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RETAIL NEWS

Rite Aid brings Plenti to table with new loyalty program

BY Michael Johnsen

 

NEW YORK — Rite Aid is one of the key retail partners in a first for the U.S. market: a coalition loyalty program called Plenti that includes the likes of American Express, AT&T, Direct Energy, Exxon/Mobil, Hulu, Macy’s and Nationwide. The program, to be managed by American Express, will officially launch this spring and is expected to include more iconic brands in additional categories.
“We are excited to join Plenti and add this compelling customer value proposition to our already successful wellness+ loyalty program,” said John Learish, SVP marketing for Rite Aid. “Our customers told us that adding the ability to earn and use points for savings in our stores and at eligible Plenti partner locations, while saving up to 20% every day in our stores, significantly increases the appeal of our program and creates more reasons for them to shop at Rite Aid more often.”
And it will be a true addition, Learish explained to Drug Store News. Members of Rite Aid’s wellness+ loyalty program won’t lose any of their benefits. In fact, Plenti loyalty members shopping at Rite Aid for the first time will be prompted to join wellness+, after which they will immediately reap benefits like a 10% discount of Rite Aid purchases with the accrual of 500 points. “These are really, really valuable long-term rewards,” Learish said.
Rite Aid will be rebranding its loyalty program wellness+Plenti. The Pennsylvania-based retail pharmacy operator is contributing 25 million established loyalty shoppers to the coalition, and the returns for all parties, from the loyal customer to each of the businesses participating in the program, are expected to be immense. The coalition represents an efficient way to feed the respective customer bases of each partner with personalized offers.
“Three-quarters of the U.S. is within five miles of at least two of these brands,” Jed Scala, head of marketing for Plenti, told Drug Store News. The loyalty coalition represents a “revolution” in the loyalty space, Scala added, noting that one-card-one-retailer programs may become obsolete.
All told, the Plenti loyalty program will be offered through more than 25,000 retail locations. “The reach is going to be pretty significant,” Learish added. “We think it’s going to be a tremendous driver of new business for us.”
For consumers, the coalition of loyalty partners represents greater value — the more business they do with more coalition partners will quickly generate loyalty rewards. And those rewards can be redeemed across any of the coalition partners, which makes the program more manageable and flexible.
Recent research indicates that 72% of Americans say they would prefer a rewards program that allows them to shop at many stores versus a single brand, Rite Aid stated. Plenti is designed to address that need, giving consumers opportunities to earn points at just about every turn — at the gas pump, using their cell phones, watching their favorite television programs, buying insurance, managing their health conditions or going on a clothing shopping spree.
“Plenti will offer customers everyday opportunity to earn and to redeem [their] points with much more choice – so shoppers can choose to reward themselves on routine purchases, or they can save up points to buy great gifts or treat themselves to larger purchases,” noted Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer.
Every 1,000 points will translate to at least $10 in savings, and Plenti members can earn points faster by activating special promotional offers across participating brands or through Plentiís online offer center and online marketplace. Another bonus: members who make use of Plenti’s app will be able to redeem any personalized offers in real time.
What’s more, Plenti points will retain their value for two years before expiring.
“This is a perfect time for a coalition loyalty program in the U.S., as online marketing becomes more efficient and American consumers become more accustomed to rewards programs, special offers and discounts,” said Ed Gilligan, president at American Express.
US Loyalty is a division of American Express that will serve as the operator of Plenti, and will issue the rewards and oversee the centralized marketing activities for the program in collaboration with the founding companies. In addition, US Loyalty will be responsible for securely managing consumer data collected through Plenti.
In 2011, American Express acquired Loyalty Partner. The company operates three subsidiaries including: Payback, a leading multi-partner loyalty program designed to deliver value to consumers and generate additional revenue for participating companies. Today, Payback manages coalition loyalty programs in Germany, Italy, Poland, India and Mexico and has more than 60 million active customers.

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