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Uber partners with Sears-owned Shop Your Way, offering riders rewards points

Uber is partnering with the Sears Holdings-owned Shop Your Way program to give retail rewards points to any customer using its service, suggesting that mobile loyalty could be a fruitful avenue of exploration for ride-sharing applications.

The partnership, called the Rider Rewards program, will offer any customer who takes an Uber a small number of points towards his or her Shop Your Way account. Those points can then be redeemed with Shop Your Way’s network of retailers and businesses, which includes Sears, Kmart, Land’s End and others.

 “Just as Uber has been invested in connecting people, we are focused on making Shop Your Way as rewarding as possible for our members by surrounding them with more opportunities to earn points and add value to their membership,” said Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail at Sears Holdings. “This agreement is another important step forward in that goal.”

Rider rewards
There are multiple ways to earn Rider Rewards points, according to Uber.

Customers who sign up for both Uber and Shop Your Way’s mobile applications will be able to link their accounts. Once linked, they will automatically be awarded up to two dollars in Shop Your Way points for every Uber ride they take.

As an incentive to get people to link their accounts, Shop Your Way is offering a free Uber ride to any new user who links his or her accounts, up to 15 dollars.

New users will also be given a free five points to get their account started.

Rewards are not limited to riders, however. Uber drivers can also earn rewards by linking their Uber accounts to Shop Your Way.

New Uber drivers can earn up to $1,000 in points for signing up, depending on what city they operate in. The Rider Rewards program is currently only available in New York and Chicago, but a wider national rollout is planned for the near future.

Shop Your Way will also dole out thousands of dollars in points to existing drivers who enroll in its program

Sears Auto Center, also owned by Sears Holdings, will serve as one of the official maintenance partner of Uber vehicles.

Finally, in an effort to encourage more customers to sign up for both Uber and Shop Your Way, the two companies are hosting a contest to give $10,000 in points to lucky consumers who link their accounts. Every time a customer takes an Uber, he or she will automatically be entered for a chance to be one of 1,000 winners.

“We are always looking for ways to make the Uber experience more rewarding, and our partnership with Shop Your Way helps drivers and riders get even more out of every mile,” said Ajit Varma, director of product management at Uber. “Not only do people get the opportunity to earn Shop Your Way points for driving or riding, but drivers will also receive exclusive discounts at Sears Auto Centers that will help them save money on car maintenance.”

Sharing and shopping
This kind of symbiotic partnership in which consumers are encouraged to use two services and both benefit is not new to Uber.

Last month, the ride-sharing service launched a similar campaign with Visa, encouraging customers to use their Visa credit cards to make purchases at participating retailers to earn points towards discounted rides from Uber (see story).

The idea behind these kinds of campaigns is to reach across industries from the ride-sharing world to the retail world to come up with a promotion that benefits both companies.

Uber has partnered with non-retailers as well. A recent campaign saw it gift free Hershey’s kisses to riders and encourage them to buy candy to send to their friends and loved ones (see story).

Those kinds of symbiotic partnerships could be the new norm for Uber, suggesting that the ride-sharing service will continue to reach out to businesses from different industries to integrate riding and shopping in new ways.

“Just as Uber uses technology to connect riders and drivers and revolutionized an industry, we’re using technology to surround our members with more opportunities to earn points and add value to their membership and experience, whether they’re in a store, online or on-the-go,” Sears Holdings’ Ms. Munjal said. “Shop Your Way is unique in that it is not just a rewards program but also a shopping marketplace and social shopping destination focused on creating the most rewarding shopping experience for members.

“This Uber agreement is a great example of how we are connecting our increasingly mobile-savvy members in all the ways they shop: in-store, online and via mobile, and letting them choose what to buy and do and rewarding them for their purchases and activities.”