PITTSBURGH — Inverting and expanding its successful fuelperks! incentive program, Giant Eagle here this month began offering discounts in the main supermarket based on fuel purchases at its GetGo gas locations.
The retailer is piloting the foodperks! program in its Columbus, Ohio, market, with an eye to extending it to its Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland stores soon, said spokesman Dan Donovan. With the opening last week of a store in Lancaster, Ohio, Giant Eagle now has 24 Giant Eagle supermarkets and 20 GetGo fuel and convenience store locations in central Ohio, he said.
The program comes at a time when Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., and Kroger Co., Cincinnati, are enhancing their fuel incentive programs. Giant Eagle competes directly with Kroger in Columbus and central Ohio.
“We compete with a wide array of strong retailers in central Ohio, making innovative programs such as foodperks! vital for our continued success. While there is no specific timetable for expansion of the program, we will closely monitor the program's success and evaluate opportunities to roll out foodperks! to additional Giant Eagle markets,” Donovan said.
“The timing of foodperks! has as much to do with the continued evolution of our customer loyalty programs as anything else,” he said.
In the program, 10 gallons of fuel purchased at GetGo locations using the Giant Eagle Advantage Card earns customers a 1% foodperks! discount off the price of a single trip's purchases inside any supermarket. Like fuelperks!, foodperks! rewards are cumulative and electronically tracked. In the Columbus market, Giant Eagle credits 20 cents toward a fuel purchase for every $50 spent in the supermarket. In other markets, it is 10 cents.
There are no limits to the number of rewards that can be earned, although certain products, such as gift cards, alcohol, tobacco and prescriptions paid by third parties, are not included. There is a maximum discount redemption of $60, or 20%, on a single trip's purchase total of $300. Foodperks! savings beyond the 20% maximum can be saved for a later supermarket trip.
“This is a smart idea,” said Neil Stern, partner, McMillan Doolittle, Chicago. “They are intelligently leveraging their assets and reaching consumer needs to save money, period! With gas prices down, this should resonate.”
Also praising the evolution of the fuel incentive program was Don Stuart, managing director, Cannondale Associates, Wilton, Conn. “Just as Giant Eagle pioneered the fuelperks! loyalty/discount program, they are now doing the same thing with food. As fuel prices peaked and food prices skyrocketed, Giant Eagle has the perfect marketing combination: Purchase gas and save on food.”
Additionally, “it's all linked into the Giant Eagle Advantage card; there are no limits, plus there are rollovers for gas as well as food purchases. This is a loyalty program that can really change behavior,” Stuart said.
“Foodperks! is the perfect complement to our popular fuelperks! fuel rewards loyalty program, maximizing savings on both groceries and fuel,” said Brett Merrell, Giant Eagle's senior vice president of marketing, in a statement. “Simply by pumping GetGo fuel into your vehicle, you earn discounts on your purchases at Giant Eagle — even when you are redeeming fuelperks! discounts.”
Giant Eagle reported that it will calculate the discounts after all other reductions, such as coupons, have been taken. Foodperks! rewards expire three months after the end of the month in which a customer earns them.