- October 12th, 2012
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Walmart, Humana Deliver Clean Bill of Health in Loyalty
Innovation is the heartbeat of any industry, regardless of whether it is technology, food service or customer loyalty. But identifying the best innovations in loyalty requires understanding the beating hearts of our customers.
This is why leaders of the loyalty field have been exploring unconventional areas in which to expand our business. Among the most promising we’ve found: wellness and sustainable living.
So when I saw the headline, “Wal-Mart, Humana reward healthy food purchases,” I turned off my phone and prepared to tuck into a very interesting read. According to the article, Walmart and Humana, the health care insurer, have partnered to offer wholesome food credits to the more than 1 million members of the HumanaVitality healthy rewards program.
As part of the offer, beginning Oct. 15, program members will receive 5 percent credit on healthy food items such as fruits and lean meats – anything that has a Walmart “Great for You” icon on it. These credits can be used toward future food purchases. And at Walmart, that 5 percent can add up to a lot of lettuce – food sales make up more than half of its $461 billion in annual sales, Reuters reports.
Smart. This partnership demonstrates how seemingly distinct entities can partner effectively to create mutual value.
Such alignments are similar, in some capacity, to tests that LoyaltyOne has been engaged in with several potential partners, including the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, the British Columbia Government and the supermarket chain Safeway. But in the Walmart-Humana collaboration, I see longer-horizon benefits, which is very encouraging for companies like mine that also want to influence positive behavior.
For instance, Walmart’s sheer size, not to mention that of Humana, provides the kind of unparalleled scale to reach millions of consumers virtually at once. As Walmart stated in its own press release, “It is another example of how Walmart uses its size and scale to lead on big social issues that matter to Americans.”
As a marketer, I know I’d like to do anything in my power to help my best customers to live longer. Such innovative collaborations nurture both a healthier bottom line and long-term loyalty.