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Certified Oil Co., a Columbus, Ohio-based operator of gas stations and convenience stores in Ohio, is expanding its “Certified Savings Program,” -- a three-level customer loyalty program -- to grocery stores.
The program is being offered to both chains and independent grocers in and around Columbus, and will eventually expand to other geographic areas.
“The program provides a low-cost solution to enable grocery stores to provide market basket rewards to build sales,” said Wayne Wills, Certified’s merchandising director, and a former grocery industry manager. “Grocery partners will also enjoy additional traffic driven to their stores from our existing cardholder base.”
The Certified Savings program has been available in seven Certified stations for the past few months, and by extending the initiative to grocers and their customers, the company said it hopes to develop and maintain loyalty among current and future customers, while financially rewarding them for their continued patronage.
Through this new program, grocery partners will be able to reward customers with Certified Savings points to obtain fuel discounts of up to one dollar per gallon at participating Certified Oil locations. Unlike other programs that require complete point-of-sale system integration, Certified Savings requires minimal upfront costs, the company said.
The program will also benefit grocery partners by increasing their customer base, as Certified Savings is being expanded to other retail partners such as restaurants, drug stores and movie theaters, and those customers will also be directed to shop at participating grocers.
“By adding a variety of quality partners, Certified Savings card holders will be able to quickly earn valuable gasoline discounts for shopping at participating grocers and other retailers,” said Greg Ehrlich, COO of Certified Oil. “Consumers are looking for bargains now more than ever before, and Certified Savings provides grocery stores with a simple, cost-effective way to deliver added consumer value and grow market share.”
All Certified Savings cardholders, including customers of participating grocers, are provided with benefits at Certified convenience stores and gas stations. Membership levels are as follows:
--Level one benefits includes product discounts and automatic entry into club programs, in which customers buy a designated quantity of a product -- cups of coffee, for instance -- with the next one being free. At this level, members are rewarded with points on their purchases and redemption options that include gasoline discounts and free merchandise
--Level two (which also incorporates level one) cardholders are provided the option of receiving two cents off per gallon of gasoline for enrolling their card for Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment. The ACH debit payment plan allows the cardholder to transfer funds by authorizing a party (Certified, in this case) to electronically withdraw funds from the cardholder’s checking account. This basically converts the loyalty card into a payment vehicle similar to a debit card, but with significantly lower processing fees, enabling Certified to pass on some of the savings
--Level three (which includes levels one and two) cardholders are offered three cents off per gallon of gasoline for paying cash. The Certified Savings program is Ohio’s first multi-merchant coalition program for service stations providing consumers with gas rewards
Certified operates or supplies over 150 locations in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. The company maintains its own proprietary “Certified” fuel brand, and also distributes fuels for Sunoco, Marathon, Valero and Clark.