Deliver a Compelling Customer Experience to Build Loyalty in the Insanely Competitive Supermarket Category

Jun 21, 2018

Grocery store rewards programs can be a tough nut to crack. Some supermarkets offer special member pricing on products while others have gone the way of discounted fuel rewards. Many supermarket programs combine a number of these features, sometimes confusingly.

Still, one program stands out to me by providing members with a fun way to interact with the brand while also offering dollars off at the point of sale. If you haven’t been to a Lucky’s Market yet, today just might be your lucky day. If you like the idea of a Trader Joe’s meets Whole Foods meets your localized experience serving beer and wine in store, then this is the grocery store for you…and their rewards program ain’t half bad either.

Lucky’s upbeat brand personality is fun and likable – think your favorite granola friend you met in college in that pass/fail ceramics class. Their homegrown videos, like The Last Real Cowboy, connect with shoppers who want to live a healthy lifestyle without being pretentious and without breaking the bank. Their radio streaming functionality is quippy and delightful:

“On behalf of Lucky’s Market, we apologize to anyone who tuned into this radio station expecting the run-of-the-mill, uninspired, instrumental music that typically fills a grocery store. This is not that. This is Lucky’s Market Radio, the musical equivalent of a fresh cup of coffee with an extra shot of espresso added for kicks. Songs that will have you moving, grooving, and knocking your to-do list out like a ninja. We’re sorry for any confusion, but if you’re looking for easy-listening you might want to try somewhere else… like an elevator.”

Lucky’s Rewards enables shoppers to collect points for every purchase through a program infused with their brand personality. Members can scan product codes, add coupons for featured products to personalized lists, and enjoy discounts from digital punch cards on an array of products from pizza to kombucha (e.g., buy 10 16oz tap kombuchas, get the 11th free at available stores).

In addition, all Lucky’s Rewards members receive personalized coupons, access to a variety of punch card rewards, detailed digital copies of receipts down to the SKU level, a shopping list feature and more. Being a loyalty aficionado, I join a lot of programs, and Lucky’s Rewards is one grocery store program where I find myself investing the time to use it, because I can see the real benefits for its members. Lucky’s Rewards follows many best practices for programs: easy to enroll, easy to use, personalized and enthusiastically adopted and supported by employees.

According to research published by Walden University, the U.S. retail grocery industry accounts for more than 500 billion dollars in annual revenue. It’s a high-stakes sector of the economy, where small changes in market share make huge differences in retailers’ bottom lines. Customer loyalty programs are a key weapon used by chains to grow and retain share of wallet. However, many programs focus too much on the discounting and lack a nuanced strategy to drive engagement and “stickiness.” According to Forrester Research, 74% of 3,322 consumers surveyed belong to supermarket programs and, despite the failure of some grocery programs to leverage personalization and drive emotional engagement, 50% of members surveyed in the 2018 Bond Brand Loyalty Report claimed to be the most satisfied with grocery programs over any other vertical like retail, airline or financial services. Interesting.

Lucky’s Market is the closest to delivering a true customer experience with a clear value proposition. Earn is simplified; 100 points gets you $5 off your next purchase, or if buy 10 of an item, you get one free. Shoppers can also add items to their personalized shopping lists straight from the online weekly ad, so they can benefit from buying that week’s top deals as they cruise around Lucky’s streaming Eric Clapton’s “Layla” from the app.

So much of any retail experience depends on the buy-in and enthusiasm of store associates. Lucky’s storewide training and program adoption is above any of the other grocery programs I’ve enrolled in. On one of my visits, I had no idea there was even a program being offered (tsk tsk, Lucky’s, for your lack of in-store signage by the way), until the wonderful employee behind the wine bar was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I was sold and she helped me enroll right away (and the wine had nothing to do with it). My refreshment and basket of groceries were already accounted for and I was on my way to future earnings. Additionally, many times at checkout Lucky’s employees have coached me on using the app when I had forgotten to include featured weekly items or coupons to my shopping list, ensuring I received the discount. How’s that for product knowledge?

This experience alone can make any customer just as passionate about the program as the employee herself. There is nothing worse than asking about a loyalty program and having an employee toss you a pamphlet or shrug their shoulders. Still, is there room for improvement? Always. Programs should evolve over time, pulling in new features and functionality to keep the program fresh and exciting for members while differentiating amongst the competition in the market (no pun intended). That being said, I see a lot of opportunity for Lucky’s Rewards and I look forward to seeing how Lucky’s Market will continue to provide more robust experiences and value to their members.

Kobie offers the right solutions to help design, build, support and optimize your loyalty marketing needs. If you would like to learn more email