Whole Foods to launch national rewards program
Whole Foods Market is preparing to roll out a rewards program nationwide amid increasing competition for its shippers.
Coinciding with the company’s “strategy around leading a race to the top in terms of a differentiated customer experience,” the grocer plans to launch the rewards program in 2017, Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey said in the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, Nov. 2. He did not reveal a specific start-date.
The natural grocer started getting its feet wet with the concept through a pilot program it launched in Philadelphia in 2014. Whole Foods followed up with a launch in its Dallas market 14 weeks ago.
“There are nearly 50,000 folks up in the Dallas metro already registered and participating,” Jason Buechel, the grocer’s executive VP and CIO said on the call. “We are excited about the results that we are already seeing and building findings into our plan to roll to all stores next year.”
The program currently offers new members a 10% discount off of their first purchase, a one-time 15% discount for the department of their choice, and select free products.
Looking ahead, Whole Foods plans to use the program as a catalyst to drive more targeted marketing efforts. Taking advantage of the 5 million subscribers in its customer relationship management (CRM) database, Whole Foods is already experiencing an “uptick in our email push promotions, and we will be doing a number of offers throughout the holiday period,” Buechel said.
Taking this one step further, the company plans to integrate more digital coupons within its new loyalty program — a move that gives Whole Foods the ability to target offers, as well as learn customers’ buying behaviors. “Learning what's driving folks into stores will help us make sure that we're teeing up offers that are relevant for our customers,” he added.
Overall, the loyalty program is a vehicle that will help Whole Foods continue to differentiate itself in the marketplace. “It is not a race to the bottom,” said A.C. Gallo, Whole Foods’ president and COO. “When other people might be promoting certain commodity pricing, we're going to continue to maintain our standards and promote our higher quality products.”
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