Waterstone's is poised to roll out its loyalty card scheme across the UK, and is hoping to sign up 1.5 million customers.
The nationwide launch begins on 6th September in all Waterstone's stores across the UK and Ireland, including Hatchards. The Waterstone's card scheme enables customers to collect points that can be redeemed at any time against any purchase, monthly offers including double points, bonus points and books priced at £1.99, and competitions to win advance book proofs. Waterstone's will target loyalty card customers with special email and postal mail-outs outlining what they can do with accrued points.
The move follows a "spectacular" sign-up to a trial of the card across 27 stores in the south-west of England and Wales over the past year, with an original target of 20,000 participants in the first year achieved within the first month. In total, more than 80,000 customers signed up.
"There was a great reaction from publishers to the scheme," said a Waterstone's spokesperson.
"The loyalty card scheme enables them to get their authors out to committed book buyers in an incredibly targeted way." The scheme awards four points for every £1 spent. Each point has a redemption value of 1p.
Early findings reveal that loyalty card holders spend almost £5 more per purchase, compared to other customers, each spending an average of £20.40. The spokesperson would not be drawn on whether publishers would have direct access to the information gathered by Waterstone's, saying that customer information would be safeguarded by the Data Protection Act.
HMV is also looking at its own version of the card scheme, although it is still too early to say whether points received in Waterstone's stores would be redeemable at HMV stores in the future.
Wholesalers Bertrams and Gardners already provide their own loyalty card schemes for independent booksellers. Foyles ended the trial period of its "Foyalty" card on 31st July and is currently assessing the data and redemption levels. Commercial director Vivienne Wordley said it would continue the scheme once the assessment was complete. "It's gone down really well with our customers," she said.