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May 28, 2010

Loyalty scheme rewards Alpha

The cards and consumer banking unit of Alpha Bank, Greeces third-largest bank by assets, has ramped up its loyalty programme to boost cross-sell metrics following a successful 2009 in which the bank witnessed a 26% upsurge in its Bonus card loyalty programme Greece-based Alpha Bank has scored a marketing hit with its loyalty based cards rewards programme, Bonus, with a 26% increase in customer usage during 2009.

By Verdict Staff

The cards and consumer banking unit of Alpha Bank, Greece’s third-largest bank by assets, has ramped up its loyalty programme to boost cross-sell metrics following a successful 2009 in which the bank witnessed a 26% upsurge in its ‘Bonus’ card loyalty programme. Farah Halime reports.

 

Chart showing Alpha Bank – average redeemed points per month and issued points for ‘Bonus’ programme, 2007-2009Greece-based Alpha Bank has scored a marketing hit with its loyalty based cards rewards programme, Bonus, with a 26% increase in customer usage during 2009.

The Athens-based bank has dubbed the Bonus rewards platform, supplied by France-based technology partner Welcome Real-time, as a “pioneer vehicle”.

“Bonus is achieving outstanding results – we have more cards, more transactions, an impressive rate of redemption and happy customers,” a bank spokeswoman told CI.

The scheme was launched in light of a growing trend of increasing competition in the Greek credit card market, but the bank identified there was little differentiation between rewards products. Cashback was also cited as becoming a predictable and prevalent cardholder reward mechanism.

In contrast, Bonus entitles cardholders to earn points to then spend at participating retailers, including Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos, one of the biggest supermarket chains in Greece, Aegean Airlines and petrol retailer BP.

Although the bank offers a standard rate of 1 bonus point for every €1 ($1.25), new customers will receive 500 points the first time they use the card.

Since the card’s launch in 2006, the spend on Bonus cards has increased 20% above the market average, with the number of average redeemed points per month rising to 67m for the first half of 2009. More than 600,000 redemptions have been recorded since the start of the project, with over 120,000 redeemed loyalty points in the second half of 2009 alone.

The bank said the “impressive results” of the Bonus programme were underscored by increased redemption rates in the some of the following major retailers:

  • Over 200,000 food and household products of the Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos;
  • More than 100,000 tickets from Aegean Airlines;
  • More than 160,000 redemptions in mobile telephony products from Wind, a mobile communications company headquartered in Athens; and
  • 100,000 products and discounts from the department store Fokas.

A redemption campaign typically targets customers with point balances of 15,000 to 20,000, but the rewards range from a bottle of extra virgin oil (600 points), to an international round-ticket passing through Germany, Italy and Bulgaria (12,000 points).

However, one of the most popular redemption items within Bonus was a mobile phone handset from Wind (5,000 points), with redemptions for this offer reaching 27,000 in 2008 and already 20,000 by August 2009.

The bank also outlined increased turnover at its partners, with Alpha Beta (AB), the second-largest grocery retailer in Greece a prime example as Alpha Bank’s number one redemption partner.

AB has seen a 200% increase in unique redeemers, and has boosted its market share in Bonus cards from 24% to 50%. The retailer has also added around 4,500 net new customers for the campaign offer.

Energy giant BP is also active in the Bonus initiative and has benefited from an average 20% increase in the number of transactions coming from Alpha Bank cardholders.

The spokeswoman said: “[The] Bonus programme has become a benchmark both in Greek and in international markets. It is the largest, most modern, most efficient, but also the most personal reward programme.”

‘Bonus’ has most recently, targeted a “more distinct” segment of the market with its Bonus Premium American Express card, offering twice as many bonus points for each transaction.

This move was in line with a ‘Bonus Special’ rewards scheme, introduced during 2008, to target high point earners and those cardholders who it was apparent were accruing points to spend on more expensive purchases such as television sets and sound systems.

A co-branded card with Aegean airlines was also launched with the bank outlining “a radical set of scheme improvements” for 2010, although no details were disclosed.

Picture of Plpha Bank's range of 'Bonus' cards

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