We’re seeing a lot of brick-and-mortar retailers embracing new technologies to expand their abilities and create customer loyalty. In both Kroger and Walgreens stores, cameras are no longer present for the sole purpose of catching shoplifters. They’re used to study customer behaviors as well.
 
Now, the grocery retail space is witnessing a new partnership that enables grocers to reward customers for their loyalty and to reach the customers at digital touchpoints. Associated Supermarket Group (ASG) and Wonder Rewards have entered a partnership that establishes a loyalty marketing program for ASG’s banner stores and independents. Wonder Rewards was formally introduced at the ASG Retailer Summit on February 7, as part of the “What’s New for 2019 in Technology” presentation.
 
The Wonder Rewards program is designed to drive incremental sales for merchants through the execution of customer acquisition, retention, as well as up-sell and cross-sell strategies. Shopper Christine N. of Old Islip, New York, says of the program, “Wonder Rewards is simple to join. It lets me earn points when I shop at major online stores. Now, I’m thrilled to hear it’s coming to supermarkets near me. It’s great to earn and redeem points for my everyday shopping.”
 
Prospective members of Wonder Rewards are able to join the program through its website, or they can download the Wonder Rewards app for mobile devices. For a modern loyalty program, Wonder Rewards requests little customer data. Consumers need only provide a telephone number and zip code. Even providing an email address is optional.
 
ASG is, in the organization’s words, “constantly exploring and evaluating the latest innovations in shopper technology for the independently owned supermarkets that it serves.” Wonder Rewards will provide retailers and consumers a network of redemption outlets, in an effort to differentiate its loyalty program, given the competitive marketplace.
 
Chris Cialone, Director of US Sales Operations at Wonder Rewards, says, “Our relationship with ASG is a positive step in the expansion of Wonder Rewards. ASG grocers will join a growing number of businesses in the Five Boroughs, along with a variety of other merchant and restaurant partners, providing many places for consumers to earn and redeem points. With our growing network, consumers will reach redemption levels more rapidly than with any other single-brand loyalty program. The Wonder Rewards earn and redeem model will be weaved into the daily fabric of everyday living for consumers, offering unlimited ways to earn and redeem points.”
 
Sterling Hawkins, Head of Venture at the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology, says, “The industry is facing furious competition with major technological advances around emerging technology. Every retailer can and should be using third-party technology to level the playing field.”
 
Hawkins’ advice is in keeping with conventional wisdom. At Loyalty360, we’ve heard a lot from many senior-level marketers that third-party technology has provided numerous advantages. Some brand representatives, however, note that developing tech internally has granted their company greater versatility. Either way, it is clear that technology will be the factor that drives consumer loyalty.
 

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