A recent SupermarketNews article reported that Albertsons Companies, operators of over 2,200 supermarkets, has launched a consumer loyalty and shopper rewards program using the app Fetch Rewards. The new program’s goal is to increase customer engagement levels and to extend the reach of its customer rewards.
The app will enable Albertsons to extend exclusive, individualized offers from its family of stores.
The article quoted Usman Humayun, vice president of digital marketing at Albertsons, who said, “We’re constantly looking at innovative and relevant ways to engage with our customers, and after seeing such strong results, we decided to expand the Fetch Rewards pilot to additional stores. This relationship is a win-win for our company and for our customers who use Fetch to earn rewards on grocery, retail and restaurant purchases.”
This is another good example of how retailers can leverage technology to provide greater levels of customer interaction and value. If our research and experience are on target, the fact that this type of program allows for “individualized” messaging and marketing will significantly increase its impact.
In a recent blog post, omNovos takes a new and innovative data-driven approach to defining supermarket “loyalty program,” which, they say, might make it better for all parties and stakeholders.
Based on the premise that the emerging digital aspects of customer engagement have had an impact on what the term “loyalty program” actually means, omNovos suggests it’s time to reconsider the concept of rewarding people for repeatedly purchasing goods, despite the fact that this approach has generally worked well for many years.
Their position is that traditional points-per-spend programs have become less valued and looked upon more as coming from a “what have you done for me lately” perspective.
So, what’s a better approach you might be wondering…
Well, the article addresses the question, “Do my customers want a great loyalty program?” with the answer, “No!”
Instead, the article suggests, “they yearn to be recognized as individuals—and a part of a mutual, long-lasting, meaningful and highly personalized relationship. This is loyalty at its core, far removed from a program.”
So how does this new definition of loyalty work?
OmNovos says supermarkets must do away with the concept of dollars and points, and replace it with strategic “actions” based on customer data knowledge.
“This is where relationships begin,” the article said. “Where brand begins to emerge, and so-called rewards are highly personalized… this is a prime environment to convince customers that they are wanted, appreciated, and loved.”
An example given assumes customers can be encouraged through advertising channels to download the store’s mobile app.
Once they have done so, the engagement process begins, omNovos suggests.
“On day one, they [customers] are prompted to list likes, dislikes and dietary restrictions—all while a grocery list builder prompts them to divulge what they typically shop for… then they are immediately offered specials just for them. It could be a discount. Better yet, it could be a fantastic recipe for them to try based on their data inputs. Going forward, they receive personalized weekly check-ins letting them know about sales on the things they like, plus additional food recommendations—again, I dare say the possibilities for personalized content are endless.”
The article also points out that at no time are points-per-spend mentioned to the customer. Yet the customer was made to feel special and prompted to buy more all because they felt like they were personally appreciated.
We all know that Walmart and Amazon are “the” major retailers in America and, as noted in a recent msn.com article, they were rated first and second, respectively, in Kantar Consulting’s ranking of the top 50 U.S. retailers of 2018.
What was surprising, though, was the identity of the third-place winner. America’s third-biggest retailer is a grocery store!
Possibly you’ve already surmised that the third-place finisher on the list of top retailers in the country is Kroger! As the article states, lots of folks say that shopping at Kroger is a pleasure! The chain consists of just over four thousand stores in 42 states, and its headquarters are in Cincinnati. It is a low-priced grocery store that’s most popular in mid-western, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern states.
But of all things, Kroger is known most for its high level of customer service. It’s nice to see an organization that is customer-focused also be among the top in their trade!
This past December Forbespublished an article suggesting we should expect to see more changes at the grocery store this year as the industry adapts to various competitive pressures and emerging shopping habits.
“The last year has been a trying one for supermarkets that face not only changing technology and consumer demands but heightened competition on price,” the article said.
The article predicted four key trends for 2018, which were:
More online shopping options
Mobile payment acceptance
In-store drinking and dining
At the half-way-or-so point, it seems these predictions are on track. And clearly all four predictions focus on improving processes as well as customer service and the shopping experience!
Guess we can all stay-tuned to see if these trends continue…
Stories and information about supermarket customer service and loyalty