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Safeway Program Puts “U” at the Center of its Purpose

Source: Safeway

Source: Safeway

If there is one thing we can learn from the supermarket chain Safeway, it is that you cannot spell “Us” without the U.

This is evident in its loyalty marketing initiative, called “Just for U.” The program has been so successful that Supermarket News recently named Diane Dietz, chief marketing officer at Safeway, as its 2013 Marketer of the Year, in part for her role in launching the program.

Just for U combines the best of all consumer loyalty practices. It engages employees through collaboration, uses the data to deliver relevant messaging and offers, and relies on Enterprise Loyalty, or sharing the data across all departments of the company.

The program was designed to ease the shopping experience and more personally connect with consumers, in part by taking full advantage of their increased reliance on digital media. Accessible across all digital channels, the program offers online enrollment where members can get electronic coupons and offers tailored to specific preferences and behaviors.

In essence, Safeway designed its total operations around what is important to the individual customer.

To start, Safeway made sure its Just for U team spanned several departments and disciplines, both on the sales floor and behind the scenes. The company bolstered its digital communications group, for example, and relied on its social media team to identify bloggers who might be interested in writing about the program.

On the sales floor, Safeway enrolled employees to provide feedback and help the company make modifications before launch. Once Just for U was launched, employees navigated the aisles to identify and register potential new users, using iPads that Safeway had provided.

Lastly, the program loops in its product suppliers, by sharing the data that identifies lapsed brand purchasers or to find high-potential customers for new product innovations.

This combination enables Safeway to tailor not only its offers and promotions, but even specific product categories, by store. Safeway’s wine selection is a good example. By sharing its program data with its merchandising group, Safeway is able to customize its wine selection to fit shopper demographics at individual stores.

And shoppers are responding. Since its rollout in 2010, 5 million customers have registered for Just for U. One retail analyst told Supermarket News that, according to Safeway management, the program was expected to boost sales per transaction by $8 to $11, and has doubled that.

All these elements of the Just for U program combine to form the underpinnings of a customer-committed strategy. They guide the company, across all departments, to consider every business decision from the point of view of its best customers, instead of from the perspective of product innovation, margin, sales per store, or other metrics.

This is what it takes to make The Loyalty Leap. We should all strive to be in Safeway’s company.

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