Wellness+ reaps benefits for chain and consumers

Since its nationwide launch in April 2010, Rite Aid’s wellness+ loyalty card program rapidly has proven itself to be a phenomenal boost to the chain’s business as the first-ever loyalty program designed to enhance customers’ savings and well-being together.

“Our customers told us they wanted a program that offered more than just discounts. The wellness+ program marries our customers’ fiscal and physical well-being, and we reward them with both member-
only shopping discounts and health-and-wellness benefits that increase the more they shop and the more prescriptions they fill at Rite Aid,” SVP marketing John Learish said when the card was launched.

In a June 23 conference call with investors to discuss the company’s first quarter 2012 financial results, president and CEO John Standley said that wellness+ card members were emerging as some of Rite Aid’s most valuable customers. At that time, the program boasted nearly 40 million members across the country — compared with 16 million as of July 26, 2010, just 12 weeks after the program’s nationwide launch.

Card members accounted for 67% of front-end sales during the quarter and 62% of total scripts. Gold and silver members were shopping at both ends of the store, and 50% of those customers were visiting the stores every week. In addition, members had higher basket rings than nonmembers.

Needless to say, wellness+ has been a smashing success and, along with store-segmentation efforts, a major factor in ushering in a renaissance for the country’s third-largest retail pharmacy chain, a company once better known for its period of retrenchment following legal and financial troubles during the last decade.

The program offers a multitude of benefits for members, such as shopping discounts — including 10% off Rite Aid-brand products — weekly members-only discounts and access to pharmacists 24 hours a day and seven days a week by telephone or online. Members earn points through certain pharmacy and store purchases, which they can put toward free health screenings and additional merchandise discounts.

But the program also is a big opportunity for suppliers. When Tony Montini returned to Rite Aid as 
SVP category management in February — he served brief stints there in the late 1980s and early 2000s, and has since been promoted to EVP merchandising, with former SVP business development Bryan Shirtliff taking over as SVP merchandising — he appeared well-prepared to increase the success of wellness+ among suppliers.

Suppliers that participate in the program get to participate in Rite Aid’s weekly promotional email program to members and get access to the chain’s CRM analytics reports, which include a scorecard of loyalty metrics, shopper decile analysis, category affinity analysis and market basket analysis, according to a program brochure for suppliers. The brochure also touts target marketing opportunities, such as weekly emails, the online member dashboard on Rite Aid’s website and direct mail.

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