Sainsbury’s trials new Nectar scheme

5 April 2018

From today, Sainsbury’s is trialling a new Nectar scheme across the Isle of Wight. The new system will reward loyalty, but not simply based on how much you spend in a Sainsbury’s store.

The scheme will also monitor how frequently you shop at Sainsbury’s and how long you’ve been shopping with the retailer. The more loyal you are, the more value you will get from the scheme.

“The thinking at Sainsbury’s goes like this,” says Anika Newjoto, editor of loyalty point specialist website Shopper Points. “Giving a flat ‘one Nectar point per £1 spent’ does not reflect your personal loyalty to the supermarket. If you spend £30 per week – but that is your entire food bill – then you are more loyal than someone who has a £200 weekly food bill, but only spends half of it at Sainsbury’s.”

This is because Sainsbury’s will look at what a shopper has bought to check whether it is a full shop or not. For example, if fresh fruit or cleaning products are missing, it will assume that the shopper who has spent £100 a week has bought these elsewhere.

How the new scheme works

You will need to download a new Nectar smartphone app, which stores your card in it, so you’ll need to scan the app at the till.

No Nectar points will be earned based on how much you spend. Instead, the app will select various bonus points offers for you based on what you frequently purchase. The average customer will have nine offers at any one time.

You can reject offers if they don’t suit you, meaning over time the offers you see should be on exactly the things you want a discount on.

The more you shop in Sainsbury’s – and scan that app at the till – then the more generous the offers will become. So one person may earn 50 Nectar points for purchasing a loaf of bread, but another more loyal customer may earn 100 points.

“We are excited to be trialling this new Nectar scheme, which gives more rewards to our loyal customers,” says Helen Hunter, director of innovation at Sainsbury’s. 

“By giving them the option to choose the products on which they earn Nectar and awarding points based on loyalty, we’ll be able to show our most valuable customers how important they are to us.”

If you don’t have a smartphone, then you will receive your offers in a weekly email and you’ll need to scan your Nectar card when you shop.

What about my existing points?

Nectar points themselves aren’t changing, so 500 points will still be worth £2.50 and existing balances won’t be affected. It’s just the way you earn those points that is changing, and only on the Isle of Wight for now.

“We’ll be actively listening to customers during the trial so that we can shape new Nectar as we learn,” says Miss Hunter.

Is it a good idea?

“My concern is that Sainsbury’s is assuming that shoppers are willing to spend time going through the app before every shopping trip to see what offers are there,” says Miss Newjoto. 

“I don’t think life works like that. People have busy lives and I’m not sure they want to add an extra routine to their day to day tasks.”

The other problem is that new shoppers – who will only receive small points offers until their loyalty builds – may be put off because the initial rewards are so small.

The trial is set to run indefinitely on the Isle of Wight, but whether it ever makes it off the island remains to be seen.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Absolute RubbishI live on the Isle of Wight and up until now have used Sainsbury's - particlarly the garage for fuel, with the added bonus that I could earn Nectar points for everything I spend. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE! You can no longer get points on fuel and you have to 'nominate' what products you 'think' you are going to buy to get points awarded on, using an app or via email.This is basically an attempt by Sainsburys for thier customers to do thier stock control for them! I find it so annoying that I don't bother shopping there anymore - there is a new ASDA down the road and they are cheaper!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have been a loyal Sainsbury’s shopper for all my weekly shopping for for as long as I can remember. I have a weekly shop delivered and “top up” in store with fresh fruit, vegetables and many other items also on a weekly basis.. I also visit my local store at other times for odds and ends as necessary. Also all our fuel for two vehicles is bought at Sainsbury’s. If away on holiday I will also shop at a local Sainsbury’s, so I would consider myself a very loyal Sainsbury’s customer. This morning my shopping was delivered as normal, the spend was £134.70 and not one Nectar Point under this new scheme. If this so called trial is to continue I will move all our shopping to Tesco’s. If Sainsbury’s think I have the time to tailor my shopping to chase their Nectar Points they are sadly deluded. This new scheme is absolute rubbish.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

TOTALLY TOTALLY TOTALLY against the new nectar card that we are being forced to sign up to . What are Salisbury,s thinking of, don,t they want customers, who has the time to check websites for weekly deals, what about people who don,t have computers (on the island quite a lot) People do shop around at different stores to get the better deals, nobody does their weekly shop in one store anymore. Well if they don,t value my custom by rewarding me on everything I buy whether it's £1 or £100, I will take my business elsewhere where they do

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I think it is a terrible idea, Why make things complicated? It will put off loyal customers not encourage them.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What about all those shoppers who don't use smartphones? Mine, for example, is a BlackBerry smartphone, so although "smart" it would need a specialist BlackBerry app for Nectar. Also, none of my friends (including me too) NEVER use their smart phones to pay for their shopping as they do not trust the technology. I think Sainsbury's will lose a significant number of customers if this plan goes ahead.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Because I do not have a Sainsburys store near by weekly shopping is done locally. However we do a monthly shop and lunch but this now looks as though we will suffer on nectar points with the new scheme. We would be better off going to tescos and points there.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've shopped exclusively at Sainsbury's for the past 15 years, I'm a Nectar card holder and held the previous Reward card too. I don't live in the Isle of Wight but the most important question here (for me at least) is will past loyalty count for nothing once this new scheme begins? Having to download an app and scan it at the till isn't very appealing either, what's wrong with swiping the card? There's an assumption here that people don't mind installing these apps but I know I do. They're intrusive and you always have concerns over how your information is being shared and stored. An app is less secure than a swipe card since it requires access to contents on your smartphone and needs an internet connection to function. Will the app be usable with other Nectar partners too or just Sainsbury's? I like the idea of loyalty being more closely monitored and better tailored rewards but if we are all reset to 0 loyalty points at the start of the new scheme I'll be very disappointed and will be writing in to let them about it.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What about the people that do not use a mobile phone in the way that millennial's do (with it stuck to their cheek all day long) , other than for making a call or sending a text? Not everybody wants to waste £35-£40-£50-£60 per month on a phone bill just to check Nectar point scores

Don't like it

It doesn't work. I select all items. Do the shop and then the offers are still showing on the app days later as not being used. It's total rubbish.

Getting the points credited

Last week the points I'd selected on my email did not appear on my bill. This week I asked the assistant why (having made purchases from this week's selection) and she said they were added over night. I cannot find any record of this. Have they been added. I do not have a smart phone with apps! How do I get them?

I don't have a smartphone

I am of the older generation who does not have, or want, a smartphone!
It annoys me greatly the way companies just ASSUME everyone has a smartphone. They don't.

So, it looks like my best option is going to be to ditch Sainsburys and to shop in ASDA or Lidl instead.

about the way you have changed the nectar points

This is a rubbish idea as not every one has a smart phone to use this this app , not all of us oaps are using computers and smart phone , i think this idea should be scrapped , , i think this idea will lose Salisbury a lot of customer's and turn to LIDL and ASDA . so please think of the old people .

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