I’ll take some peanuts, shaving cream, and my loyalty, please.

Photo (1)I needed a post-preview snack after Godspell tonight, so I marched over to the Rite-Aid on 50th St., and stocked up on my favorite . . . 99 cent bags of salted peanuts in the shell.  These guys are hard to find, so I bought a bunch of bags, a coke (surprise) and some shaving cream and headed to the check out counter.

The sales clerk started to ring me up and then asked, “Do you have a Rite-Aid card?”  When I said no, he stopped ringing, found one, scanned it in and handed it to me (it’s the black card in the pic to the right).  “This is on sale,” he said, pointing to the shaving cream and saving me a couple of bucks thanks to my new card.

I was buying the shaving cream no matter what, so some would say that he cost his company some money, right?  Not so much.

First of all, the savings on the shaving cream was only a couple of bucks, so it’s not like he discounted some way-overpriced-prescription-thanks-to-out-broken-health-care-system.

Second, his supervisors now that a little reciprocity goes a long way, and I might feel a little more loyalty to a store that went out of its way to save me money.

And third, he just put a business-card sized ad impression in my wallet, where I just might see it every day.

Stores like Rite-Aid face heavy competition these days (like Duane “I’m on more blocks than Starbucks” Reade), so these initiatives are more important that ever.

As more and more alternatives to the primary ticket sellers pop up all over the web, maybe a few loyalty programs might be just what our industry ordered.  We’ve got Audience Rewards already, but maybe one of the ways to battle the brokers is for each ticketing company to offer a $1 service fee giveback, for coming back and purchasing through the authorized seller (the $1 savings would probably be enough to encourage more folks to sign up for future discount blasts as well).  At Godspell, we’ve started a Lotto Loyalty program for those folks willing to come and try their luck more than 10 times.

When there’s a lot of competition in your market, it becomes even more important to create a close relationship with your customer.  And if you do it right, your results will be much more than peanuts.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.