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Co-op members earn rewards through Uber Eats – the growth of supermarket loyalty programmes


Co-op Members will now be able to earn the same membership rewards when making purchases through the Uber Eats app as they can in store or through Co-op’s own online shop.

The move is a first for Uber Eats in the UK, and will be available from over 1,000 Co-op stores this month.

As a co-operative, Co-op is owned by its members who, when purchasing selected Co-op groceries, earn rewards for themselves (2p in every pound spent on own-brand products) and for communities, with the convenience retailer giving the same amount (2p in every pound) to help support local causes and community projects across the UK.

Chris Conway, Co-op’s ecommerce director, said: “We are committed to developing fast and flexible options online to serve shoppers quickly, easily and conveniently. Our ambition to grow our membership base by one million over the next five years is supported by our compelling member-benefits programme.

“Our members lie at the very heart of the Co-op, and by building on our successful partnership with Uber Eats we are now able to create additional value for our Members and for local communities.”

In April, the convenience food retailer announced new and lower prices which will only be available to Co-op members, which Co-op said could help shoppers save up to £300 a year.

But Co-op isn’t the only UK supermarket deploying loyalty programmes to maintain basket share.

Tesco Clubcard
The first retailer to introduce lower prices for its members, Tesco Clubcard prices have been offered since 2019. Clubcard members also collect one point for every £1 they spend instore and online, and one point for every two litres of fuel. The supermarket giant also offers Clubcard Plus, which costs £7.99 a month and offers a 10% discount on two ‘big shops’ per month (in-store only), 10% off selected Tesco brands in-store including F&F and Tesco Pet all the time, double data on Tesco Mobile, and the opportunity to apply for a Clubcard Plus credit card.

Sainsbury’s Nectar Prices
In the same month Co-op introduced its lower prices for member, Sainsbury’s Nectar card subscribers gained access to discounts on 300 items, including Nescafe Gold Blend instant coffee and Heinz Baked Beans.

Morrisons More
Having replaced its Morrisons More scheme in May 2021 with the My Morrisons app, the supermarket announced in May that it was scrapping the newer scheme and returning to Morrisons More. The come-back loyalty programme also gives members access to exclusive prices, personalised rewards and offers.

M&S Sparks Prices
At the end of June, M&S began trialling Sparks Prices across 50 stores in South Wales, the North East and West Midlands with discounts on ready meals, BBQ ingredients and Prosecco.

“We know value is everything to our customers right now, and while they’re looking forward to a great summer, they’re also looking for certainty on spending,” said Alex Freudmann, M&S Food managing director.

“We’re determined to keep up the pace for our customers. Our value perception is at its highest point in six years because we are relentlessly focused on price with no compromise to the magic of M&S Food – our market leading product quality, innovation and sourcing standards.”

As Freudmann alludes to UK supermarkets need to react to the cost-of-living crisis and limited consumer spending. They have just this week been cleared of profiteering from it. The Competition & Markets Authority launched a probe in May, following accusations from political parties that supermarkets were deliberately keeping prices high to bolster their margins. It said it had found no evidence of weak competition in the sector.

Offering discounts to members only could be seen as a way to protect those margins, but there are many reasons why supermarkets – and retailers such as Boots, Superdrug and Robert Dyas – are turning to loyalty schemes.

Giving customers special deals and rewards will help to build a relationship, therefore customer retention will improve. These programmes also open the lines of communication between retailers and customers, which can be useful for promotions and sales, as well as introducing new products or services.

Potentially the biggest benefit of offering a loyalty card is the access to customer data. This data can highlight shopping patterns and enable retailers to make informed decisions. It can help design personalised communication, and further offers, once more building that relationship and all important retention.

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