Sweetbay to Try and Build Loyalty Without a Card

Oct 15, 2004

By George Anderson

Sweetbay, Kash n’ Karry’s new supermarket banner, has said it will not offer a loyalty card to customers.

The decision to forego a card program was made because of the company’s decision to emphasize the quality of its offering over price. In addition, reports the Tampa Tribune, Sweetbay wants to offer low prices to all customers, not just those using a card.

Sweetbay intends to have pricing on a par with Kash n’ Karry stores, said Steve Smith, vice president of marketing for Kash n’ Karry, but it is presenting itself as a “lifestyle” store, first and foremost.

The two giants of Florida grocery retailing, Publix and Wal-Mart, do not offer loyalty card programs either.

Jim Neal of Atlanta, a retail consultant with Kurt Salmon Associates said Sweetbay’s decision makes sense. “The loyalty card program is not going to be sufficient to beat Wal-Mart on price, so why bother?” he asked.

Moderator’s Comments: Do you agree or disagree with Sweetbay’s decision to not offer a loyalty card to its shoppers?

Sweetbay’s strategy appears to be finding a way to out-Publix Publix. That’s no easy hill to climb, although it might be slightly easier than trying to
compete with Wal-Mart on price, which history tells us is a losing proposition.

George Anderson – Moderator

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