The operator of GalaFresh Farm Supermarkets in New Jersey has launched its first loyalty program, called GalaBucks, which allows customers to earn points that can be redeemed for free merchandise.
Aurora Grocery Group, which operates about two dozen stores in Charlotte, N.C., and in the Northeast, began testing the new loyalty program last week at its locations in Paterson and Passaic, N.J., for potential rollout next year to its other locations.
Omar Jorge, chairman of the family-owned Aurora Grocery Group, which is a member of the Key Foods cooperative, said the company developed the program using software that is already a part of its Loc Store Management Suite (SMS) point-of-sale software.
“They have a loyalty program that’s included in the software, but we are the ones who came up with the way to execute it that really serves our customers best,” said Jorge.
The company’s stores, which operate under the GalaFresh, Gala Foods and Compare Foods banners, tend to serve a multicultural consumer base. The two stores in New Jersey were former A&P locations that the company acquired and reopened in 2015.
Customers who sign up for a loyalty account can earn one GalaBuck for every dollar spent on groceries at GalaFresh Farms locations. Customers can also earn additional GalaBucks by referring other customers to join, filling out store surveys or by shopping on certain days or during certain hours.
“We have a lot of different ideas to motivate people to earn points,” said Jorge.
They can then redeem the accumulated points for promotional awards to be announced each week. The company is rotating the merchandise available for redeemed points each week and is seeking to have about six different items available at a time, which will help bring a sense of newness and excitement to the program, Jorge said.
Some of the rewards will be smaller items that can be redeemed for a small number of points, and some will be larger items.
“Customers are responding well, and they appreciate having a lot of choices about how to use the points,” said Jorge. “If they want instant gratification, they can use them right away, or they can accumulate them to get something bigger.”