Poupa Mais – Portuguese loyalty
My spontaneous trip to Lisbon to taste Alvarinho at the Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square), eat sardines, and – above all – to enjoy the rays of the sun reflected in the waters of the Tagus River, and the temperature reaching 17 degrees Celsius on the first days of February, resulted in learning about the Poupa Mais loyalty program. In English we would probably say ‘Save more’, but a good copywriter would undoubtedly come up with a much better translation than mine. A review of loyalty offers and sales promotions in the visited countries can therefore be considered my sanctified tradition. You can find the analysis of the recently described loyalty programs concerning one of the segments of retail chains in the United States at: https://www.marketingbusinessblog.pl/programy-lojalnosciowe-sieci-handlowych-w-usa-doswiadczenia-z-x-2018-r/ In the previous blog entries, there are also analyses of other markets.
The Poupa Mais program is a loyalty project of the BP chain (player no. 3 on the Portuguese market of fuel station networks), joined in 2013 by the Pingo Doce chain owned by Jeronimo Martins, consisting of 422 supermarkets (including 4 Pingo Doce & Go locations), thus making it the no. 2 player on the Portuguese food retail market. In addition to Pingo Doce, the main representatives of the local market are: Continente, Intermarche, Lidl, Minipreco, and Auchan.
The Poupa Mais loyalty program is points-based in nature, and its rules provide that for every 40 euros spent in the Pingo Doce network, the participant receives 2 euros (i.e. the basic incentive factor has been set at 5%; however, when reading the information contained on the program website, you can notice that it is heavily encumbered with additional conditions, and designed for a limited scope in advance) that can be used for refuelling the vehicle at any BP station. Participants also receive invitations to use descontos exclusivos e personalizados, i.e. dedicated discount offers usually announced in weekly cycles and communicated via a text message and an e-mail.
At the same time, every 1000 premierplus BP points obtained for refuelling a vehicle at BP stations can be exchanged for a 5-euro discount for shopping in Pingo Doce. The basic conversion rate is 1 l = 1 BP premierplus point. Taking into account fuel prices in Portugal, the incentive factor calculated according to this rate is lower than 0.5%.
Participants of the program receive a Poupa Mais plastic card – a co-branded BP and Pingo Doce card (on the card there is also space for sub-brand premierplus points) and two ‘key ring cards’. The ‘large’ one contains both a magnetic stripe and a barcode, while the ‘key ring card’ – only a barcode. This method of identification is part of the traditional approach to the organisation of loyalty programs in Portugal, where 60% of all participants identify their membership in the program by scanning the card at the checkout. The principles of the Poupa Mais program are part of Europe’s dominant preference for loyalty programs that offer price incentives (mainly discount and cashback programs) with a simultaneous high preference for discounting the benefits of participating in various (multi-partner) sales networks, and the use of dedicated, personalized commercial offers. Registration to the program is made via the website www.poupamais.pt, and during the registration the system imposes the connection of the account with the BP premierplus card.
72% of Portuguese households have at least one loyalty program card of a food retail chain. This rate is higher than the average ratio of general European participation in loyalty programs, which amounts to 66% . Jeronimo Martins states in its annual report ‘Jeronimo Martins Annual Report 2017’ that Poupa Mais increased the market penetration by 5.5 percentage points in 2017. The organiser does not provide official data on the number of participating households. However, in 2015 unofficial information indicated that there were 1.5 million people already participating in the program that year (i.e. ca. 10% of the country’s population).
The introduction of the Poupa Mais program 6 years ago was a response to the coalition project of the Continente supermarket chain and the largest petrol station network – Galp. One of the visible problems is unlimited access to Poupa Mais loyalty cards. Admittedly, salesmen at the checkout do not actively encourage customers to sign up for the program (in fact, they virtually do not encourage them at all), but leaflets with the cards are available at each checkout of the Pingo Doce network. Although cultural differences between nations and the saturation of the loyalty program market may be of great importance, such an approach to Polish loyalty projects have usually ended up poorly.
Fig. 1. Leaflet of Cartao Poupa Mais
In i360 we monitor every known loyalty program addressed to final purchasers on the Polish market. We use the method of direct participation by the program ambassadors – i360 employees – who actively purchase items from a given network and fully participate in the program. The result of our analyses is not only in-depth knowledge about loyalty programs available nationwide, but also comparative studies of competitive actions in the selected market segments, as well as consulting projects for retailers who are considering joining or leaving multi-partner programs. In response to specific orders over the past few years, i360 has provided its clients with analyses of specific programs and reviews of the entire loyalty project markets in, inter alia, the United States, Spain and France. Por. „Get With The Program. Card-Carrying Consumer Perspectives on Retail Loyalty-Program Participation and Perks”. November 2016. Nielsen, s.18.  Ibidem, p. 16–22.  Compare: https://www.jeronimomartins.com/wp-content/uploads/files%20to%20download/DOCUMENTOS%20IR/RELATORIO%20E%20CONTAS/2017/Annual-Report-Jeronimo-Martins-2017.pdf Date of the visit on the website: February 10, 2019, p. 47  Compare: Nuno Martins, ‘A look into the Portuguese Loyalty programs. Jumbo, Pingo Doce, Continent’. Published on 2015 M10 7. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/look-portuguese-loyalty-programs-jumbo-pingo-doce-nuno-martins. Date of the visit on the website: February 10, 2019. 0