Loblaw Borrows From Amazon With New Subscription Service

Loblaw is embracing the tech world as much as possible.

The latest move by the Canadian grocery giant is to offer a fee-based membership program with exclusive offers to bring in more consumers. Sound familiar? The new service bears striking resemblances to e-commerce giant Amazon’s Prime service, a model that serves to both inform customers about what’s happening around the site while also upselling new products and services.

The program is called PC Insiders and only those with a President’s Choice Financial Mastercard as well as a PC Plus loyalty account can subscribe. The fee to join is $9.99 a month or $99 for the year, and members get a ton of perks based in the PC Plus program.

Loblaw’s model is largely based on getting consumers online and shopping with their phone or web browser as opposed to just walking into a brick and mortar establishment. The national grocer recently announced the company is closing 22 stores, so it’s fair to say they are finding ways to cut costs while at the same time drive their digital presence.

PC Insiders applies to a few different outlets through the Loblaw brand. The company owns Shoppers Drug Mart, so members can get perks from beautyboutique.ca, as well as Loblaw’s Joe Fresh offerings (online too at joefresh.ca) and online deliveries through the Click & Collect e-commerce option, available at nearly 200 stores across the country.

“We are working hard to meet the changing needs of Canadians through the combined reach of our digital properties and retail network,” said Galen Weston, CEO of Loblaw.

When a customer shops using their PC Mastercard and they are subscribed as a PC Insider, they are entitled to these perks through the program.

  • 20 per cent back in PC points on essentials like infant formula, as well as all PC Organics products in-store and online.
  • 20 per cent back in PC points on all joe Fresh products in-store and online.
  • 20 times the PC points when customers shop online at beautyboutique.ca.
  • Free Click & Collect at nearly 200 locations.
  • Free shipping for online Joe Fresh and Beauty Boutique purchases.
  • $99 PC travel credit once a year when booking through pctravel.ca, though only applicable for year-long subscriptions.

Loblaw is trying to win over an online audience to stay relevant by encouraging customers to use the digital shopping methods—a strategy that’s on par with recent moves by other retail giants. Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, as well as Walmart’s dedication to grocery delivery, have forced Loblaw to change its game and keep their online tactics competitive.

The new digitally-driven plan coincides with the company’s recent announcement to buy 25 brand new Tesla Semis. While its important for Loblaw to address how it thinks about environmental logistics and goals, the move is as much about gaining press from the tech world as it is anything else.