Why sustainability can make the difference in loyalty campaigns By Matthew Betes, Corporate Marketing Director, TCC global

The global impact of Covid-19 has shifted consumer behaviour beyond recognition. As lockdowns continue to fluctuate around the world, proximity – either in-store or though e-commerce – has become the primary driver of loyalty as consumers seek out convenience and accessibility. Of course, with widespread economic uncertainty, price is also front-of-mind for consumers.

​However, during uncertain times, loyalty isn’t only driven by convenience and price. Looking back at the post-2008 recession, many people expected shoppers to abandon their ethical concerns—but this simply wasn’t the case. People instead sought out value, while continuing to connect with brands and products that have a wider positive impact on society.

And that appears to be happening again. HSBC Global Research found that instead of halting more sustainable practices, Covid-19 has in many cases acted as an accelerated. During periods of lockdown especially, people sought to use locally sourced ingredients and minimise plastic waste.


Sustainability is a shopper priority

Catalysed by NGO campaigns, media coverage and TV shows such as Blue Planet II, sustainability continues to be a key consideration for shoppers. In fact, recent tcc research revealed that topics such as responsible food sourcing and environmental responsibility are among the top five priorities for global grocery shoppers—and we expect this trend to continue post-Covid-19.

​In recent years, we’ve seen a variety of measures within grocery retail to promote ‘greener’ living—from eliminating single-use plastics to reducing food waste and improving the efficiency of trucks and refrigeration equipment. And while retailers are genuinely seeking to minimise their environmental impact, there are those that are judged by shoppers to be making more of a significant impact than others.



​This can be a deciding factor for shoppers when choosing a grocery store. A recent survey from Pi Datametrics found that 77% of UK consumers believe that supermarkets and manufacturers are responsible for “unacceptable levels of plastic pollution”. Meanwhile, research from IBM found that a majority of shoppers in Spain and Italy would be willing to pay more to shop at places that used a greener food system.

​It’s clear that shoppers really care. And when the strength of feeling is this much, it’s unsurprising that supermarkets, across the world, listen.

Creating greener loyalty campaigns
For supermarkets, nothing should be more important than customer loyalty. In today’s world, it’s true that attracting and retaining customers is more difficult than ever. The most successful retail loyalty strategies start by focusing on what is most important to shoppers. If sustainability is a subject generating genuine passion, then it seems logical that retailers should be aligning their loyalty campaigns with sustainable activities.

​Indeed, there are some retailers that have been promoting environmentalism and ‘green’ initiatives in store, as part of their wider sustainability initiatives. Recently, we ran a campaign with Coop in focusing on sustainable rewards. Having identified an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of recycling, we developed a long-term sustainability platform through several recycled reward ranges that engaged millions of families across the country—and led to 25 million bottles being recycled.

​We were able to help Coop take the lead on sustainability through its loyalty programmes. And as the world continues to adapt to the ‘new normal’, it’s vital for retailers to not take their eyes off what consumers really care about.

A world first in loyalty
That’s why, last week, we launched the tcc Campaign Portal – a new, exclusive digital platform, built and operated by tcc. It allows us to work with our retail partners in a fully collaborative, interactive, virtual environment.

​Retail partners using the tcc Campaign Portal will have the most comprehensive view of the inputs and outcomes of their loyalty activities than ever before. They will be able to design a campaign in one place, alongside loyalty specialists from tcc, all the way from initial shopper insights to store design and execution.

​The remote collaboration this provides, and the ability to incorporate deep insights from an early stage, is crucial when creating loyalty campaigns that focus on sustainable rewards. Understanding what environmental actions your customers will value most can be critical to success.

​What’s more, the tcc Campaign Portal allows grocery retailers to explore instore activations in a fully functional 3D store environment – a world first in loyalty campaign design. From point of sale to banners and campaign displays, our retail partners will be able to explore how a campaign inhabits their stores from every angle.

Arrange your session today
The only way to secure your session in the tcc Campaign Portal, and to see the advantages it can bring to your loyalty campaigns, is by contacting your local tcc team.
Get in touch with your local sales representative now, or find the contact details for your local market office here.


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