The Kroger Co., Sprouts Farmers Market and Publix Super Markets landed top marks for supermarkets in Newsweek’s 2022 Top U.S. Loyalty Programs.
Kroger’s Smith’s banner ranked first in the supermarket category with a score of 8.38 for its Smith’s Rewards World Elite Mastercard, followed by Sprouts at 7.90 for its mobile app, Kroger Co.’s chain Mariano’s at 7 .79 for its Mariano’s Rewards World Mastercard, Publix at 7.70 for its Club Publix program and ShopRite at 7.61 for its Price Plus Club, according to List of Newsweek’s Best Loyalty Programs.
A total of 20 grocery chains made the list, including seven Kroger Co. banners. Kroger’s Fred Meyer at No. 6 for the Fred Meyer Rewards Elite Mastercard (score of 7.58), Price Chopper at No. 7 for its AdvantEdge program (7.56), Winn-Dixie at #8 for Winn-Dixie Rewards (7.55), Kroger’s Fry’s Food Stores banner at #9 for Fry’s Rewards World Elite Mastercard (7.47), and Giant Food at No. 10 for Giant Flexible Rewards (7.46).
Kroger’s Ralphs Banner, K-VA-T’s Food City, Kroger Store Banner, Kroger’s Pick ‘n Save, Piggly Wiggly, Tops Markets, Stop & Shop, Ingles Markets, Weis Markets and Albertson.
Publix based in Lakeland, Florida rolled out the no-cost Club Publix membership program in March 2020. Member benefits include a set of digital shopping tools, advance notice of offers and discounts, exclusive savings, personalized content and other perks.
“Providing a pleasant shopping experience goes beyond our aisles. Club Publix offers our customers a more personalized experience to meet their individual needs and preferences,” said Maria Brous, director of communications at Publix, in a Newsweek ranking statement. “We are delighted to know that our customers’ feedback reflects our goal of delivering more of what matters to them. Overall, Publix operates 1,297 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Based on a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. consumers enrolled in U.S. retailer or service provider programs, Newsweek’s 2022 list of America’s Best Loyalty Programs ranks companies’ programs by six criteria (in order importance): recommendation to others, overall satisfaction, benefits, trust, customer support, ease and pleasure. The best received above-average overall ratings for their award-winning loyalty programs. In total, approximately 20,000 reviews were collected on merchant and service provider loyalty programs in 36 categories. Loyalty programs were defined as all reward programs that provided customers with an advantage when purchasing or using the products or services of associated brands.
“By one estimate, the average American household is enrolled in 18 different loyalty programs. The challenge for businesses is not to entice customers to sign up, but to motivate them to become truly engaged program users,” wrote Nancy Cooper, Newsweek’s global editor, in America’s 2022 report. Best Loyalty Programs. “Research shows that consumers actively use only half of the plans they sign up for. The challenge for consumers is deciding which of the bevy of programs vying for their attention is worthwhile.”
Big-box grocery retailers were also on Newsweek’s list under the supermarket and warehouse club category. They were led by Costco Wholesale with a score of 7.88 for its club membership, Sam’s Club at 7.84 for its Sam’s Club family program, Walmart at 6.77 for its Walmart Rewards card, Target at 6.37 for its Target Circle program and Meijer at 5.85 for its mPerks program.
Supermarkets also accounted for four of the five chains classified in the pharmacy and parapharmacy category. They included Kroger at No. 1 for the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard (7.98), ShopRite at No. 2 for its Price Plus Club (7.55), Giant Eagle at No. 3 for its Advantage Card (7. 49), Publix at No. 2.4 for Club Publix (7.28), and CVS Pharmacy at No. 5 for its ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health awards (6.98).
“For brands, this is a potentially huge payoff, as it costs a lot more to get new customers than to keep existing ones, and loyalty program members tend to spend a lot more than non-members. “, observed Cooper.
Other retail categories on Newsweek’s list included convenience stores, restaurants, department stores, apparel, footwear, beauty, bookstores, consumer electronics, home goods, home improvement and sporting goods, among others. Loyalty programs have become “an essential part of an enormous number of daily transactions,” Cooper noted in the report.
“Retaining customers has become even more critical during the pandemic, when a third of shoppers have indicated a willingness to switch brands,” she said.