Coles and Woolworths have tried before to gain favour with shoppers by dropping the price of everyday items such as bread, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables. But with each simply matching the other’s offers, it was the producers of such items that were ultimately squeezed on price.
So, now they have moved to something more valuable; your loyalty and your personal data. Coles was first to introduce its Flybuys My5 program. You can save by registering your card online, choosing five or your favourite products on which you can save 10 per cent. But look beyond the screaming advertising and you will see two catches. Firstly you have to register online and give up a not insignificant amount of personal details. Secondly, you have to spend at least $50 to be eligible to save your 10 per cent. If you’re living on a fixed income a, $50 minimum spend each time you grocery shop is simply unrealistic.
While Coles was rolling out the celebrities, the big wigs at Woolworths were plotting its next masterstroke. ‘Extra Special Extra Simple Savings’ can take between 20 and 50 per cent off 1200 products chosen by Woolworths and no minimum spend is required. There’s no need to register your card, although by doing so you can also link it to your Qantas frequent flyer program.
Woolworths has excluded fresh milk, fruit and vegetables from the program, so producers hopefully wont be screwed even more on price than they are already.
Sounds as though it’s a win win for shoppers, doesn’t it? But beware. You really don’t get something for nothing. Coles is asking you to spend $50 each time you shop, as mentioned earlier, not an insignificant amount. Woolworths is choosing the products on which you save, but what about the ones not on the list? These are the products which may slowly creep up in price to cover the costs of such discounts.
Savvy shoppers already know the basic prices of the goods they buy and won’t be tempted just because something is on special. So by all means, take advantage of the discounts offered to get the best prices on the items you usually buy, and carry on shopping around to make your dollar go further.
Will you be swayed by supermarket loyalty programs? Do you think that the savings advertised will actually help you to reduce your shopping bill?