INDIANAPOLIS -- In an effort to broaden the reach of its frequent-shopper program, Marsh Supermarkets here has linked its Fresh IDEA program to a shopping mall-sponsored loyalty program, allowing shoppers to earn points whether they're buying lettuce or lamps.
Jodi Marsh, director of community relations for the retailer, said tying Marsh's Fresh IDEA frequent-shopper program to the Mallperks program will give shoppers an incentive to shop at both Marsh supermarkets and at participating mall stores. The program was launched Aug. 6.
"They're getting more value for their dollar, and that's what we want," Marsh said. "This is the first time the mall has partnered with a supermarket, and we're very excited. Customers can buy food and they're earning points, and they can buy something from a mall store and they're earning points."
Marsh said shoppers will be inclined to shop at a Marsh store or a LoBill Supermarket, also operated by the chain, because they know the Fresh IDEA points they earn add up quickly when combined with Mallperks points, Marsh said.
Customers earn one point for every dollar spent, whether shopping at a Marsh-owned supermarket or at a store in one of 12 participating Indiana malls owned by the Simon DeBartolo Group here. Participating malls include four Indianapolis malls as well as malls in Bloomington, Kokomo, Anderson, and Lafayette, Ind.
Marsh customers take their supermarket receipts to a customer service booth at a participating mall where the dollars they spent at Marsh are entered into the Mallperks system, Marsh said. Customers can then spend the points for discounts on items featured in a Mallperks catalog. Marsh Supermarkets will offer specialty items in the catalog. Cardholders can redeem those points for discounts on mall merchandise, travel and specialty Marsh goods like fruit baskets, cheese plates and glazed hams.
The exclusive arrangement between Marsh Supermarkets and Simon DeBartolo Group prevents other Indiana supermarkets from participating in the program. Retailers are always looking for new ways to distinguish their loyalty programs in the marketplace and partnering with other types of retailers is one effective way to do it, industry observers said.
A shopper already enrolled in the three-year-old Fresh IDEA loyalty program at Marsh and LoBill Supermarkets can join the Mallperks program for free. Normally, the charge is $5. Customers who are not already members can sign up for both programs at the same time.