From new in-store initiatives to changes in its loyalty programme, we round up the latest news.
1. "Pick Your Own Offers" to end
Waitrose will stop offering "pick your own offers" to members of the MyWaitrose loyalty scheme at the end of February, it has confirmed in communication to customers.
When the initiative was introduced three years ago it helped forge a new and different identity for myWaitrose, with relevant and real-time benefits for its members. However, choosing from the wide range of products included, and remembering these choices can add complexity for shoppers. Particularly as IGD ShopperVista research reveals the average UK grocery shopper is now using 4.6 different channels per month, and making six shopping trips per week. We're likely to see simpler promotions in the future, communicating value as clearly as possible.
2. Hosting yoga classes
Evening yoga classes will be on offer in three stores, beginning in mid-February, for the price of £7 per class. The programme is running on a trial basis; if successful it could be introduced in more stores in the future.
Waitrose continues to innovate with new in-store experiences focused around leisure (such as jazz nights or its temporary in-store restaurant) and health (such as the dietary advice service now being trialled in two stores). In both these areas there are synergies with Waitrose's products and partners' expertise. Beyond the commercial advantages of driving visits during quiet times, more community-based initiatives will help Waitrose extend its role beyond a place to buy groceries, and build closer connections with its shoppers.
3. New store opening in Banbury, Oxfordshire
On January 25th Waitrose opened its latest new store in Banbury. Key features include a new-style deli counter and dry aged beef cabinet. According to Waitrose's latest trade update, the store reported a strong first week of sales and received a positive reaction from customers to its new concepts. Banbury is one of the three locations hosting yoga classes in its community room.
4. Wine Tasting at Home trial
Trial of an wine tasting service is currently live in London. This takes the category expertise demonstrated in in-store wine bars into the home environment. Bookable via its own website, www.homewinetasting.co.uk, customers have a choice off an "explorer" , "premium" or "bespoke" package, including wine, food, glassware and an expert visits their home to host the session.
This is a solution designed for social food and drink lovers. Wine is a relatively complex category to shop - offering face-to-face advice in relaxed surroundings is a great way to share knowledge. In the future, there may be potential to combine with Waitrose Entertaining, Cookery School, or even the John Lewis Gift List services.
5. Pledge to reduce plastic
Waitrose has announced plans to phase out harder-to-recycle black plastic trays from its private label products by 2019. The retailer has already removed 65% of black plastic from fruit and vegetable packaging, and plans to eliminate it completely from meat, fish, fruit and vegetables by the end of this year. This fits into Waitrose's commitment to make its packaging widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025.
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