Sainsbury's: Acquiring Customers The Smart Way

"How do you incentivise your most valuable assets – your staff – to open up a new acquisition channel for your brand?"

Over the years we've done loads of customer acquisition work for Sky, so when Sainsbury's asked us to help them encourage more people to buy groceries online we were all over it like a cheap suit. We decided to develop a platform that allowed Sainsbury's staff – the best brand advocates in the business – to introduce their friends and family to online shopping, in exchange for vouchers and Nectar points.

Project Summary

Making it happen

We wanted our solution to deliver a return from day one, so we got our finest minds to develop some pretty hard core mathematical models. These allowed us to accurately predict how much return Sainsbury's would get for a given level of investment, so they knew exactly what to expect. The models also gave us the ability to run the project on a risk/reward model. We didn't charge Sainsbury's anything for the upfront work – they only started paying once we were delivering real results, so we had a real investment in the project's success.

Always improving

We trialled the platform across a handful of stores before launch. This gave us the opportunity to fine-tune the mechanics – we needed to figure out precisely what the right level of incentive was, and how we could motivate adoption across stores.

The results were great, and seeing people use the site in real-life settings validated all our modelling. Sainsbury's staff loved how easy it was to use, and we implemented a league table system that gave managers the chance to play stores off against each other to encourage people to get involved.

Always improving

We've now rolled the platform out nationwide, and it's become one of Sainsbury's cheapest ways of acquiring customers.

The platform's been so successful that we're currently looking at ways to make it available to everyone, not just Sainsbury's staff. Going to the supermarket's rubbish, and we want to liberate as many people from it as possible.