VIENNA, Austria - February 1, 2019 – BILLA, MERKUR, PENNY, BIPA, participating ADEG merchants, OMV, BAWAG P.S.K., Libro, Pagro, and Interio are the launch partners for the new customer club. With the jö Card, customers can earn points for every purchase at all of the partners and enjoy a wide range of benefits.
Austrians carry about 14 customer loyalty cards around with them in their wallets. Customers are confronted with different discount systems, promotions, offers, and mechanisms for each program. But they actually only want one thing: simplicity.
According to a broadly based study conducted in 2017 and 2018 with over 2,000 respondents*, most customers in Austria see the addition of another card as a good reason not to join a new customer club. But that is not the case if one card can be used to replace a number of other ones: 62% of the respondents said that they clearly prefer a multi-partner loyalty program to a single-brand program because it allows them to earn points from numerous companies at the same time. In addition, four out of ten customers would change their shopping behavior if they were part of a multi-partner program.
This was one of the main reasons that REWE Group in Austria decided to merge the more than 11 million customer loyalty cards of its sales companies BILLA, MERKUR, PENNY, and BIPA into a single customer club – the jö Bonus Club – together with Austrian partners in various industries. Austria’s new and largest multi-partner loyalty program is backed by an independent company of REWE Group in Austria led by Ulrike Kittinger and Mario Günther Rauch, two recognized experts in the field. Ulrike Kittinger is the head of Analytics, Marketing, CRM, and Personnel Management. Mario Günther Rauch is responsible for Business Services, Partner Management, Strategy and Innovation, and Finance and Legal Affairs.
One card, numerous partners – and more will be added on an ongoing basis
After a development phase of over a year, the jö Bonus Club is now being unveiled to the public. The result: A shared customer loyalty card – the jö Card – that can be used at all of the partners. Along with BILLA, MERKUR, PENNY, and BIPA, the day-one partners for the new customer club include participating ADEG merchants, OMV, BAWAG P.S.K., Interio, Libro, and Pagro. Starting on 2 May 2019, all of Austria will be able to take advantage of the benefits of the new customer club. And from then on, the jö Bonus Club will also be a brand that Austrians can see and experience.
The advantages of the jö Bonus Club for customers are plain to see: Customers earn points for every purchase at all of the partners and can redeem them for benefits and promotions on an individual basis. Customer promotions that have been popular up to now, such as the well-known Rabattsammler monthly discount program at BILLA and the “Jeder Einkauf zählt” monthly discount program at MERKUR, will also be incorporated in a standardized, simplified form. In the future, they will be replaced by the jö Bonus Club program at BILLA, MERKUR, BIPA, and PENNY.
“Three things are particularly important to us when it comes to the jö Bonus Club. First, we want to significantly improve and simplify the everyday shopping experience for our customers by combining the offers, benefits, and strengths of our sales formats – BILLA, MERKUR, PENNY, BIPA, and the participating ADEG merchants – with those of our strong partners in a simple and clear way in the jö card. Second, we want to offer added value by enabling customers to earn points for every purchase – at any of the partners – and decide where they want to redeem which benefits in whatever way best suits their personal, individual needs. And third, we want the jö Card to be an Austrian solution. So I guess you could say that we’re creating an ‘Austria Card,’” said Marcel Haraszti, CEO of REWE International AG.
Enver Sirucic, CFO of BAWAG Group, mentioned: “We are excited to be the launch partner for the jö Bonus Club in the financial services sector. Along with the many benefits we offer our customers in connection with traditional banking products and services, we are proud to contribute our experience so that customers will also be able to do good in an easy way as part of the jö Bonus Club.” The platform www.crowdfunding.at was launched by BAWAG P.S.K. in 2014 in order to put the spotlight on social projects and ideas and enable them to be realized using crowdfunding – with only a few clicks. BAWAG P.S.K. customers can already use the benefits from their customer loyalty program for a good cause, and all jö customers will be able to donate their bonus points to social projects starting in May. “In this way, we are providing valuable stimulus for numerous social projects, taking our customers into an exciting new world of bonuses, and offering new customers that come to us attractive benefits,” concluded Sirucic.
“I’m very pleased that Interio is the day-one partner for furniture and home accessories in Austria’s biggest customer loyalty program! This will provide customers with real added value: They will be rewarded for their loyalty with points that can be redeemed at any time,” said Janet Kath, owner of Interio Austria, regarding the launch of the jö Bonus Club.
Michael Kremser, CEO of LIBRO and PAGRO DISKONT, adds: "We like the idea of a multipartner card. From the customer's point of view, the ability to use only one card across multiple companies and industries and to take advantage of overarching benefits is very positive. This program offers the customer clear added value and helps to increase customer loyalty for all partner companies. We are pleased to be part in this program with our brands LIBRO and PAGRO DISKONT; especially when it comes to school, office, craft or gift items."
Klaus-Jürgen Schneider, OMV Senior Vice President responsible for the company’s European filling station business, added, “OMV is a pioneer on the Austrian filling station market in many areas. So we are particularly happy to be one of the initial partners in the jö Bonus Club and thus be able to offer our customers in Austria the benefits of this collaboration.”
Top priorities: Reliability and easy service
Existing customers will have to actively grant their consent for the transfer of their data from the BILLA, MERKUR, BIPA, and PENNY customer clubs and from existing programs at the partner companies. When the jö Bonus Club launches at the beginning of May 2019, existing members of the loyalty programs will be informed about the possibility to switch to the new club in a letter. In addition, existing and new customers will be able to sign up online, at the checkout counter, and using digital registration stations at the partners’ locations. Trained staff will be available to provide information and answer questions on-site, by telephone, and online in order to make signing up and switching as easy as possible.
Reliable data protection is a matter of course and a key component in the new multi-partner program. Measures are in place to ensure the careful and responsible handling of all customer data on the basis of all of the applicable legal requirements, such as the GDPR. In addition, data regarding shopping behavior will only be aggregated in clusters and will never be disclosed to third parties. No data will be collected about customers’ political beliefs, religion, or ethnicity.
Manfred Rapolter (Head of Communications, Spokesperson)