Tesco and Subway go digital with smartphone loyalty cards

Tesco and Subway are leading a new digital push by bringing their loyalty cards to smartphones.

The unusual move, reported by AllAboutSymbian, comes as the Tesco CIO took the top job as CEO, suggesting a potential new focus on upgrading the technological aspects of the supermarket chain. As for Subway, well, clearly there’s a smartphone for that.

Customers of either shop can download a loyalty card application to their smartphone to use in place of the vastly inferior piece of plastic they currently use. Users then add their loyalty card details to the application, which generates an appropriate barcode for shop staff to scan. The added beauty is that if your phone is stolen at least you can still get loyalty points on the purchases the thief makes.

Currently the applications are only available for Symbian devices and the iPhone, but it’s only a matter of time before they’re also available on other platforms, such as Android. The developer of the Tesco application is actually a Tesco IT guy, Nick Lansley. He said he developed for the iPhone first “because I have an iPhone so it seemed like a good place to start.”

With the news today that Tesco IT head honcho Sir Philip Clarke is taking the somewhat bigger chair of CEO we may see a new focus on pushing the supermarket chain into the digital age. It will be interesting to see what becomes of it. We presume it was his influence that staffed every Tesco supermarket with robots.