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The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Kroger's "recently launched Boost loyalty program that provides delivery discounts has already taken flight, thanks largely to Greater Cincinnati customers."

According to the story, Kroger chief merchant and marketing officer Stuart Aitken, calling Boost "the next generation of loyalty program," says that "in just a few short months, Boost membership is growing rapidly."

The Courier writes that Kroger "rolled out Boost in November in four markets: Cincinnati, Atlanta, Columbus and Indianapolis … Aitken said Kroger’s Ocado automated warehouse and distribution facility that opened a year ago in Monroe, just northwest of Cincinnati, provides the best example of Boost’s growth. Of the Kroger customers who use that Monroe facility, 30% have signed up for Boost, he said."

The piece explains that "customers pay either $59 or $99 a year to join membership program Boost by Kroger Plus. For $59, customers get free next-day delivery on their orders. At $99, Kroger provides free delivery in as little as two hours. And all Boost members get double their usual fuel points earned on orders of $35 or more as well as discounts on Kroger specialty brands.

"Kroger figures an average customer can save $1,057 a year. That assumes two deliveries a week and spending $91 per week on groceries."

KC's View:

The position here long has been that anything retailers can do in terms of loyalty programs, especially those that dovetail with subscription and replenishment models, to make themselves the first and often best choice for their shoppers, is the definition of differentiation in 21st century retailing.

The benchmark is Amazon Prime and Amazon's Subscribe & Save.  That should be the model for retailers - how do we achieve the same level of continuity and loyalty among our shoppers?