Southeastern Grocers' customers fuel up on cheap groceries, not cheap gas

Dive Brief:

  • Southeastern Grocers is replacing its Fuelperks-based reward program with a Plenti coalition initiative, which showed a significant increase in user engagement when it launched at its Harveys stores in 2016, according to Supermarket News.
  • Southeastern CEO Ian McLeod said company data showed that 80% of all Harveys customers had engaged with Plenti rewards since it launched five months ago, about four times as many as were participating in Fuelperks. " One of the benefits we saw was to develop a relationship with Plenti because our customers were saying that the discount they wanted most of all was on groceries,” McLeod said.
  • The new rewards system will be available at SEG’s Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Fresco Y Mas locations. Shoppers can continue to amass FuelPerks through March 26 as long as they are redeemed by April 30.

Dive Insight:

Based on a small data sample from a pilot program in its Harveys stores, Southeastern Grocers is replacing its gas rewards program with a Plenti card that allows consumers to get a discount on their groceries.

The retailer believes more consumers are interested in saving money at the checkout line than saving money on gas — especially since the rewards are more immediate and are less likely to expire.

The ultimate goal of a loyalty program is to generate goodwill with existing customers. Many analysts agree having a solid marketing strategy targeting all generations is the best way to ensure customer loyalty. Because many millennials and younger demographics use Uber or public transportation to get around, gas may not be a commodity that they're interested in. And with gas being less expensive than it was a few years ago, gas discounts may not be as coveted by the consumer. Food savings, however, are always key to keeping longtime customer happy and luring new shoppers to store. 

This new food discount also could be a good way for Southeastern Grocers' chains to differentiate themselves in a crowded grocery space. Today's shopper may be hungry for premium offerings and high-end grocery experiences, but low costs continues to be the driving force behind where consumers choose to shop. 

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Filed Under: Grocery Corporate Policy Marketing