An observant Woolworths customer claims the supermarket has adopted a "cheeky" new tactic to encourage shoppers to sign up for their loyalty scheme.
Jarrod shared how a garlic chicken product he has always purchased from Woolies has suddenly changed in price. He said they have "always been 2 for $15" but now that price is only available to those who are Everyday Rewards card members.
"It's not like it's additional specials for members, they are replacing specials that already existed," he said.
The customer expressed outrage that non-members are now expected to pay $9.50 for each packet with the deal now exclusive only to loyalty members. He said he feels for elderly customers that don't know how to use the Everyday Rewards card and criticised the new pricing tactic coming on the back of the retailer's $1.62 billion profit announced last week.
"It's the deception at play that's the problem," Jarrod said.
Disgruntled customers unimpressed by loyalty scheme changes
Woolworths has been quick to implement changes to their loyalty scheme after making an announcement last week, with customers already noticing the changes in stores.
The Everyday Rewards program gives members exclusive access to cheaper prices on a range of products, with other customers having to pay a different price for the same product — much like the above example from Jarrod.
Despite the enticement of cheaper prices, many customers are reluctant to sign-up to the loyalty schemes due to fears they have to share their data, with consumer advocacy organisation CHOICE reminding shoppers "loyalty programs aren't free" due to this.
Woolworths respond to 'deception' claims
The supermarket said it only began to implement the "first phase" of the changes to the loyalty scheme "with a select number of introductory offers".
"We plan to continually evolve our Member Pricing program with more Member Pricing offers to be introduced across Woolworths supermarkets, Woolworths Metro and BIG W, in the coming weeks," a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
Why are supermarkets pushing for shoppers to sign up to loyalty schemes?
Aussies are being forced to shop across multiple supermarkets in a bid to save money and loyalty schemes help supermarkets encourage shoppers to come back to their stores over competitors.
"Having a program that's stickier than others works better for a retailer," consumer expert Gary Mortimer told Yahoo News last week. "If you're able to create a program that creates a level of exclusivity and better value for your members, they're more likely to shop with you and stick with you."
Signing up to loyalty schemes comes with benefits. As well as accruing points, supermarkets become aware of your favourite brands and what products you repeatedly purchase. They can notify you of deals and specials tailored to your preferences, helping shoppers save.
Yahoo News Australia reached out to Woolworths for comment.
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