Waele

Bart De Waele

Founder & Executive Board Member

Justine Trio

Justine Trio

Marketing Copywriter

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