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M&S to relaunch Sparks as part of digital first approach

Published
Jul 2, 2020
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A number of retailers are taking the opportunity afforded them by the end of lockdowns around the world to refresh aspects of their business and the latest to do so is Marks & Spencer, which is relaunching its loyalty programme, Sparks.


M&S/Sparks



Loyalty card Sparks will now be “a Digital First loyalty scheme, with a promise that Good Things Happen Every Time You Shop”, it said on Thursday.

As of this time next week, Sparks will offer “a more personalised experience with instant rewards, a wider selection of charities to support and more tailored personal offers, so customers can be confident that good things happen for them and the causes they care about every time they shop with M&S”.

That’s clearly a reflection of two key trends that were seen during the lockdown with consumers becoming more digital, and also wanting to see the businesses they patronise being more altruistic in the wake of the devastation caused by the pandemic.

M&S said direct feedback from over 250,000 members “has shaped the redesigned scheme and over the last month it has been road tested and refined by over 40,000 M&S colleagues across the UK”.

The changes include the end of “elements members found confusing – such as points and sale-access tiers – and introduce new instant rewards to deliver immediate and clearer value for shopping with M&S”.

New features include a guarantee that every week one customer in every UK store will be rewarded with their shopping for free from M&S; giveaways worth thousands of pounds for customers to spend with M&S online or in-store; as well as “smaller customer thank-yous and treats chosen exclusively for them”.

The company said it has “significantly invested in its behind-the-scenes capabilities in order to deliver a better overall experience for customers, with new expertise and leadership across critical areas such as Loyalty, Data Science and Digital Products”.

There will be an updated M&S App with all features of the relaunched scheme fully integrated online. New members can simply download their Sparks card via the App straight to their phone or stored to their M&S online account and start shopping to be in with a chance of an instant reward. Physical cards will continue to be available, “but the best and most personal experience of the relaunched Sparks scheme will be available through the App and on marksandspencer.com”.

“This supports the clear acceleration of customers turning to shopping online in recent months which M&S, along with the wider retail sector, has experienced among its customers,” it explained. In fact, more than 365,000 existing customers shopped M&S.com for the first-time during lockdown, and the retailer has seen over 700,000 new downloads of its App since March.

Jeremy Pee, Chief Digital & Data Officer said: “Sparks is a vital part of how we communicate with over seven million of our most engaged M&S shoppers, and we have designed this relaunch around them. With a Digital First approach, it’s simpler and easier to use but also builds our relationship with customers through a more personalised experience. We’ve injected a new sense of excitement and value.”

The company also said the new development is “a critical enabler to fast forwarding M&S’s growth as [a] digitally and data-enabled business”.

From July 9, the relaunch will be supported by an integrated campaign to bring to life the “Good things happen every time you shop” promise. This will span in-store, press, radio and social across the UK and “will encourage customers to share the good things that happen thanks to Sparks using #MySparks”.

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