Albertsons Cos. took a leap forward to land in the footsteps of Amazon, Walmart and Ahold Delhaize U.S., with the launch of a subscription delivery service, augmented shopper loyalty program and a new app. On a “transformation” journey since last year, the Boise, Idaho-based grocer has announced three innovations designed to improve the shopper experience: A free Deals & Delivery app, the new Albertsons for U shopper loyalty program and FreshPass, the company’s exclusive unlimited grocery delivery service with member-only perks.
“We have been working hard to revolutionize Albertsons Cos.’ digital offerings and enhance all aspects of the food experience and journey,” said Chris Rupp, EVP and chief customer and digital officer, in a statement. “We have been in lock-step with our customers and today’s launch of our new Deals & Delivery app, our Albertsons for U loyalty program and FreshPass subscription service exemplifies our commitment to innovation and customer service, meeting shoppers where they want to shop, whether that be in-store, curbside or at home.”
FreshPass is a paid subscription program that gives free unlimited delivery to shoppers on orders over $30, and exclusive perks. Subscribers can also tap into a $5 promotional credit; 5% off O Organics and Open Nature products; rewards that don’t expire; a monthly Starbucks perk; and access to a VIP customer service phone line. The FreshPass subscription does not apply to orders placed through third-party platforms.
Shoppers can choose a monthly plan for $12.99 per month or an annual plan for $99 a year, plus applicable taxes. The annual plan averages out to $8.25 per month, the company said. When customers with a FreshPass subscription shop online, they can choose delivery and at checkout to see the delivery fee has been waived.
The price point of the FreshPass unlimited delivery service is similar to what others like Walmart and Ahold Delhaize charge for their services. Amazon was charging $119 a year for Amazon Prime, featuring unlimited grocery delivery from its Whole Foods Markets and video streaming, but earlier this month, the Seattle-based company announced it would begin charging a $9.95 delivery fee for Prime Member Whole Foods shoppers in select markets, including Boston; Chicago; the greater Detroit area; Manchester, N.H.; Portland, Maine; and Providence, R.I.
Albertsons new loyalty program raises the bar with new personalized deals, rewards and perks, the company said. “It encompasses the best of the previous loyalty program, Just for U, and existing members are automatically enrolled,” added Albertsons. The program will use the name of each banner under the Albertsons umbrella, including Safeway for U, Albertsons for U, and Jewel-Osco.
Membership is free, and new members immediately earn $5 off their next in-store or online purchase of $25 or more of qualifying items. After that, members earn points that can be redeemed for groceries and gas on nearly every dollar spent—a point for every $1 spent on groceries and two points for every $1 spent on gift cards. Perks also include personalized deals, a free item every month (up to a $10 value), a special birthday treat and more.
The Albertsons mobile app enables U members to view and clip digital coupons and personalized deals, redeem rewards for free gas and groceries, receive cash discounts, create an in-store shopping list, place online orders for delivery and DriveUp & Go, and more.
“Our loyalty program continues to show strong growth,” said Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran at an investor conference earlier this year. “We now have 24.3 million registered users, an increase of 23.5% year over year, and these customers are spending 2.5 times more on average than nonregistered customers. In addition, actively engaged households in our loyalty programs have increased 17.5% year over year and encompass nearly 40% of transactions and 50% of sales.” These customers spend more than four times that of nonactive customers, he added.
The New Deal and Delivery
Albertsons’ new Deals & Delivery app combines the company’s two most-used services, allowing customers to shop, save and redeem rewards all in one place—whether in-store or online, the company said. The new app integrates both the Albertsons for U loyalty program and the FreshPass subscription service program.
Shoppers can download by store name across Albertsons’ 20-plus banners, including Safeway, Albertsons, Vons and Jewel-Osco. Customers with the Deals & Delivery app will also benefit from an integrated in-store experience, says the company, which points to features including digital wallet and app coupon integration, list builders, and a convenient pay-from-app feature.