Grocery chain Empire joins the Scene+ program
Grocery giant Empire Company Ltd. is moving forward with a new loyalty program after becoming co-owner of the Scene+ program operated by Cineplex Inc. and Scotiabank.
The three parties announced the new partnership on Tuesday. The theater operator and bank said the addition will allow Scene+ members to earn and redeem points at the grocer’s majority of supermarkets, including Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, IGA, FreshCo, Needs , Thrifty Foods, Les Marches Tradition, Rachelle Bery and Lawtons Drugs
Scene+ allows cardholders to earn points when purchasing movie tickets from Cineplex, dining at Recipe Unlimited Corp. restaurants including Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s, and banking with Scotiabank. Points can be redeemed for purchases made from these and other businesses.
The deal could make the program more lucrative because it expands the list of retailers where Scene+ can be used and exposes all owners to Empire customers, a consumer base that makes frequent purchases.
“We have three great Canadian brands, and we think with the Scene+ loyalty program, we’re going to basically improve the reach of all of our members, with the addition of groceries and all the other things we have,” said Ellis Jacob, head of Cineplex. executive.
“For me, this is really a big win for Canadian consumers and a big win for our program as we move forward.
Jacquelin Weatherbee, Empire’s vice president of communications and corporate affairs, said the grocery chain didn’t have to pay for its co-ownership status because of the “opportunity” it provided to all partners.
When asked if the ownership was structured at 33.33% each, Dan Rees, group head of Scotiabank’s Canadian banking services, said, “we are all equal partners.”
He added that millions of Canadians enjoy Cineplex entertainment every year. Scotiabank and its Tangerine brand have 10 million customers, Empire has around 10 million and Scene+ has around 11 million members.
The rollout of Scene+ across Empire’s chains and through its Voila delivery service will begin in Atlantic Canada in 2022 and, in early 2023, will launch in supermarkets across the country.
However, the program will not be available at its Farm Boy or Longo’s stores.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities to scale and expand (the) offering, so they’re not part of the current rollout plan, but we’ll make some considerations for the future,” Weatherbee said.
At an undisclosed future date, Scene+ will be accepted into Empire’s network of liquor stores in Western Canada.
Competitor Loblaw Companies Ltd. has long operated its own loyalty program which can be used in its grocery stores and pharmacies, while Metro Inc. has its own program in Quebec, uses Air Miles in Ontario and Thunder Bucks in Thunder Bay.
Empire has long relied on Air Miles, which it will now phase out.
Shoppers will be able to earn Air Miles until the Scene+ program launches in their region.
Empire had “a lot of suitors” when it started exploring a loyalty program, but Weatherbee said it opted for Scene+ because it was a program that customers were “extremely” interested in.
Weatherbee said the profile of consumers is changing and they want diverse loyalty programs.
“They want to choose when, where and how they can earn and trade and solo ownership programs don’t provide that experience.”
Scene+ was originally created by Cineplex and Scotiabank in 2007, but has been relaunched in 2021 with a host of new partners and cardholder benefits.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 7, 2022.