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Big Y and daily-deal website Groupon set sail on a first-ever partnership last week that finds the New England-based company stepping up as the first grocer to offer Groupon’s digital deals loaded to shopper loyalty cards with its initial offer -- a new Shellfish Grill Pack, that includes lobster tails, mussels, clams, and other seafood suitable for grilling, for $24 rather than the usual list price of $39.99.
To get the deal, shoppers were required to enter their Big Y loyalty card number; rather than printing out a certificate, the deal was directly credited onto the customer’s card, which could be redeemed at any of the regional retailer’s Connecticut or Massachusetts stores by simply swiping the card at checkout.
“We found this to be a nice way to differentiate ourselves while enhancing the shopper experience, and adding a bit of excitement to it,” Big Y’s director of database marketing Harry Kimball told Progressive Grocer. “And since it’s integrated to the shoppers’ loyalty card, there is no hassle for them.”
Big Y worked with Incentive Targeting and HaloEffect to integrate Groupon to its loyalty card program. The partnership combines Groupon’s social buying platform with Incentive Targeting’s retail shopper marketing technology, Big Y’s grocery retail loyalty program, and HaloEffect’s agency creative and grocery marketing expertise.
“As pioneers in loyalty cards for retail, we’re partnering with Groupon and Incentive Targeting to test social buying with our shoppers,” said Michael D’Amour, VP of sales and merchandising for the Springfield, Mass.-based operator or 61 stores. “We anticipate that we will attract new customer interest as we explore new avenues in interactive customer marketing.”
With U.S. consumers spending over $550 billion a year on groceries, and CPG companies devoting roughly $35 billion annually to marketing and promotion, Tom Schneider, president of Boston-based HaloEffect, sees the partnership as a game-changer with “the potential to revolutionize the grocery marketing landscape.”
The new program is part of Big Y’s continuing efforts to leverage social media in its marketing and merchandising efforts. “We have an active Facebook page, which we use to engage our customers and get feedback from them,” said Kimball. “We also work with several e-coupon platforms.”
Mobile [technology] is also an area he is exploring. “A lot of consumers are walking around with smart phones,” Kimball added. “But what’s important to note is that they like using their smartphones – it’s not a burden to them. So integrating mobile programs that leverage these devices is a win-win. “
Found below is the clever and informative text from Big Y’s Facebook posting announcing the shellfish grill pack deal that linked directly to Groupon’s website:
“After properly cooking a lobster, its once-brown exoskeleton turns bright red, letting chefs know that it's both ready to serve and profoundly embarrassed for showing up without pants. Make a meal of deliciously mortified seafood with today's Groupon: for $24, you get a Summer Shellfish Grill Pack, including two lobster tails, two king-crab clusters, two shrimp skewers, two stuffed clams, and 2 pounds of mussels (a $39.99 value) at Big Y. This Groupon is valid at all Big Y locations—throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut—and requires a Big Y Express Card. Existing members should provide their card info upon purchase and the offer will be automatically uploaded to existing cards by June 10. New members will receive cards by mail.
“Big Y has dedicated 75 years to stocking its shelves with first-rate foodstuffs. The Summer Shellfish Grill Pack indulges maritime appetites with a towering feast of coldwater favorites that spotlights succulent duos of fresh lobster tails and clusters of king crab. Grill masters can don specially engineered flavor-viewing goggles when searing 20 tasty shrimp on a pair of skewers, rotating them until they burst with glorious beams of succulent radiance. Rounding out the meal is 2 pounds of mouthwatering mussels and a duo of stuffed clams, ideal for sharing with a sweetheart or for pacifying spurned sea captains. A Big Y Express Card is required for this deal, and shoppers can enroll at no additional cost. Newly minted members are granted access to weekly savings, discounts at local events, and turbo-speed checkout conveyor belts.”