Thursday, 30 October 2014

Morrisons Match and More - the dishonest truth

Morrisons has recently launched their new loyalty scheme nationwide - a card called Match and More. The card promises to price match your shop from any of the major 4 retailers plus Aldi and Lidl, if  your shop could have been cheaper elsewhere they will refund the difference with a voucher when you reach £5 (5000 points). 

Advertising in Morrisons Store

On the face of it, it seems like a great deal for customers and sounds like a costly deal for Morrisons, why would you ever shop anywhere else? 

Well here comes the fine print. 

The minimum spend of £15 to quality and excluding M Local are clearly stated and sound reasonable, however it is how they price match which may lead to confusion. This is a question of comparison, and as I have discussed in previous posts, setting the criteria of what you consider a like for like product can dramatically alter the results of the comp - and it looks like Morrisons are doing exactly that. 

1) Branded products - "Branded products are matched, as long as Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Aldi and Lidl sell the same brand, same product variant and within 20% of the same size." Since the majority of promotions at Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda involve "buy one get one free" or "2 for 1" this will almost always put the pack size to over 20% of Morrisons offer hence it will not be counted as a like-for-like product. This is an underhand way of saying price match does not match the vast majority of promotions.

For example in the post I did earlier showing a comp of essential branded non-food basket of goods see here Morrisons came out at £35.22 compared with Asda at £31.82

You or I might think Morrisons should owe me £3.4 right? Wrong, according to Morrisons they owe you 10p, thats right, just 10p across the whole basket! This is because the only product on the list where Asda sold a pack size within 20% of Morrisons was the Persil washing powder all other products were "not comparable". The Finsh dishwasher tablets where Morrisons were £1.75 more, not comparable according to Morrisons - Asda's pack was 72 tablets compared to Morrisons 34. This was repeated across the basket and effectively makes Morrisons card worthless on branded products. This is misleading customers and could backfire. 

2) Own branded products - It is even more subjective when defining what two products are like-for-like on own-branded products. Here are the critera set out on their website:

  • Product description and pack size (eg Apple Pie 400g vs Family Apple Pie 800g)
  • Flavour (eg Cherry Cola vs Cola)
  • Colour (eg Red Peppers vs Green Peppers)
  • Any specific dietary requirements that are detailed on the product (eg Gluten Free Sliced Bread 800g vs Farmhouse Sliced Loaf 800g)
  • Primary and secondary ingredients (eg Beef & Vegetable Pie vs Chicken & Vegetable Pie)
  • Origin (eg British Lamb vs New Zealand Lamb)
  • Provenance (eg Organic eggs vs 6 Caged Eggs)
  • Storage conditions, (eg Frozen pizza vs chilled pizza)

All of these seem reasonable, they are right not to compare a British Chicken with one from Eastern Europe, except when you realise that with these criteria Morrisons could find a reason why any two products are not comparable, and I bet they do. For example Morrisons may sell French tomatoes and Asda sell Spanish, in the eyes (or mouths) of the customer most will see these as a comparable product - I bet Morrisons don't!. On top of this all own branded products are also subject to the same 20% sizing rule. 

Morrisons wanted the headline "We match Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Aldi and Lidl" but they did not want any of the costs associated with actually matching their offer, and they have delivered exactly that. 

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See full details of this worthless card here: