D'AGOSTINO LAUNCHES GREENPOINTS PROGRAM

NEW YORK -- In its second attempt at loyalty card marketing, D'Agostino Supermarkets here last week launched a points-based rewards and discounts program, D'AG Rewards, in concert with S&H greenpoints at its 22 stores."We're excited about what we can do for the associates and customers with this program," Nick D'Agostino III, vice president of corporate administration, D'Agostino, said at the program's

NEW YORK -- In its second attempt at loyalty card marketing, D'Agostino Supermarkets here last week launched a points-based rewards and discounts program, D'AG Rewards, in concert with S&H greenpoints at its 22 stores.

"We're excited about what we can do for the associates and customers with this program," Nick D'Agostino III, vice president of corporate administration, D'Agostino, said at the program's debut at a D'Agostino store in midtown Manhattan. "The idea of being able to give special rewards to customers that are loyal to us is something that D'Agostino is always trying to push."

In addition to savings on specific items within the store, D'AG Rewards members will earn 10 greenpoints for each dollar spent in the store and online at dagnyc.com. Additional greenpoints can be earned by purchasing specific items. Greenpoints cannot be earned on purchases of alcohol, tobacco and D'Agostino services, including stamps, delivery and Internet fees.

Greenpoints can be redeemed for discounts on items within the store, or for rewards ranging from movie tickets to household appliances.

Available rewards are featured online at greenpoints.com, and in a print catalog distributed in D'Agostino stores. Discount offers on D'Agostino's in-store items can be found in D'Agostino's circular.

Most customers redeem greenpoints for offers within their supermarket, according to Ron Pederson, president and chief executive officer, S&H greenpoints, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The company reported its relationship with D'Agostino marks its seventh significant supermarket partnership.

D'AG Rewards is D'Agostino's second loyalty club attempt. The first was implemented in the '90s and cancelled two years later because it didn't provide D'Agostino with sufficient customer information, according to D'Agostino III.

In preparation for its launch, D'Agostino has sent "a couple of thousand" D'AG Rewards cards to holders of the previous loyalty club card, said D'Agostino III.

"With our old system, we couldn't get the [customer] information out of it that we needed," he said. "But with the greenpoints system, the [analytic] information we're given is amazing. It's important to know about individual customers and their buying habits."

S&H greenpoints makes Internet-accessible reports detailing customer purchase information available to D'Agostino.

S&H greenpoints is able to update shopper purchase data and deliver program benefits in real time at D'Agostino's point of sale because its InfoPilot system has been interfaced to the retailer's existing POS system.

Each checkout has been retrofitted with a screen that is visible to cashiers. When a D'AG Rewards member swipes her card, her name and greenpoints total appear on the screen. "We've let employees know that it's a requirement to greet these customers by name," said D'Agostino III, who related that the feature also helps cashiers identify top shoppers. The system groups shoppers in seven tiers based on spending levels. D'Agostino cashiers are trained by S&H greenpoints.

The retailer's employees are eligible to become D'AG Rewards members, although employee discounts differ from those granted to shoppers. For example, employees might receive offers for products purchased during the workday, such as sandwiches.

Although D'Agostino initially approached S&H greenpoints four years ago with interest in establishing a loyalty program, S&H had already offered geographic exclusivity to Foodtown, the New York-area cooperative that operates stores near some D'Agostino stores.

"There was a discussion about geography and Foodtown, so it took awhile," said D'Agostino III. "We just had to work together in order to deal with that."

As part of the resolution, D'AG Rewards members can receive greenpoints with their cards when shopping at Foodtown, and vice versa.

"D'Agostino is not sharing information with Foodtown, but it's still nice that another retailer participates in the [greenpoints] program," said D'Agostino III. "We look forward to seeing if other retailers will get involved in the program."

Once a D'AG Rewards member's information has been updated in real time at the POS, it's archived in a database maintained by S&H greenpoints.

Since S&H and D'Agostino are handling customer information, they've established a joint privacy policy. It states that customer information is confidential, and will be used to send special promotions via the checkout lane and e-mail. Both companies promised not to rent, sell or distribute customer information.

In addition to a store receipt, customers are given a D'AG Rewards receipt that tallies their greenpoints earned on that order and previously.