After years of resisting customer loyalty programs, Whole Foods Market will soon be rolling out a rewards initiative in select stores.
The chain of natural grocery stores is planning to unveil the program in Princeton, New Jersey in coming weeks, with a planned expansion to Philadelphia later this year, Michael Silverman, Whole Foods spokesman, stated in an email to Bloomberg. By “late 2015,” Whole Foods plan to have a nationwide rewards program in place.
The supermarket chain has never offered rewards cards and seldom offers deals. To stay competitive, the move comes amid increasing competition from markets that sell organic and products marketed to healthy conscious shoppers. In addition, Whole Foods will be discounting many items to compete with other big retailers like Wal-Mart, Trader Joe's and Kroger Co. that now offer natural and organic products.
Under the new program, customers will be provided a rewards card or be able to access their account through a mobile app downloaded from Apple. They can earn points that may used toward item discounts as well as “store experiences” like cooking classes. The Northeastern trial period is scheduled to last six to eight months.
Bloomberg reports that they will also start a new marketing campaign in the fall to boost sales.