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Today (2 July 2020) M&S has written to all of its seven million Sparks members to let them know they have listened and will be relaunching its Sparks loyalty scheme on Thursday 9 July, under a new programme promise Good things happen every time you shop.

In line with the retailers’ transformation plans, Sparks is being relaunched as a Digital First loyalty scheme, offering a more personalised experience with instant rewards, a wider selection of charities to support and more tailored personal offers, so customers can be confident that good things happen for them and the causes they care about every time they shop with M&S.

Direct feedback from over 250,000 members has shaped the redesigned scheme and over the last month it has been road tested and refined by over 40,000 M&S colleagues across the UK.

So, what’s changing?

It’s Goodbye Points and Hello Instant Rewards

The new programme will remove the elements members found confusing - such as points and sale access tiers – and introduce new instant rewards to deliver immediate and clearer value for shopping with M&S. New features of the relaunched Sparks include: a guarantee that every week one customer in every UK store will be rewarded with their shopping for free from M&S, giveaways worth thousands of pounds for customers to spend with M&S online or in store, as well as smaller customer thank yous and treats chosen exclusively for them - from packs of Percy Pigs to Apothecary Candles - all available through shopping with Sparks.

Customers’ favourite features are getting even better

Sparking change together: M&S’ commitment to donate to a member-selected charity every time they shop has been one of the scheme’s most popular features. The retailer undertook a review with customers and colleagues to ensure its Sparks charity partners reflect the causes that matter most to members. Ahead of relaunch, it added 25 new charity partners to expand to 35 in total

Since 2015 M&S has donated nearly £7m to charity through Sparks purchases, and under the new scheme members will be able to choose from an even wider range of charities for them to support with every M&S purchase online or in stores.

Better offers the more you shop: Through the relaunched Sparks scheme – M&S will know its customers better than ever and will be offering greater personalisation and offers on customers’ M&S favourites – so the more you shop the better the offers become.

Under its Digital & Data team, M&S has significantly invested in its behind the scenes capabilities in order to deliver a better overall experience for customers, with new expertise and leadership across critical areas such as Loyalty, Data Science and Digital Products. The team are focused on delivering a better, more personalised experience for all customers, with the Sparks relaunch a significant step towards that.

A Digital First Loyalty Scheme

The new scheme will be hosted through an updated M&S App with all features of the relaunched scheme fully integrated online. New members can simply download their Sparks card via the App straight to their phone or stored to their M&S online account (visual below) and start shopping straight away to be in with a chance of an instant reward - either in store or online. Physical cards will also continue to be available, but the best and most personal experience of the relaunched Sparks scheme will be available through the App and on marksandspencer.com.

This supports the clear acceleration of customers turning to shopping online in recent months which M&S, along with the wider retail sector, has experienced among its customers. Over 365,000 existing customers shopped M&S.com for the first-time during lockdown, and M&S has seen over 700,000 new downloads of its App since March.

In addition to kick start the new Digital First scheme, M&S will be offering a thank you gift to its most loyal customers, landing in members’ M&S App from launch on 9 July.

Jeremy Pee, Chief Digital & Data Officer said:

“Sparks is a vital part of how we communicate with over seven million of our most engaged M&S shoppers, and we have designed this relaunch around them. With a Digital First approach, it’s simpler and easier to use but also builds our relationship with customers through a more personalised experience. We’ve injected a new sense of excitement and value and made the features they love even better, while stripping out the points and tiers system they found confusing. It will instantly feel more rewarding, and customers can be confident that good things will happen every time they shop with us, from winning their M&S shopping basket for free on the spot, to a donation to the cause that matter most to them.”

Over 40,000 colleagues have been trialling the scheme ahead of the customer launch, testing the experience and interface. One colleague winner, Paula Hargreaves a Customer Assistant from the Lytham St Annes Simply Food store, said: 

“I didn’t actually believe it when I won, I was doing a big weekly shop and I never win anything. After 39 years it’s another highlight of my time with M&S and we are all really excited on behalf of our customers to be launching next week.”


Never the Same Again: A faster, more efficient Digital First business 

Not only will Sparks’ Digital First focus ensure M&S is supporting how more customers want to shop and engage with retailers, but the Sparks scheme is a critical enabler to fast forwarding M&S’ growth as digitally and data enabled business.

In May, M&S set out its Never the Same Again programme – and committed to take lessons from the crisis and accelerate the parts of its transformation necessary in the changed customer landscape.

The relaunch of Sparks will establish an effective communication channel with customers to drive loyalty and engagement with M&S. The scheme is underpinned by the business’ recent investment in new capabilities and expertise such as Data and Data Science, Digital Products and Loyalty, which alongside IT and Online, has been brought together under a single transformation team responsible from driving M&S’ Digital First growth. The new scheme is an example of the business’ priority to embed digital and data in all aspects of how M&S serves its customers, and an example of the changes taking place under Never the Same Again.

The Sparks reset is an important part of M&S becoming a data driven business, with the business seeking to unite four important data sources from across the business, including Sparks, M&S.com, M&S Bank and soon Ocado, in order to drive greater improvements and personalised experiences for all customers. By relaunching Sparks, M&S will be able to ensure a consistent shopping experience for customers across M&S.com, the App and in stores, as well as promoting the best M&S products customers love the most. Sparks has the potential to act as a catalyst to improve M&S’ customer offer, as well as turning M&S into a faster, more responsive and data driven business.

From the 9 July, the relaunch will be supported by an integrated campaign to bring to life the new programme promise: Good things happen every time you shop. Spanning in store, press, radio and social, the national campaign will encourage customers to share the good things that happen thanks to Sparks using #MySparks.


For further information, please contact: 

Marks & Spencer External Communications
0208 718 1919
Corporate.press@marks-and-spencer.com  


Notes to Editors:

All M&S Bank Credit Card Holders will still continue to receive rewards as normal by shopping with the M&S Credit Card combined with Sparks   


Sparks Loyalty Scheme Key Facts

  • First launched in 2015 
  • Over 7 million members
  • Nearly £7m raised through Sparks for charities since 2015 
  • Over 40,000 colleagues participated in the colleague trial since May


Sparks 20/21 Charities


 
 

Pillar

Charity

New/Existing 

Health & Wellbeing









NHS Charities Together

New

Dementia UK

New

Sands

New

BCN 

Existing

Macmillan 

Existing

Prostate Cancer 

New

Action Cancer

New

RNLI

New

British Heart Foundation

New

MIND

New

Children & Young People




Together for Short Lives

New

GOSH 

Existing

Young Minds 

New

Princes Trust

New

UNICEF

Existing

Community & Inclusion 









RBL

Existing

Guide Dogs 

New

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

New

Scope

New

National Trust

New

Shelter 

Existing

Oxfam 

Existing

Akt

New

ReEngage (Contact the Elderly)

New

Refugee Council

New

Good Gym

New

Neighbourly Community Fund 

New

The Black Curriculum

New

National Emergencies Trust (NET)

New 

Environment, Wildlife and Animals




PDSA

New

Cool Earth 

New

Woodland Trust 

Existing

WWF

Existing

RSPB

New

Marine Conservation Society

Existing