NEW YORK — Customer response to Duane Reade's new eco-friendly loyalty initiative is exceeding expectations, according to the company.
While Duane Reade declined to provide specifics on how many shoppers have signed up for the “EcoClub” customer rewards program, it is pleased with initial membership numbers, and expects the number to grow as more shoppers become aware of it.
The Duane Reade EcoClub launched last month as a permanent addition to its FlexRewards program.
FlexRewards members get lower prices on hundreds of products per week throughout the store, plus earn 2 points on every $1 in qualified purchases. Members get $5 to spend in-store for every 500 points earned. EcoClub members get double points each time they buy an environmentally friendly product, identified via shelf tags and other methods. Shoppers can sign up at www.duanereade.com/ecoclub.
Duane Reade launched the EcoClub to foster loyalty among those who want to adopt greener lifestyles and habits.
The club allows the retailer to demonstrate its commitment to green living by offering customers value opportunities to purchase eco-friendly and organic products. While use of these products may represent small individual changes, it can have a meaningful impact on the environment, according to the company.
EcoClub is part of a new health, wellness and environmentally friendly initiative at the chain. Last month, Duane Reade started rolling out 250 eco-friendly household items, along with organic and other better-for-you foods and beverages.
“We are delighted to have developed eco-friendly and healthy offerings that we are confident will meet New Yorkers' increasing demand and interest in building green lifestyles,” Joe Magnacca, the company's chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.
Many of the items are marketed under the “Apt. 5 Goes Green,” a new sub-brand of Duane Reade's existing Apt. 5 private label for household products. Among them: Apt. 5 Goes Green 100% Degradable Trash Bags; Apt. 5 Goes Green 75% tree-free facial and bath tissue; and Apt. 5 Goes Green stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles.
Duane Reade is heavily promoting Apt. 5 Goes Green in the latest issue of the “Duane Reader,” a semi-annual publication filled with product news, specials, tips and historical notes about New York City.
On the first page of the 20-page publication is a description of the toilet tissue, which is 75% tree-free and made from a sugar cane by-product.
“Buying Apt. 5 Goes Green bath tissue is the easiest way to go green this spring,” the Duane Reader states. “Apt. 5 Goes Green 75% tree-free paper products are not only soft on you, but soft on the earth, too.”
During the first week of sales, the best sellers have been “Apt. 5 Goes Green” 75% tree-less bath tissue and facial tissues, Duane Reade re-usable Urban Luggage tote bag (retailing for 99 cents) and EcoSpiral compact fluorescent light bulbs, which are Energy Star-qualified and use 75% less energy, according to the company.
Also new are dozens of better-for-you personal care and food items marketed under Duane Reade's private labels and other exclusive brands. These include DR Delish Organic Salsa; DR Delish gluten-free ginger snaps; DR Delish granola & nut urban trail mix; and DR Delish organic lollipops. In personal care, new items include Organyc feminine hygiene products (exclusive to Duane Reade) and DR Rich Skin Crème.
Duane Reade decided to significantly expand its eco-friendly and organic product offerings after consumer research showed that New Yorkers are increasingly interested in going green, but in many cases lack a convenient shopping outlet to purchase green and eco-friendly products.
“We believe that every little bit counts, as we help New Yorkers make manageable changes to their everyday lives that, taken together, can have a meaningful impact,” Magnacca said.
The new environmentally friendly brands are a smart move for Duane Reade because of the rising number of consumers aware of and interested in green living, said Carla Casella, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities, New York.
“We continue to see consumers buying products that they feel better about buying,” Casella told SN.
Duane Reade has done a good job creating eye-catching packaging and prominently presenting the assortment in the store, Casella added.
“We've been enticed to try many of Duane Reade's new private-label products,” she said.