There are plenty of reasons why shoppers choose a particular grocer: convenience, price, and product selection among them. But in this highly competitive landscape, a unique loyalty program is another way to differentiate your chain from your competitors.
Over the past year, CB4 has watched with excitement as grocers have continued to innovate with top loyalty programs. These imaginative retailers have announced, expanded, and relaunched their offerings to gain the attention of their shoppers—and the industry as a whole. They’ve identified needs, listened to their customers, and boldly offered unexpected and irresistible incentives and rewards.
Hats off to the best of the best, those whose programs have gone far beyond simply “off the shelf.” Read on to learn about the grocers excelling in loyalty.
Best New Features—Weis Market
Weis Market has added fresh flexibility to its top loyalty program, clearly keeping the customer—especially the older one—in mind. The grocer, which operates just over 200 stores in the Mid-Atlantic, recognizes that many of its senior shoppers are on fixed incomes, don’t necessarily drive cars, or don’t live near gas stations where they could redeem loyalty points for fuel.
That’s why Weis Market’s revamp includes an additional once-a-week senior discount. And they now allow shoppers to use reward points for frequently purchased and well-loved staple grocery items, Supermarket News reports. The new program offers shoppers the ability to:
- Redeem points for a 10-cent discount at not only Weis Gas ‘N Go fuel centers, but also participating locations of Sheetz, Carroll Motor Fuels, and High’s
- Get a 10% discount for senior citizens on 6,000 Weis-brand items every Tuesday
- Redeem points for generous discounts Weis-brand staples such as bread (39 cents), paper towels (39 cents), sugar (99 cents for 4 lbs.), cheese ($1.99 for 12 slices), ice cream (99 cents for 48 oz.), and milk ($3.99 per gallon), and more
- Eventually enjoy an expanded list of loyalty items, particularly around the holidays
At a time when many are singularly focused on drawing in Millennial shoppers, Weis is serving a demographic that often goes overlooked. This should help them rise to the top in a particularly competitive market.
Best Loyalty Gamification—Loblaw Cos.’ No Frills
Who wouldn’t want to be considered a superhero? Especially for going shopping? Loblaw Companies’ No Frills chain plays with the idea of being a “hauler,” or a shopper who can “get a lot for a lot less” with the addition of a web-based loyalty game.
Hauler: Aisles of Glory is a retro-style 8-bit, 2D game (think Frogger, Space Invaders, or Donkey Kong) for shoppers of its No Frills discount grocery chain. Players gain points for hauling groceries while dodging “unnecessary frills and obstacles” they might have to endure at other stores; after the game, players enter their PC Optimum card number to gain 500 PC Optimum points.
Loblaw—which bills itself as “Canada’s food and pharmacy leader and the nation’s largest retailer”—has been lauded for its top loyalty program, and company leadership has recently reported higher retail sales and better use of data for personalization. Hauler: Aisles of Glory reinforces the “no frills” concept; adds an element of fun to an otherwise mundane task; and could make signing up for the loyalty program more attractive.
PC Optimum, which launched in 2018, combined elements of two previous programs: PC Plus and Shoppers Optimum, allowing shoppers to use one card/app and one points system. As loyalists, shoppers can:
- Earn and redeem points at almost 2,500 locations of stores such as No Frills, Joe Fresh, Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, and Loblaws
- Unlock access to in-store, personalized offers
- Link their loyalty account to their PC Financial Mastercard® for added ease
The retro-style video game hearkens a feeling of simplicity in an age of fancy tech gadgetry. This underscores the overarching simplicity of Loblaw Co.’s No Frills loyalty program and has the added bonus of making participation fun.
Best Added Value—Schnuck Markets
The team at Schnuck Markets, which operates 119 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa, began to recognize something critical about their shoppers. They were pressed for time and “hungry for more health and wellness information.” As a result, they decided to offer a program that’s more convenient than ever.
Schnucks Rewards, already a top loyalty program, has expanded the functionality and usefulness of its app. Shoppers with the Schnucks rewards app can now:
- Input their shopping list into the app, and see it automatically ordered based on the layout of their customer’s chosen store
- Add items to their virtual lists by clicking on products in ads or scanning barcodes, making it easier than ever to fill up that cart
- Update the list in real time, allowing multiple users on the same account to, for example, cross items off, modify them, or leave notes for each other
- See unique wellness icons directing them to organic items, those with simple ingredients, vegetarian, “sugar smart,” high in protein, and more
- Receive 100 new exclusive coupons each week, as well as earn reward points redeemable for money off future purchases
Schnuck Markets knows shoppers won’t just download their app simply because they offer it. The Schnucks app is highly useful, providing access to unique features that help shoppers solve real-world problems based on a deep understanding of their audience. Schnucks Rewards benefits demonstrate the grocer’s ability to step into the shopper’s shoes. There’s an understanding here that grocery shopping is no longer just Mom’s job—and that perhaps just typing items into a list wasn’t the most convenient option.
Best Charitable Tie-In—GreenWise Market
Publix Super Markets has long used the GreenWise name for its natural, organic, and “better-for-you” private label items. There have also been different iterations of GreenWise Markets over the years, but the latest version has numerous unique twists, which we’ll outline below.
It’s worth noting that overall, this top loyalty program appears to be aimed at a particular demographic: Millennials. The Greenwise REWARDS homepage has the feel of a lifestyle blog rather than a grocery store offering, and aesthetically the program fits in GreenWise Market’s focus on health and wellness.
Greenwise REWARDS allows loyalists to:
- Sign up for a Good Works program: Each time the shopper enters their phone number at the time of purchase, the store makes a donation to the shopper’s charity of choice.
- Receive personalized offers, in-store event invites, and more
- Enjoy a special “birthday surprise”
- Get $5 off the first $10 purchase upon signup
The holistic, specialized approach of GreenWise Markets is a perfect fit for the conscious consumer—or those seeking a bit of individual attention. All told, there are 10 GreenWise Markets already open or planned to open in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Georgia. Publix, meanwhile, has 1,218 store locations across the Southeast, with well over half in Florida. The results of the loyalty program will be worth watching.
Best Loyalty Enhancements—Kroger Co.
Kroger has added a mobile wallet that combines both loyalty and convenient payment. Kroger Pay—which links the shopper’s mobile device to a debit, credit, or prepaid card via an app—recently launched in Ohio, Progressive Grocer reports, and is set to roll out nationwide later in 2019.
Overall, with this new addition, Kroger Rewards, provides numerous benefits. Participating shoppers can:
- Cut down on time spent at the point of sale; once customers enter their biometrics or custom PIN, they’re given a single-use QR code for transmitting loyalty card info, coupons, personalized offers, and payment
- Receive added convenience and security
- Earn added discounts for purchases of private-label products and fuel
- Link to the new Kroger Rewards prepaid debit card for more rewards
The result is a one-stop-shop of safety, security, and ease. Kroger Pay is also just one more way for Kroger shoppers to save—when they link to a REWARDS Debit, Credit, or Prepaid card, they unlock additional exclusive rewards.
Feasting on the Lessons from Grocery Loyalty
With innovative loyalty programs, inspired grocers are helping change a “must-do” task into a “want-to” adventure. For some retailers, this means providing playful experiences by adding an element of gamification. For others, it simply means making shopping delightfully easy. The key is to know what your customers want and deliver is in creative ways. Congrats to the grocers who’ve recently risen to that task.
When these programs are paired with operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction is sure to soar. Learn more about how CB4 can help, starting with ensuring each customers’ beloved products are easy to find at every location in your chain. Let’s connect.