There's always something to collect at Albert Heijn

A success story on how to implement a new long-term loyalty strategy

There's always something to collect at Albert Heijn

We’ve been busy filling the cabinets of millions of shoppers with high-quality vivo | Villeroy & Boch Group rewards. In 2014, premium retailer Albert Heijn, the Dutch market leader, took the decision to partner with BrandLoyalty. Its aim was not to increase the number of shoppers coming to its stores, but instead to have ‘top tier’ customers spend more to reverse the downturn in the average basket size.

Bringing the 'top tier' shoppers into focus

Albert Heijn was standing strong in its top-of-the-market position but found that the competition was gradually catching up with it. In 2012 Jumbo, its biggest competitor driven by an ‘every day low price’ strategy, had a big market share increase of around 4.4%, while discounter Lidl gained around 2.2%. In comparison, Albert Heijn saw almost no growth in its market share. The shoppers of Albert Heijn started to share their wallets over multiple retailers and went to Jumbo or Lidl for cheaper alternatives. To prevent even more customers making the switch, Albert Heijn started to change its strategy by focusing on its ‘top tier’ shoppers

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Handing out more glasses than the number of inhabitants in the country at that time

One of the solutions adopted by Albert Heijn has been a series of successful short-term loyalty programmes, with the majority based around the vivo | Villeroy & Boch brand. vivo | Villeroy & Boch combines traditional quality with modern and functional design for everyday use, thereby perfectly fitting in with Albert Heijn’s brand properties. The first programme with Vivo crystal glasses in 2014-2015 resulted in 17.2 million items sold, which is more than the number

of inhabitants in the Netherlands. Three more successful vivo | Villeroy & Boch programmes followed with knives, cutlery, cookware and ovenware, showing that the brand has been completely embraced by Albert Heijn and its shoppers. Sales and market share grew strongly due to a huge loyalty promotion with crystal glass in Q4. This brought new shoppers into our stores and gave existing shoppers more confidence in Albert Heijn.

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Sales in Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 were strongly influenced by a huge loyalty promotion with crystal glassware. This brought new shoppers into our stores and gave existing shoppers more confidence in Albert Heijn. We grew both market share and sales as a result of our partnership with BrandLoyalty. Dick Boer, former CEO of Albert Heijn
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Partnership and co-creation are key to success

After each successful programme the partnership was strengthened and cooperation during the programme execution became more intensive. This included Albert Heijn sharing customer data, enabling us to improve estimates and programme results. But this partnership goes way further than the results of each single programme. Along with BrandLoyalty, Albert Heijn has been able to map out a long-term loyalty strategy, including several programmes to drive frequency, basket size and market share, while improving NPS score and creating more loyal shoppers. In addition to vivo | Villeroy & Boch, Albert Heijn has run four loyalty programmes with Royal VKB (storage, outdoor, dinnerware and Healthy to Go), as well as with a range of drinking glasses from blomus.

Building touchpoints across the entire programme journey

During the relationship with BrandLoyalty, Albert Heijn has built a winning activation strategy which has included activity before, during and after the programme.

Before the programme Albert Heijn places covered-up displays to tease shoppers about the upcoming programme. At the start, websites explain the programme in detail. Endorsements from experts often reinforce the quality, such as with the first vivo | Villeroy & Boch Group brand programme where Dutch wine expert Harold Hamersma made a short video explaining the glassware range.

In the middle of the programme, store managers ensure that in-store POS material such as banners, tailor-made displays, entrance gate decorations and even the screen of the self-scan units make shoppers aware and encourage involvement.

Towards the end of the programme, Albert Heijn announces the impending deadline to stimulate shoppers to complete the collection and make the most of their reward stamps before it is too late.

After the programme ends, the hype is continued on social media through ‘share, like and comment’ competitions for full sets of reward prizes.

About Albert Heijn

Albert Heijn is the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, it was founded in Oostzaan in 1887. The retailer has supermarkets, small hypermarkets and convenience stores operating in the Netherlands and Belgium, with around 958 stores in total. Since the merger of Delhaize with Ahold in 2016, a new market has been opened up, with currently around 6,500 stores in Europe and the USA.

 

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