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Is Big Data the answer for saturating loyalty cards programs?


Supermarkets are approaching the 10 million mark in rewards membership. Wait a minute, that is nearly half of all Australians over the age of 14. Or, nearly all households. And perilously close to saturation levels.

Now what?

That is a question Roy Morgan has raised when releasing the results of a new survey, even as the market research firm took another stab at promoting its own advanced Big Data analysis product, Helix Personas.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths now have at least 9.5 million Australian consumers, Roy Morgan said. Clearly, most consumers are happy to make this trade, providing personal data in exchange for tangible benefits. But do the corporates make the most of this data?

Best bang for your Big Data!

Hardly, according to Roy Morgan.

“…these loyalty cards can only provide information when scanned, and even then only about in-store consumer activity,,” said Warren Reid, Group Account Manager for Consumer Products at Roy Morgan Research. “So-called ‘Big Data’ really needs to be anchored to deeper, broader consumer profiling and market segmentation to be of any real value.”

This is where Helix Personas comes in. But what is it?

Helix Personas is a classification system for each consumers and communities. It divides the Australian population into 56 personas that are then grouped in seven communities, using a combination of ABS Census data, third party data, and Roy Morgan Single Source and Values Segments. The research firm claims this type of Big Data analysis brings “a multi-dimensional view of customers that reaches far beyond geodemographic modelling” and incorporates such things as attitudes, values and behavioural aspects to provide “psychographic modelling on a grand scale.”

“When anchored to Helix, the information provided during membership registration instantly defines each consumer’s Persona — and therefore his or her likelihood of product preferences, household size, attitudes to in-store and online shopping and media habits,” says Reid.

Woolworths’ Everyday Rewards, a relative newcomer with just three years in the field, has overtaken Coles’ teenaged FlyBuys as the most widely held loyalty card. FlyBuys made a bold bid for growth by increasing the points-per-dollar and trialled a complicated ‘my5’ promotion program. In a year, that helped Coles jumped – Australians with FlyBuys cards grew from just over 1 in 4 (26%) to 1 in 3 (33%). Still, FlyBuys trails Everyday Rewards, which over the same period with a smaller, but significant, rise from 32% to 36%.

What Roy Morgan alludes to – without saying it – is: Big Data analysis might be the future!