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Channeling Amazon, Loblaw rolls out $99 subscription program to loyalty members

A Loblaw supermarket is pictured in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Loblaw Companies Ltd. is launching a subscription program for its loyalty members, offering perks such as free shipping and online grocery pickup as the company continues aggressively investing in e-commerce.

Loblaw said in a news release that after launching the subscription program to a small group of loyalty members, it has decided to roll it out to its 16 million PC Optimum members.

For $99 a year, subscribers will have access to several perks, including free e-commerce grocery pickup, free shipping for online purchases from Shoppers DrugMart and Joe Fresh, and 20 per cent back in PC Optimum points on purchases of specific products.

The launch of the program comes as retailers grapple with the dominance of Amazon, which offers Amazon Prime, a similar subscription service to the PC program that also features free shipping.

“What started as a small test quickly ballooned, drawing more subscribers than we imagined and a long waiting list,” Loblaw president Sarah Davis said in a statement released Friday.

“The launch is a big opportunity for our most loyal customers, as the more they use the subscription box, the more they will save and earn… This is a new opportunity for members who want to take their loyalty benefits to the next level.”

Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocer, has been aggressively investing in its digital presence, focusing on e-commerce initiatives such as its click-and-collect program, which allows customers to order groceries online and then pick them up in store. Loblaw has said it aims to have more than 700 pick-up locations across the country by the end of the year.

Loblaw isn’t the only grocery chain that is aggressive pursuing online customers.

Costco announced in September that it would be expanding its delivery service of non-perishable groceries, health and beauty products in Ontario. Metro Inc. announced last year that it would bolster its e-commerce operations, launching services in Ontario. Sobeys Inc. also signed a partnership with United Kingdom-based Ocado Group to help builds its online shopping business.

With files from the Canadian Press. 

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