by Maureen Milliken
Hannaford Supermarkets this week launched a rewards program to drive consumers to store brands in what the Scarborough-based company is calling “a reinvention of grocery store loyalty programs.”
The My Hannaford Rewards program lets shoppers who participate earn a 2% reward for buying store brand items, but doesn’t change item prices.
About 5,200 items, including produce and meats, qualify for the program in an average-sized Hannaford store, according to a news release that also called the program a “game changer” for shoppers. The company, owned by Ahold Delhaize of Belgium and the Netherlands, has 56 stores in Maine and 181 overall in New England and New York.
The program is different from traditional supermarket loyalty programs because in-store prices remain the same for all customers, whether they enroll or not. Those enrolled in the Hannaford program see the rewards in money that accrues back to them quarterly, which can be used at the register.
The move is the latest grocery chain rewards program that targets customer preferences, rather than pricing.
Shaw’s supermarkets, Hannaford’s biggest competitor in Maine, ended its loyalty card program in 2013. The company, with 22 stores in Maine, now has the MyMixx program, which tailors coupons and sale offers to customers depending on what they regularly buy. It also offers discounts on gasoline in partnership with Sunoco.
Both Shaw’s and Hannaford programs offer digital coupons and are set up to be used with a smartphone or computer.
Rewards redeemed quarterly
“My Hannaford Rewards is a new way to thank customers, with a 2% reward on private-brand items and coupon offers that are meaningful to them as individuals,” said Hannaford President Michael Vail in the news release.
He said the program builds on the “foundations” of the store’s pricing and customer service “with additional benefits.”
Aside from the focus on store-brand products, the program includes coupons for the national- and regional-brand products that customers buy.
Customers can sign up by downloading the app on their smartphone, signing up online at Hannaford.com, or in the store.
Hannaford customers who don’t have a smartphone or computer don’t need one to accrue rewards, Delhaize spokesman Eric Blom said. But customers must have access to an internet-enabled device to redeem them.
Rewards are earned when customers scan the app or enter their phone number at the register. The rewards can be redeemed quarterly, with the total available to be used at the customer’s next shopping trip. Eligible products have the brands Hannaford, Taste of Inspirations, Nature’s Place, Home 360, Cha-Ching, Etos, Companion, CareOne and Healthy Accents.
The company tested the program with employees, as well as in 11 stores in Burlington, Vt.
“In each case, enrollment and use of the program far surpassed expectations,” the release said.
The chain, which began with a Portland grocer in 1883, was acquired by Delhaize, a Belgian company, in 2000. Netherlands-based Ahold acquired Delhaize in 2016 to become AholdDelhaize, and the company owns more than 6,500 stores worldwide. It is the world’s fifth-largest grocery retailer and also owns the Food Lion, Stop & Shop, and other regional chains in the U.S.