Whether you're a fan or a critic, the home delivery of food and groceries is another example of the disruptive forces at work in the global economy. Enabled by on-line technologies and new distribution mechanisms, consumers who hate grocery shopping can click and order ahead, picking up their favorite meal components and weekly shopping list items from their local grocer on the way home from the kid's soccer game. Or, they can click and order ahead and pick up something already prepared for them, complete with re-heating instructions, calorie counts and coupons for their next order. Or, they can subscribe to any number of growing, home-delivered meal kit services and pretend they are "making dinner on their own", with their own elegance, touch and family-favorite recipes.
Given this transformative experience it won't take long for the loyalty marketers to pounce on the opportunity. After all it is a simple case of identifying who your best customer is, holding on to them and increasing your share of wallet vis-vis the conventional pattern of going to the grocery store every week or picking up your own restaurant take-out order.
Stealth news from the UK, courtesy of a document alleged to be uncovered by The Financial Times, (via Business Insider), hints that Uber is looking to test loyalty programs for its food delivery business.
When it comes to food delivery, there are many options to choose from, with UberEATS being one of the UK's most viable options. While the market remains in its infancy, the growth projections look solid. The competition is intense and the restaurants and grocers themselves are not about to let a bunch of upstarts cut into their profits. The US is not that different and my colleagues from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and most developed markets around the world concur that disruption creates opportunity and a whole new challenge to conventional thinking.
To better compete in this crowded space and to retain their customers, the loyalty marketing specialists have descended on the alternative food delivery providers. In an interview with Business Insider, UberEATS UK country manager Toussaint Wattinne confirmed that they have been running some loyalty marketing tests.
While details about the loyalty program are unknown at this time, speculation suggests that being part of this loyalty program could mean that Uber will waive delivery fees, or give customers access to exclusive promotions, or even exclusive menus. No points, just an attractive combination of soft benefits that always make best customers feel special and encourages them to buy again.
Personally, I am not a fan of home delivery for food and groceries. I work 8-5, Monday thru Friday, in a bunker nestled below my residence and my social interactions during the work week are severely restricted. I like going to the grocery store on Saturday morning for my weekly visit. I like looking at all the shoppers, even the ones who drive me nuts because they are clueless as they block aisle nine. I like examining the new items on display, the freshness of the meat, fish and produce and conjuring up all the possibilities associated with my own personal weekly menu. I like to find any bargains and fresh baked goods always get my juices flowing. I want to know what I'm buying, what I'm cooking, what I'm eating and what I serve to my guests. I have to do it myself.
I know I'm weird. I also know that convenience mechanisms in a modern, hectic world offer true benefit for consumers, especially those who hate to go to the grocery store. So, it is no surprise to me that loyalty marketing designs will invade this space and help the combatants wage war against each other. I hope that consumer’s everywhere will benefit, even if I don't.
It is unclear when the UberEATS loyalty program will roll out in the UK, so customers will just have to wait and see. We will join them and keep you posted.