Cool retail programs add holiday warmth

November 25, 2013

Some chains find warm ways that honor the spirit of the season click with consumers.

To many consumers, the holidays are about sharing and helping others to a better year ahead.

However, in the mad rush for sales, many retailers stress item-price and seem to forget this aspect of the season.  Others develop artful, sensitive ways to bring these themes into their marketing and differentiate with cool programs in November and December.  The examples that follow go beyond the significant Feeding America and other hunger relief programs that many supermarkets and brands support:

  • Pay it forward.  Kroger hosted parties on November 9 to thank loyal customers at its 121 stores in the mid-Atlantic region, reported The Charleston (WV) Gazette.  At the events, which ran from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., people could sample meat, bakery and deli treats and see demos for preparing holiday foods.  On the same day, the chain launched its five-week-long Salvation Army Angel Tree program, where people could “adopt” a needy child for $25.  The funds provide the child’s family with a gift card for a Christmas meal. 
  • Power of the click.  Amazon launched its website in late-October as a corporate charity vehicle.  Customers who order from this URL can direct Amazon to donate 0.5% of their purchase total to a charity of their choice. According to The Associated Press, people can choose from nearly 1 million different organizations across the United States, and there is no cap to Amazon’s donations.  Other than digital media purchases, essentially the same items at the same prices as on the main website and mobile app qualify for this program.
  • A breath of fresh air. The Hy-vee store in Topeka, KS teamed with St. Francis Health Center between noon and 2 p.m. on November 21 to give customers a voucher for a free frozen turkey for every pack of cigarettes they turned in, says the chain’s Facebook post, which noted the store awarded 200 turkeys.  (SEE PIC FURTHER DOWN)
  • Different kind of kick from coffee.  The Starbucks ’tweet a coffee’ program extends the chain’s two-year-old e-gifting platform, and enables consumers who link their Starbucks and Twitter accounts to spontaneously gift $5 digitally.  The beta version launched October 28—and through November 6, the first 100,000 customers who gifted with a Visa card also received a $5 Starbucks Card e-gift as a courtesy from Visa and Starbucks.