Are supermarket shoppers
attracted to specialty
Mario J. Miranda
School of Applied Economics, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, and
Department of Economics & Finance, La Trobe University,
Purpose – The aim is to examine whether supermarkets may be losing the opportunity to increase
customer purchase outlays by means of loyalty points, convertible to acquire specialty goods and
services provided by “bonus partners”.
Design/methodology/approach – Two econometric models were constructed from data collected
from 470 supermarket shoppers in one major Australian city, to predict mechanisms for making
shoppers aware of loyalty points accrued on their credit card purchases and for inducing them to pay
for purchases with speciﬁc credit cards linked to loyalty programmes of which they were members.
Findings – Shoppers who are aware consider specialty merchandise in exchange for loyalty points to
be a signiﬁcant reason for joining a loyalty programme. However, when they actively seek to pay with
speciﬁc credit cards because of loyalty points do not rank the conversion into specialty merchandise as
a signiﬁcant reason for membership.
Research limitations/implications – No insight was sought on the relative importance of
attitudes and implications of social inﬂuences on attitude formation and behavioural intention with
respect to the accumulation of loyalty points.
Practical implications – Specialist retailing planners can conﬁgure product offerings attractive to
customers’ lifestyles and broader interests on the basis of shared insights into buying patterns and
personal details captured during their enrolment in afﬁliated loyalty programmes with “bonus
Originality/value – The paper offers an actionable strategy for customer retention and enhancement.
Keywords Customer loyalty, Supermarkets, Credit cards, Loyalty schemes, Australia
Paper type Research paper
Customer loyalty programmes are usually found among companies who operate in
markets with very little product/service differentiation. Buckstein (2006) believes that
loyalty programmes provide merchants with a means to deliver highly targeted,
relevant incentives to customers to lure them to participate in marketing initiatives and
purchase products and services. According to De Weaver (2002), 54 per cent of
Australian consumers are members of at least one loyalty programme and 69 per cent
try to use a loyalty scheme as often as possible. In the USA, the amount invested in
customer loyalty programmes from different companies has been growing steadily
over the last 15 years with over $1.2 billion subscribed in 2003. According to Parker
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received April 2007
Revised April, October 2007
Accepted October 2007
Marketing Intelligence & Planning
Vol. 26 No. 1, 2008
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited