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How to Get the Benefits of Shopping Spots

Aug 17, 2007
Who doesn't love a bargain? In the increasingly competitive business environment, many retailers are really going the extra mile to make sure that customers keep coming back. Many supermarkets have implemented customer rewards programs that allow customers to enjoy special discounts on individual purchases and award prizes or additional discounts for repeat shopping.

Take the supermarket industry, for example. Many major supermarket chains have customer rewards programs, which are sometimes referred to as customer loyalty programs. Customers can sign up at no charge to participate in the program. Each week, sales are advertised which entitle participants in the rewards program to receive special discounts.

Supermarket rewards programs became very popular during the mid 1990s, and have evolved into sophisticated systems targeted and cultivating customer loyalty and earning a competitive advantage. While these rewards programs were originally implemented primarily as a means of gathering consumer data, they have evolved to a very sophisticated and successful marketing technique.

The supermarket rewards programs of today go way beyond just offering special discounts. Smart supermarket retailers know that savvy customers check sale items in the newspaper circulars each week in order to stretch their food budgets as far as possible. One of the strategies retailers have traditionally used to lure customers away from their competitors is to advertise very low loss-leader prices on a few popular items.

However, the sophisticated customer loyalty programs of today discourage consumers from shopping elsewhere by promising rewards for weekly shopping or spending volume. For example, Winn Dixie is known for offering free gas cards to rewards program members. To earn the gas card, customers must spend a specific dollar amount during a specific time frame.

With the high cost of gas, many customers choose to shop at Winn Dixie consistently in order to earn free gas cards. By offering a meaningful reward to customers, Winn Dixie reduces the likelihood that its customers might be lured away by a 2 for 1 deal offered by one of its competitors.

Bruno's and Food World, both owned and operated by the Albertson's supermarket chain also engage in promotional activities designed to cultivate customer loyalty. Among their most popular promotions is the Spiral Rewards program. Each year around the holidays, when people are doing a great deal of grocery shopping, these supermarkets offer a free spiral sliced ham to customers who collect a certain number of spiral rewards receipts.

The receipts are awarded based on a minimum purchase amount, and must be collected during subsequent weeks leading up to the particular holiday. Customers, who are probably planning to buy a ham anyway, think that it makes sense to do their shopping at these stores so that they can earn something they need for free.

Smart customers, of course, can benefit from participating in customer rewards programs. Supermarket retailers want your business, and they are determined to win your loyalty. If you get a free gas card or a free ham along the way, all the better for you!
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