Smart shopping that could earn you a good bargain
Posted Wednesday, June 20 2012 at 16:43
Last year, Rebecca Wanjiku flew her brother to South Africa as a gift on an almost free air ticket.
For a flight that costs an average of Sh60,000, she paid about Sh10,000. This is not a rare occurrence for her, yet she is not lucky at competitions. Since 2008, she has been entitled to an annual “free” flight.
She has happily gifted some of these flights to family and friends. Some have been used for business trips that would have otherwise been costly.
Which begs the question, how has she done it? She is simply a brilliant spender. Ms Wanjiku takes advantage of a now marketing scheme in the country — the loyalty card programme.
She is a member of the Flying Blue loyalty programme operated by Kenya Airways, KLM, and other partner carriers.
“I was able to help my brother. I have saved on some of my own trips. I feel nice about this and it makes me want to go back to KQ,” she said.
Such programmes are used by companies to reward and encourage loyalty to certain brands. There is a bevy of loyalty programmes on offer across various sectors in the country.
You can get extra value on every coin you spend by being wise in your spending habits — say by shopping from the same shop and paying using the same card.
Ms Wanjiku has also won a phone through a loyalty programme with one of Kenya’s telecom firms. To add to that, she is piling points every time she shops at Uchumi supermarkets.
Many families and consumers are enrolling into these programmes. Money brings you some industries that you can take advantage of.
Loyalty cards data helps supermarkets develop
Loyalty programmes are not cheap to run. Last year, Nakumatt Supermarket dispensed about Sh420 million in smart card rewards. A further Sh100 million was spent running the scheme.
With such high price tags, one cannot help wondering whether loyalty programmes are driven purely by altruistic motives of giving something back to the consumer.
According to Nakumatt Holdings regional director for strategy and operations, Mr Thiagarajan Ramamurthy, the primary motivation for setting up the Smart card programme was to collect data about customer purchase trends.
This data is then used to ensure that certain products never stock out when demand is expected to be high. The company also shares the data with its suppliers.
“We wanted to know what the customers wanted to buy and when they wanted to buy,” he said.
The data collected since 2003 has been crucial in the development of certain Nakumatt products and services, he said.