Are student loan repayments the next big perk in retailer loyalty programs?
Price Chopper/Market 32 is looking to create deeper relationships with its customers as the grocer expands its reward programs beyond simple discounts on food and fuel. Recently added app-delivered opportunities provide members with the option of putting their points towards paying down student loans, supporting local schools, making contributions to a rotating list of charities, purchasing specialty kitchen products and entering periodic sweepstakes.
The retailer originally launched its AdvantEdge Rewards program as Fuel Advantage in 2006. As its name suggests, Price Chopper/Market 32’s customers were able to redeem points for discounted gas earned by making purchases in its grocery stores. The program has since expanded to include food and bonus item offers as well as gift card multipliers.
New updates delivered earlier this month via an enhanced mobile app provide AdvantEdge members with experiential, digital and physical reward options, including sweepstakes for shopping sprees and vacations. Members can also choose to stick with traditional food and fuel rewards or use funds to reduce their student loan debt and more.
A Price Chopper/Market 32 spokesperson told RetailWire that the grocery retailer made changes to its program based on requests from customers. The company was working on enhancements prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, but “the pandemic really underscored the need for online redemption options for those not coming into the store, as well as for those seeking something new and exciting.”
Price Chopper/Market 32 said consumer feedback provided management with a focus for the delivery platform as well as the types of offers that members would value. It conducted a pilot program with its own associates over several months to work out the kinds of offerings before its public unveiling.
The spokesperson said the new student loan repayment perk is proving more popular than expected. Over time, the grocer expects to see all of the new and existing elements of AdvantEdge “to have their own fans.”
Price Chopper/Market 32 announced in February that it would merge with Tops Markets to join the two New York state regional grocery chain operators under a single corporate entity. The deal, which has not yet closed, will enable the two companies to continue operating individually with Price Chopper/Market 32 based in Schenectady and Tops in Williamsville. The new company will operate about 300 stores under the Price Chopper, Market 32, Market Bistro and Tops Markets banners.
- Price Chopper/Market 32 Expands AdvantEdge Rewards – TCC Global
- Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets to Merge, Nearly Doubling Their Footprint in the Northeast – Price Chopper/Market 32/Tops Market
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see loyalty program perks such as student loan repayment, charitable contributions, sweepstake entries, etc. becoming a bigger part of these offers at retail? Will these offers create a greater sense of loyalty among members compared to standard rewards programs?