If you’re a Tesco Clubcard member then you’ve probably already received a shiny new card in the post.

Last week, the UK’s biggest supermarket started rolling out an updated version of its Clubcard, which now includes a contactless button so shoppers just tap at the checkout to add their points. It has also inked new partnerships with the likes of Uber. This means for every 50 Clubcard points – equivalent to a £50 shop – accumulated, shoppers can now opt to exchange them for £1.50 of Uber credit.

Tesco claims the new Clubcard is the “first large-scale contactless loyalty card in the UK” and that it will increase security for customers while providing the big four supermarket with “more actionable data”. However, when you compare these changes with the Clubcard plans Tesco unveiled back in March 2014, it all feels a little underwhelming.

Back then, former Tesco CEO Philip Clarke pledged an ambitious fully-digital loyalty programme – offering tailored, gamification-type, rewards such as shoppers being rewarded for eating a healthy diet – by the Autumn, which all sounded a lot like what M&S would go on to do with its own Sparks loyalty card. Subsequently, analysts predicted a “radical overhaul” was on the cards for Clubcard. What a difference three years makes.

“Tesco is just replacing the existing card with one that has a contactless button,” says an underwhelmed Jason De Winne, general manager at loyalty marketing firm ICLP. “You still have to do the same physical action of getting the card out and presenting it to a member of staff; now you just use contactless instead of a bar code. Hardly radical, is it?”

Other priorities

So why did Tesco halt its former Clubcard plans? De Winne believes it could be due to the challenge of overhauling the historic data legacy systems in place for Clubcard to something that’s more multi-channel.

Marketing Week, however, understands Tesco’s focus is on making Clubcard as simple as possible rather than adding too many complex new features. It believes its consumers currently see more value in Clubcard reaching 400 brand partners for rewards than rolling out a fully digital loyalty experience. Lewis is also keen to detach himself from any plans laid out by his predecessor Clarke, who was the CEO of Tesco during its least successful period.

Shoppers want a unified mobile-based shopping experience where they can scan, pay and access loyalty all in one place

Bryan Roberts, TCC Global

Phil Blundell, the former CEO of Eagle Eye, which designs digital loyalty apps for the likes of Greggs, paints a slightly different picture. He explains:…