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    LaBonne’s IGA Builds Loyalty, Drives Web Traffic With New Gift Solution

    Community-based independent LaBonne’s Markets has introduced a new loyalty platform designed to engage shopper segments and reward top shoppers.

    Community-based independent LaBonne’s Markets has introduced a new loyalty platform designed to engage shopper segments and reward top shoppers.

    The New England grocer is working with Troy, Mich.-based Market Basket Rewards, Inc. on a rewards program in which customers earn points that can be redeemed for gifts.

    “I was searching for a way to maintain our brand identity in the communities we serve while leveraging the ability to gather valuable customer data,” recounted Bob LaBonne Jr., owner of LaBonne’s. “Market Basket Rewards provided a solution which allows me to do that.”

    One key aspect of the program was that cards are optional, and not required to get the sale prices. “That’s the big-box store thing,” said LaBonne. “We wanted to differentiate ourselves, not follow them. I want my customers to want to carry our card for the benefits, not as a price of admission. They will receive non-advertised offers via e-mail, information about upcoming events, and even offers based on their own purchase preferences.”

    LaBonne also wanted to get his shoppers accustomed to reading store e-mails and visiting its Web site for his weekly advertised specials and promotional messages. “The only way I’m ever going to decrease my advertising budget is to train shoppers to get my ad online,” he quipped.

    During its current promotion, which spans 24 weeks, shoppers who show their LaBonne’s Great Rewards card earn one point for every dollar they spend, which can be redeemed for their choice of over 1,000 gifts for men, women and children. Shoppers can call, click through LaBonne’s Web site, or write in to redeem their points at any time during the promotion, which lasts for 24 weeks. “There’s something for everybody, and it’s totally free to them — shipping included,” said LaBonne. “When the gift event is over I can choose to give away store gift cards as part of a ‘Free Grocery’ promotion, offer free hams for Easter, or create a springtime promotion to engage and reward my shoppers. “

    Woodbury, Conn.-based LaBonne’s Markets is an IGA retailer operating three stores in the western part of the state.

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