Booths has launched a major overhaul of its core IT systems, as it works to modernise its digital capabilities and improve its customer proposition, The Grocer can reveal.
As part of the multi-year investment programme, the 176-year-old retailer will focus on improving its ability to process and handle data. This would then enable it to digitise its Booths Card loyalty scheme and “freshen up” its till experiences, MD Nigel Murray told The Grocer.
The company is investing £10m in total. It is set to complete the first major stage of the programme – which is an upgrade of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system – by April 2025.
“We’re having to be very patient,” said Murray. “One of the investments that we’re making at the moment is in our basic core systems and processes.
“From that point, once we get the basics in, we’ll then get to start to layer on levels of capability, which will then help us to raise our customer game.”
Booths is hoping to take a much “more professional approach to customer incentives” as a result of the work, which could include the fitting of a new CRM system and an upgrade to its loyalty scheme, which is still largely card and voucher based.
The supermarket relaunched the Booths Card in 2020. Currently, cardholders receive 5% back on their spend on certain items to be used as a discount on their next shop. Other benefits include a discount on newspapers, a free slice of cake from the in-store 1847 café on their birthday, and the opportunity to ask for their receipt to be sent digitally.
“Outside of that – and we do get told this by our customers and colleagues – there’s little in it,” said Murray. “So, very simply, we need to make more of it.” He did not go into detail as to what the changes could involve, but said it would work to “broaden out the reach” of the scheme, and make it “work harder” for customers.
In October, Booths extended the 5% discount across all grocery categories within its food hall, excluding alcohol, as part of a month-long trial to test how it could broaden the proposition. Currently the discount only applies to groceries, frozen foods and lifestyle products, but it was extended to kiosks and fresh fruit & vegetables.
The supermarket had seen an uptick in sales but would need to wait until vouchers were distributed to customers in November to assess the results, Murray said.
Due to the ongoing work, Murray conceded it could take “three to four years” until the loyalty scheme overhaul was completed.