How Coles selling flybuys will give you more ways to earn points
Extra deals and more personalisation are promised.
Back in March, giant corporate conglomerate Wesfarmers announced plans to spin off its supermarket chain Coles as a separate business. That move would inevitably mean major changes to flybuys, the popular loyalty scheme which Coles operates and which has around 8 million members in Australia.
New demerger documents now give us a better understanding of what's changing, and what that might mean for customers using flybuys to rack up points. The big picture? You'll have more chances to earn points, but (just as now) you'll need to plan carefully to get the maximum value from them.
The proposal is for flybuys to be spun off as a separate company, which will be 50% owned by Wesfarmers and 50% by Coles. Wesfarmers will also retain a 15% share in Coles itself, a move Wesfarmers argues will reinforce opportunities for collaboration on flybuys and other projects, like the recent flybuys max. (Interesting side note: the documents reveal that running flybuys currently costs Coles at least $10 million a year.)
"flybuys will be better able to realise its own potential as a leading loyalty company through the ongoing support and investment of both Coles and Wesfarmers and by leveraging the broader networks of the Wesfarmers Group, including the existing partnerships with Kmart and Target," Wesfarmers managing director Ron Scott said. That seems to indicate that neither of those chains will be dropping out of flybuys any time soon.
Obviously, one key way for flybuys to grow is to sign up more retailers to offer points on purchases, and that's definitely on the menu. Wesfarmers says the new independent flybuys will "partner with valuable brands with complementary products and services that appeal broadly to Australian consumers".
However, the really big opportunity is in offering personalised deals to individual shoppers based on their habits. Many flybuys offers are broad-based, such as the regular deals which offer bonus points if you convert from flybuys to Velocity Points. (We last saw that happen in July.)
Increasingly, though, offers are tailored to individual customers. Haven't shopped at Coles for a while? You might well get an email offering you 10,000 points if you spend $50 a week each week for four weeks. If you're already a regular Coles shopper, that offer's likely to be different, perhaps with a higher per-week spend total.
That seems likely to become more common if the demerger is approved by shareholders and flybuys becomes a separate company. The Wesfarmers presentation proclaims the new arrangement will "deliver customer value beyond price by leveraging proprietary flybuys data, analytics and emerging digital technologies to create personalised offers".
The key, as ever, is to analyse those offers to work out if they're good value for you. If you're spending $100 a week on groceries anyway, then bonus points are welcome, especially if you maximise their value by converting them to Velocity Points. But if you mostly eat out, spending purely for the sake of points may not be worth it.
Shareholders still need to approve the Wesfarmers deal, and even after that happens, we're unlikely to see any changes in the near future. If the demerger goes smoothly, the first time you'll notice the difference is when new retailers are signed up. At Points Finder we'll be keeping a close eye on the process, and we'll update with the latest developments as they occur.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.