Thursday, June 5, 2008

Books and cards: an update

Further to my engaging treatise on loyalty in the Aussie book retailing space, there's been some movement. Angus & Robertson, which incidentally failed in its recent bid to buy out the Borders chain in Australia has recently jumped into the loyalty space with its own program. It appears to be a fairly standard spend-$100-get-a-$5-voucher deal, similar to Dymocks Booklover, which rewards you at the same 5% level without the need for the $100 threshold.

A&R ignored my sage advice that they were previously creating a point of difference via their mouth-watering $5 discount tables. Presumably that wasn't doing enough for them, but I wonder if this program is more a defensive strategy. And interestingly, A&R has used as its platform the graphic card interface promoted by NZ-based Visible Results. The neat looking technology rewrites the loyalty entitlements and other marketing info on the loyalty card at each successive visit to the retailer. While this technology has been bouncing around for some years now (Mobil Max, an early competitor to Fly Buys in New Zealand was among the first in 1998), and the Brazin Pulse program is the most "visible" Australian client, it's curious that Dymocks moved on from this technology in favour of a traditional card format when it revised Booklover a few years back. I don't know the ins and outs but presumably A&R is happy to jump into a format that didn't appear to suit its competitor. Can't wait till the next chapter!

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