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Sainsbury's takes on rivals in Brand Match scheme

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is raising the stakes in the store wars with a new scheme that compares prices with rivals at the till and instantly dishes out vouchers.

Britain’s third biggest grocer is hoping Brand Match will outsmart Asda and Tesco with its “zero effort” campaign which means shoppers automatically cash in on savings without the need to go online.

Innovative new technology means prices for 12,000 brands from Coca Cola and Nescafe to Persil and Andrex are automatically price checked against the same products at both Tesco and Asda. If the big brands come out cheaper at the other two chains, the till prints out a voucher for the difference which shoppers can use next time.

The “money back” vouchers are capped at £20 to stop wily shoppers cashing in on multi-buy deals or discounts and the minimum spend is £20.

Asda has led the price check race but its customers have to log on to the store’s site themselves to compare the cost of their basket and print their own coupon. In March, Tesco was forced to limit its Price Check to £20 after its pledge to double the difference if like-for-like products bought from Asda were cheaper backfired spectacularly.

Savvy shoppers claimed refunds of more than £100 after filling their trolleys with items that were full price at Tesco but on promotion at Asda. One punter claimed to have pocketed £600 after a clever shopping spree.

While Sainsbury’s Brand Match is good news for its customers, most of the UK will have to wait for the results of a trial in Northern Ireland.

If successful, Brand Match coupons will make their way to all Sainsbury’s stores and analysts say it’s the instant results that will make it a hit.

Asda, which launched Price Guarantee last April, promises to undercut rivals by 10% on a comparable basket or cough up the difference.

Sainsbury’s Brand Match went live a week ago and early indications are that the pilot in 12 stores is getting the thumbs up from shoppers.

Mike Coupe, group commercial director, said: “We want to give shoppers a no-hassle experience. We understand they don’t want to spend time constantly checking prices or logging on to a computer to print out a coupon at home. Quite simply, we’re doing the maths and the work so they don’t have to.”

While Sainsbury’s plays catch-up with price checks, Asda has forged ahead with groceries on the go for smartphone shoppers.

Asda says more than half of its online shoppers have an iPhone, Blackberry or Androids and the launch of its mobile site means people can order supplies from their handsets.

Kate Cuthbertson, who is head of mobile strategy at Asda, said: “We know our customers want shopping convenience at their fingertips, so we’ve developed an easy-to-use grocery website, fully accessible from smartphones, with the option to add or amend orders up to 10pm every evening.”

Source : Ruki Sayid - Daily Mirror

24 August 2011
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