The lasting impact of the loyalty program in the grocery industry

By Team Session AI on March 6, 2020

Breaking down personalization in grocery reward programs

Over the past few weeks, we have explored personalization strategies employed in loyalty programs across various industries—from banking to quick service restaurants to hospitality. In this, our fourth and final installment, we’re covering some of the grocery industry’s most rewarding loyalty programs.

The average American household spends $7,729 per year on food—for rural and suburban consumers, this is their third-highest expense behind housing and transportation. As a household necessity, grocery shopping has in turn been a key tenant of the loyalty program. Yet, as grocery shopping has increasingly moved online, the modern grocery store loyalty program has evolved to accommodate the consumer’s on-the-go lifestyle. Let’s explore how the grocery industry is enhancing the customer journey through advanced loyalty reward programs:

1 | Whole Foods Market

The rewards: Whole Foods retired its traditional rewards program in 2018, transitioning to an Amazon Prime-based subscription program with discounts on sale items and popular products. As a Prime member, customers also have access to free 2-hour delivery and special savings. 

As of June 2019, there were 105 million Amazon Prime members, and the number only continues to rise. By offering rewards directly through Prime—which is well lauded for its ability to suggest relevant and personalized content to its members—Whole Foods Market opens itself up to a massive customer base and increases the convenience of grocery shopping for millions. In particular, through the use of AI, Whole Foods can recognize weekly household staples in order to serve up relevant promotions and deals for each and every customer. 

 2 | Giant

The rewards: Giant offers a comprehensive rewards program with extensive member-exclusive benefits that range from gas savings to meal plan customization. 

While Giant serves everyday low prices in its print and web-based weekly circular, it further offers exclusive digital coupons via its mobile app to loyalty program members, where shoppers can customize meal plans and shop on their mobile devices. Powered by AI, Giant sends out weekly savings emails to loyalty program members, personalizing content and offers to each individual’s most frequently purchased products. This omni-channel approach to grocery promotes convenience and savings, empowering customers to seamlessly shop across channels. 

3 | Acme

The rewards: For every dollar a loyalty program member spends, they receive one point towards grocery and pharmacy from Acme’s “Just for U” program. These points are redeemable for free items and discounts on gas and groceries. 

Through AI, Acme offers personalized deals to each member of its “Just for U Deals & Rewards” program. By understanding the trends and historical patterns of customers, Acme is empowered to serve up the most relevant offers to each individual consumer, leveraging greater satisfaction and, eventually, growing lifetime loyalty. 

Although loyalty programs in grocery stores have been around for quite some time, leaders in the industry are differentiating themselves through 1:1 personalization and promotion. Session AI’s in-session marketing platform empowers members of the grocery industry to connect with shoppers throughout their journey, serving up real-time, relevant promotions to that foster lifelong loyalty.

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