NY Grocery Chain Rewards Customers

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New York-based grocery chain D'Agostino Supermarkets started a customer rewards program Nov. 10 with S&H Greenpoints -- the modern version of S&H Green Stamps -- and signed up 22,000 participants in its first five days.


"This is our best launch to date," said Ron Bonacti, vice president of loyalty marketing for S&H.


The S&H brand is more than 100 years old. In 1964, when it was still S&H Green Stamps, it printed three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service. In 1999, the company reinvented itself as S&H Greenpoints, which can be redeemed through a catalog, via an 800 number or on greenpoints.com. In 2003, 3 million consumers were enrolled in the program across 11 states. Other supermarkets using the program include Shop 'n Save, Lowes Foods, Foodtown, Carter's Food Centers and Tidyman's.


Customers in D'Agostino's program earn 10 greenpoints for every dollar they spend in the chain's 22 stores. Greenpoints are redeemable on promoted items in the stores or by selecting from items featured in a print catalog distributed free at D'Agostino, or at greenpoints.com.


Bonacti expects participants to start redeeming greenpoints in the first month of the program. Typically, 70 percent of participants start using their points during the first quarter of a new program, he said. Traditionally, about 10 percent of participants redeem points for products in the catalog or online and 90 percent use them in stores.


Given Manhattan's many cultural activities, it is possible that more than 10 percent will redeem their points via the catalog for items such as theater tickets, Bonacti said.


The 74-page catalog contains about 800 items, including brand-name merchandise, gift certificates and travel opportunities. It is divided into 16 product categories, such as dining & entertaining, electronics, child's room & toys, outdoor furniture and tools.


S&H printed 50,000 copies of the catalog for D'Agostino's program, all of which are being distributed at the stores. When people move into a neighborhood near a store, they get a letter from the supermarket welcoming them and inviting them to the store to pick up their free copy of the catalog.


S&H will print a new catalog yearly, updating product selection based on what is selling.


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