For a supermarket chain like Price Chopper / Market 32, incentivizing its customers with enticing offers leads to long-term customer loyalty.
Price Chopper / Market 32’s highly successful loyalty program, AdvantEdge Rewards, has more than two million members and is a key ingredient in the company’s engagement strategy.
The company opened its first supermarkets in New York’s Capital District in 1932 and changed its name from Central Market to Price Chopper in 1973. Since 2015, the storied chain has converted nearly 40 Price Chopper locations into its contemporary, customer-inspired Market 32 brand.
It operates 130 stores in six states: Upstate New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
We caught up with Glen Bradley, EVP Merchandising & Marketing for Price Chopper / Market 32, to learn more about how the company incentivizes its customers and keeps them loyal throughout the year.
Jim Tierney: Do you leverage incentives throughout the year and tie them to your loyalty program to increase membership and elevate brand advocacy?
Glen Bradley: We offer AdvantEdge Rewards points for all eligible purchases as a base program. We also offer bonus opportunities throughout the year for engaged shoppers.
Some of these are available to all participants, for example, our digital game, social sharing and in-ad product-based bonus point opportunities. Others are targeted or personalized offers which could be worth up to 1,500 points ($15 equivalent). We find this combination of base, tiered, continuous and ever-changing point-based offers increases engagement and satisfaction.
Jim: Can you talk about your high-level approach to the use of incentives to increase customer engagement, brand awareness and loyalty?
Glen: AdvantEdge Rewards is a key part of our value proposition and differentiation. We use different offer types across the customer lifecycle from acquisition to retention and enhancement. We need to meet the customers where they are to match our objectives with their needs. When we do this well, we can move the customer from awareness to engagement and loyalty.
Jim: How do incentives tied to your loyalty program help Price Chopper/Market 32 be “in the moment” with its customers?
Glen: To be ‘in the moment,’ AdvantEdge Rewards has to be present in-store, in ad, in traditional media and, perhaps most importantly, on digital and social channels. There are a couple of key moments in our bricks and mortar business: store choice, item selection and checkout.
We hope that AdvantEdge Rewards is a factor in the first two, but checkout is the critical moment most closely linked with customer satisfaction. The customer sees their AdvantEdge Rewards discount (if redeemed) at the register and learns how many points they have earned towards their next shopping trip.
Online we offer the opportunity to support local schools or charities, pay down student loans, or enter sweepstakes for grand prizes — all by using points. All of these are just a mobile device away and each can be shared via text, email or social media to our customers’ own network of friends and family.
Jim: What kinds of incentives do you use and what drives those decisions?
Glen: We use a combination of bonus point offers available to all and some that are targeted or personalized. Each has a specific purpose. All are regularly analyzed and tweaked in a continuous improvement cycle. Some examples of common incentives:
- Buy X# of items from this brand or grouping to earn 100 bonus points.
- Spend >$X today to earn Y points.
- Earn 3 times points on all organic purchases.
- Multiplier promotions: Activate the offer to earn 2-, 3- or 4-times points on all purchases above a threshold or during a specific timeframe.
Jim: How much research do you do with customers about incentives they might be attracted to?
Glen: We get unsolicited feedback all the time from customers and teammates. It’s great that people are willing to share their ideas or something they’ve seen elsewhere with us freely. We run formalized research studies every month on a host of topics which help us stay close to our brands and our markets.
That, in addition to an always-on customer satisfaction survey, gives us an avenue to ask about some of our ideas. If a new promotion makes it past the ideation stage, we often use teammates to test and refine before launching something new for customers.
Jim: What types of data do you collect from the incentives you used that are tied to your loyalty program?
Glen: Data is critical to our success in this area, but it’s important not to be overwhelmed with data points. We focus on the basics to measure engagement, activation, redemption and purchase behavior.
Jim: What’s the most important ingredient in an incentive used to engage your loyalty program members?
Glen: Handling data at scale with speed dictates a retailer’s ability to get the right offer to the right person at the right time through the right media. If you want to boil it down to a single most important ingredient, I would say relevance.
By that I mean no offer, time or media is inherently wrong, but they all must come together in a relevant way that resonates with that customer in the moment.
Price Chopper Focuses on Awareness, Engagement and Loyalty
Price Chopper officials use different incentives across the customer lifecycle that focus on loyalty goals like acquisition, retention and enhancement. They meet their customers where they are to match company objectives with their needs. By doing these things, they achieve awareness, engagement and loyalty.
Loyalty program members can support local schools or charities online, pay down student loans or enter sweepstakes for grand prizes – all by using their points. And each of these actions can be shared via text, email or social media to customers’ friends and family.
Learn more about how to use incentives to boost your loyalty program in the 2023 Loyalty Amplifiers Data Study.