PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle is heavily promoting a tie-in between its pharmacy department and its GetGo gas stations and convenience stores.
In the Cleveland market only, the chain has linked pharmacy to its aggressive fuelperks! reward program with full-page ads in the daily newspaper offering $1 off per gallon with new or transferred prescriptions. The chain is also using radio and its weekly circulars. The retailer has also linked the franchise Dress for Success Cleaners to the program, as well as prepaid gift cards.
This is in contrast to other retailers that limit their gas promotions to certain products, industry observers said. Giant Eagle offers one of the more generous gas discounts, they added: 10 cents per gallon for every $50 spent in the store, which accumulates until the discount is used or expires after three months.
While the pharmacy purchases have always been a part of the fuelperks! program, dry cleaning and gift cards were added recently, mainly due to point-of-sale and other systems integration challenges, said Daniel Donovan, Giant Eagle spokesman. The pharmacy promotion began late last month.
"There have been a lot of competitive pharmacy changes in the northeast Ohio marketplace." Donovan said. "Fuelperks! provides us with a competitive advantage to draw from these competitive changes. The $1 off per gallon offer is a special acquisition offer to grow our pharmacy customer base."
In a recent midday visit to a Giant Eagle store, SN found a line at the pharmacy counter. "We have seen an initial positive response to the pharmacy acquisition program. It's too early to tell the impact of dry cleaning and the retailer gift card program," Donovan said.
Bruce Stegmaier, chief operating officer of Dress for Success Cleaners, Santa Ana, Calif., said his company has noticed the difference since joining the fuel program. "Dry cleaning has only been part of fuelperks! for a couple of weeks, but dry cleaning and laundry sales have already increased substantially. We expect sales to continue to move in the right direction as more and more customers become aware of Dress for Success Cleaners' inclusion in fuelperks!"
Giant Eagle has made fuel an integral part of its marketing strategy, said Scott Wetzel, vice president, marketing and partner development, at the retailer's fuel program provider Excentus Corp., Dallas. "They are a perfect example of the power of fuel promotions."