Supermarket Loyalty Programs in 2017: 5 Things Grocers Need to Know

Loyalty programs are nothing new to grocers, but over the past few years, new data has revealed trends in consumer behavior that’s changing the way supermarkets are thinking about loyalty programs.

Let’s run through a few of these data-driven takeaways before diving into one loyalty program software platform we’re seeing some grocers have success with in 2017.

Millennials make having a strong loyalty program more important than ever

A 2015 study revealed that 63% of millennials said they had joined a loyalty program within the past year. This figure represents a jump of nearly 15% when compared to the general population.

This makes it paramount for grocers to ensure they’re incorporating convenience and online accessibility — two attributes millennials tend to care most about — into their loyalty programs.

Consumers want more personalization

Researchers from eMarketer found 2 out of every 3 customers are frustrated about lack of personalization during in-store retail experiences.

Grocers can use beacon and/or point-of-sale technology as part of a loyalty program to help alleviate this frustration.

Millennials care more about fun with loyalty programs

While the biggest and most obvious draw of loyalty programs is the cost savings they bring, the up-and-coming generation — which is set to soon surpass previous generations in buying power — is more likely to want to get some fun out of their participation in loyalty programs, too.

One study found that 34% of millennials said the word that best describes their participation in a customer reward program is “fun,” compared to just 26% of those from the general population.

Don’t forget about baby boomers

While much of the focus in this post and elsewhere is on younger generations, the fact is that consumers 60 years of age and older still account for more than half of all urban consumption growth.

Millennials want fun and convenience, but you’ll go a long way with baby boomers by incorporating specialized personal experiences — such as personal shoppers or exclusive prizes — into your loyalty program as well.

Keeping up with advancements in loyalty program technology

Some grocers have experimented with using new technologies to make their programs more convenient for customers.

Fetch is one such system that’s been steadily gaining traction with grocers by enabling shoppers to use their smartphones to take advantage of exclusive rewards and offers while saving time in the checkout line. Instead of forcing guests to pull out a rewards card or dangle a keychain over a scanner, they can use the Fetch app to scan products with their phone as they shop, automatically redeeming deals while gaining Fetch Rewards points for using the system.

Shoppers can see all Fetch-exclusive deals currently available at a particular store at any time and use an in-app shopping list to check off the items they need as they peruse the store. Tools like Fetch also enable grocers to expand their offers behind store-specific deals by giving users access to promotions directly from big brands such as Kraft-Heinz, MillerCoors, and others who work with in-store tech companies providing these tools and services.

Of course, integrating a tech-based customer loyalty program requires an investment in some in-store infrastructure. But given the convenience and benefits to the shopper, tools like this will no doubt be a mainstay for retailers in the not-so-distant future.

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