Rite Aid Earns Excellence Award for Wellness Program

Rite Aid has been awarded the 2011 LEADER Award, sponsored by IBM, as determined by the Shopper Technology Institute, in recognition of wellness+, its free customer loyalty program.

The Shopper Technology Institute, a national trade organization focusing on best marketing practices using technology, annually presents the LEADER Awards for Excellence at its LEAD Marketing Conference. The award name is an acronym for loyalty, engagement analytics and digital applications. Rite Aid won in the loyalty category.

"From day one, we’ve been extremely proud of wellness+ and the innovative way it combines shopping discounts with health and wellness benefits," said Craig Riner, Rite Aid vice president, marketing. "To be recognized by our retail peers with a 2011 LEADER Award is welcome affirmation of what our 44 million members have resoundingly told the world — that the value of wellness+ is significant."

When it was launched chain-wide in April of 2010, wellness+ was billed as the drugstore industry’s first and only customer loyalty program to provide health and wellness benefits in addition to the shopping discounts and special prices.

"Rite Aid's launch of wellness+ was impressive for more reasons than growth in front-end and pharmacy sales," said John Karolefski, executive director of the Shopper Technology Institute, which conducted the awards program on behalf of the sponsor, IBM. "The program promotes good health and wellness by offering rewards such as free screenings for blood glucose and cholesterol. It also rewards purchases of eligible prescriptions. As such, it should be a model for the industry."

According to Rite Aid, wellness+ was chosen as the top-ranked and most-recommended loyalty program in the country by Zocalo Group Recommendation Index, an independent ranking of organic social media postings. Last month, Rite Aid launched wellness+ for diabetes, a new loyalty program offering exclusive resources and savings specifically to people living with diabetes and their caregivers.

Rite Aid was among 7 private companies, public corporations and product brands recognized at the third annual LEAD Marketing Conference in Chicago. For more on The Shopper Technology Institute, visit www.shoppertech.org.