Woolworths has signaled it could review proposed changes to its Everyday Extra rewards program for customers most affected, after a barrage of online criticism.
Woolworths began trialling their $59-a-year Everyday Extra program a year ago, offering customers a monthly 10% discount on shopping, as well as triple Everyday Rewards points with every shop.
However, subscribers were told on Monday of changes to the program which, as one shopper put itwould leave them “paying more but getting less”.
From July, the annual subscription fee will increase to $70 while reward points will double instead of triple, and subscribers will no longer be able to use the monthly 10% off for online orders.
The supermarket has been forced into a social media blitz responding to the torrent of subscribers criticizing the changes online.
Woolworths Mobile and Woolworths Insurance members also received the monthly 10% discount, and they too will see the benefit restricted to in-store use only.
Australians who rely on online deliveries because they are immunocompromised, disabled, elderly or live in rural locations an hour or more away from their nearest supermarket say the change is unfair.
Rocco Howard and his wife were members of Everyday Extra and Woolworths Mobile and received 10% off their online order four times a month.
However, they said they would now be canceling their subscriptions as his wife is immunocompromised with mast cell activation syndrome.
The family had changed to shopping with Woolworths because of the 10% discount and he estimates they saved $2,000 in the twelve months.
“We spend up to $400 a week on shopping because my wife is celiac and dairy-free so we’ve got a lot more expensive foods,” he said.
“We’re spending $20,000 a year at Woolies, so losing 10% is quite a significant hit to the budget. On top of it is already going up 10-15% in the last year.”
He said they would probably return to shopping at Aldi, where they shopped before the 10% discount brought them across.
Many online comments were quick to say that the hit to their hip pockets was coming as the supermarket giant had persistently increased its margins on its food businesses throughout the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.
Woolworths has also announced changes to its Delivery Unlimited service, which will see the minimum spend threshold increase from $50 to $75.
A Change.org petition has been launched demanding Woolworth consider the change for online shoppers.
An Everyday Rewards spokesperson defended the changes.
“While we know these changes may be disappointing for our early subscribers, these changes mean we can continue to invest in the program in order to offer Everyday Extra to even more subscribers, while still helping our existing subscribers save up to $100 a month.
“We know there are customers who can’t physically come to our stores to shop and we are in the process of collating customer feedback. We will be in contact with individual customers who have expressed concern to offer alternative ways to continue to shop with us.
“We also have a Delivery Unlimited subscription for senior citizens at a preferential rate – ‘Seniors Delivery Unlimited,’ available for eligible customers.”