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Store: Thompson’s IGA Location: 312 S Main St, Cuba City, Wisconsin Submitted By: Loretta Goodridge
This past March, the store hosted a food drive for a local food pantry. What made this drive unique is that we offered our customers the option of donating their Loyalty Lane reward points to the food pantry. The Loyalty Lane rewards program is free, open to all, and easy to sign up (shoppers just need an address, email, and phone number). Customers are issued a rewards card they scan each shopping trip. They accumulate five points for every dollar spent in the store (excluding alcohol and tobacco). Each month, we offer around 10-12 items that customers can get for free or at a discount with their points. For example, this month we have a bag of Best Choice chocolate chips free with 700 points, and Best Choice instant oatmeal free for 600 points.
As popular as this program is, there are some people who end up accumulating thousands of points and don’t realize how high their point balance gets. For a while now, we’ve had a barrel in the store and encourage shoppers to trade in their points for a free product and donate that product to the food pantry. But having a food drive where people could donate points took out that extra step for a win-win. It’s an easy way to give back that doesn’t cost anything, and the food pantry has the added flexibility to use the points to pick up items whenever they need them. This event was hugely successful, with over 300,000 points donated!
By the Numbers
31 day campaign throughout March 300,000 points donated 300 points = free can of corn (example of one of the 10-12 product deals offered each month) $8,800 in increased sales thanks to the campaign momentum
Why it Works
For Our Shoppers
We make it as easy as possible to donate and doesn’t cost them anything. It's great for shoppers who haven’t been using their points.
For Our Community
The event brought our community together at a time of the year when food pantries often experience low inventory. Having the points gives the food pantry some flexibility when it comes to acquiring items they need.
For Our Store
This program demonstrates our commitment to our community while helping our customers become not only invested in the community but also in our store. With the momentum behind this campaign, we also saw an increase in sales for the month, to the tune of an extra $8,800.
How to Implement:
Our store owner built a chuck wagon display with the signage, “Help us fill the chuck wagon for the food pantry” (through donating product or points).
The local newspaper wrote a story and we promoted it in the store, on social media, and through email to all our rewards card members.
Our cashiers were the front line in this campaign. When the receipt prints out, it has the reward point balance on the bottom. The cashier read the point balance out loud to the customer and asked if they would like to donate points to the food pantry. A lot of the time, people didn’t realize how many points they had accrued.
To donate, the customer filled out a simple form at checkout with their name, card number, and the number of points they wanted to contribute.
Once a week or so, an employee would log into the loyalty account and move the donated points to the food pantry account.
For fun, we did a Western Day where staff dressed up in western wear and we posted reward posters on Facebook, asking our followers to vote for their favorite.
At the campaign’s conclusion, we issued a loyalty card to the food pantry with more than 300,000 points. They’ve been good about spreading out their use over a few months, so they didn’t wipe us out of our rewards items all at once.
Be upfront about a definitive end date for the campaign. We weren’t as clear from the beginning and had a few people still looking to donate after we closed it.
To keep the momentum going, we keep a plastic barrel in the store where people can continue to exchange their points for that month’s free or reduced items, and donate the items to the food pantry, which comes by once a week to collect the food.
We print out fliers each month that show what’s available for free or discounted with points, so it’s easy for shoppers to know what they can get with their reward points. The deals are also posted to social media and on our website.