Baiting games heat up as Target enters Canada

The "Rewards" are getting richer.
The “Rewards” are getting richer.

New technologies, along with global access, enhanced mobility and social media, have had a huge impact on how consumers gather information and make purchase decisions. All the latest innovations have forced retails, both small and large, to look at how they attract, maintain and engage their customers. And you the consumer will be the ultimate beneficiary.

Some of Canada’s largest retailers, including the Hudson’s Bay Company and Canadian Tire, are already in the game. A recent business report advises that HBC is overhauling its rewards program in a bid to encourage its best customers to spend more money at its Bay or Home Outfitters locations. Those customers currently enrolled will automatically be transferred to the new HBC program. Loyalty programs are definitely prized by consumers with 94 per cent of Canadians belonging to at least one.

Meanwhile, Canadian Tire is not getting rid of its Canadian Tire money even though it has also introduced a new loyalty program. Their new Canadian Tire Advantage card offers one per cent back, or one point per dollar, on the value of purchases, whereas the rate for their paper money is 0.4 per cent. While many of their customers are attached to using the money coupons, many more wanted more options to collect rewards through different programs.

Not surprisingly, of the $100 million handed out annually to customers in Canadian Tire money through paper and credit card points, virtually all of it is redeemed each year.
And if you are wondering why these two major Canadian retailers are revamping and improving their customer loyalty reward programs, well the answer is quite simple. Canadian consumers began applying for Target’s Red Card rewards card in February.

Target’s debit card loyalty program offers five per cent off every purchase. According to Target, more than 30,000 Canadians already have the card. Target will open the first of 124 stores in Canada this month, with at least three Winnipeg locations expected to open this summer or fall.

Ernie Nairn is president of the Assiniboia Chamber of Conmmerce.

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