EXCLUSIVE: Giant Eagle foodperks! Piques Positive Customer Response

A little over 24 hours after debuting its new foodperks! rewards program in its native Pittsburgh market, Giant Eagle officials are pumped about the prospects for success that the program is poised to deliver.

Rob Borella, senior director, corporate communications for Western Pa.’s dominant market leader, told Progressive Grocer that the privately held chain launched foodperks! in its flagship market “after thousands of hours” of consumer intercepts at both its supermarket and GetGo locations.

Citing anecdotal observations derived from visits to Pittsburgh area stores on the introductory morning of foodperks! unveiling, Borella said customer feedback was “very positive,” thanks in large part to extensive media coverage the new program received on local airwaves. With the majority of shoppers reporting that they had already seen or heard about the second leg of Giant Eagle’s increasingly sophisticated loyalty rewards efforts, it was clear that “customers quickly grasped the basic elements of program,” which Borella said was extremely encouraging.

As the “perfect addition” to Giant Eagle’s highly popular fuelperks! gasoline discount rewards program, Borella said the grocery chain intends to carefully monitor “two important measuring metrics in the coming months. One: What are the fuel gallon sales lifts associated with the new program? And two: What’s the increase in Giant Eagle Advantage cards being scanned at GetGo pumps?”

The subsequent information gleaned from the evaluations will be especially important, according to Borella, “because customers may or may not scan their Advantage cards [at GetGo gas pumps] if they’re not redeeming fuelperks! So the good news is, in early results, scan rates and fuel gallons were up in day-one, and we will continue to closely watch” scan rates, he added.

The considerable media attention generated by the roll out of foodperks! within the fist 24-hours in Pittsburgh also sparked considerable consumer interest at the chain’s customer care center, which Borella said had fielded “several dozens of calls,” the majority of which centered on requests for additional program information. “We were happy to be able to clarify customers’ questions,” said Borella, noting that Giant Eagle will remain focused on continuing customer education via a full marketing campaign including radio, print, outdoor, online and in-store signage.

Initially launched in Columbus, Ohio, in November 2008, foodperks! enables customers to earn discounts on supermarket shopping trips by pumping gasoline at the retailer’s GetGo fuel stations. The new and additional loyalty program runs concurrently with its already popular fuelperks! program.

With foodperks!, every 10 gallons of fuel pumped at GetGo locations with a Giant Eagle Advantage Card will earn customers a 1 percent discount off the price of a single trip’s basket inside any Giant Eagle supermarket. Foodperks! rewards are cumulative and, just like the forerunning fuelperks!, are electronically tracked on Advantage Cards. While there are no limits to the number of rewards that can be earned, there is maximum discount redemption of $60, or 20 percent, on a single trip’s purchase total of $300. Any foodperks! savings beyond the 20 percent maximum will be saved for a later supermarket trip, and are automatically tracked via the Giant Eagle Advantage Card.

Even when customers redeem fuelperks! discounts – up to and including the redemption of a free tank – they are still earning foodperks! rewards. At their option, customers can easily redeem foodperks! at the Giant Eagle checkout when they scan their Advantage Card. The discounts earned in foodperks! and fuelperks! are electronically tracked, and purchase receipts at both GetGo and Giant Eagle locations will show the amount of discounts earned for customer convenience. Any gallons purchased without passing the 10 gallon threshold will be carried over to the next purchase.

With 160 corporate and 60 independently owned and operated supermarkets, Giant Eagle also operates 153 fuel and c-stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.
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