Rite Aid Corp.'s wellness+ customer rewards program has received the Shopper Technology Institute's 2011 LEADER Award.

Rite Aid, wellness+, customer rewards program, customer loyalty program, 2011 LEADER Award, Shopper Technology Institute, Craig Riner, drug store, health and wellness benefits, IBM, LEAD Marketing Conference, John Karolefski

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Rite Aid customer loyalty program honored

October 14th, 2011

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp.'s wellness+ customer rewards program has received the Shopper Technology Institute's 2011 LEADER Award.

Rite Aid said Friday that it won the award, sponsored by IBM, in the loyalty category. The award name, LEADER, is an acronym for "loyalty, engagement analytics and digital applications."

"From day one, we've been extremely proud of wellness+ and the innovative way it combines shopping discounts with health and wellness benefits," Craig Riner, vice president of marketing at Rite Aid, said in a statement. "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."

The Shopper Technology Institute, a national trade group focusing on best marketing practices using technology, presents the LEADER Awards for Excellence at its annual LEAD Marketing Conference. Rite Aid was among seven private companies, public corporations and product brands honored at the third annual LEAD Marketing Conference in Chicago, attended by more than 200 executives from retail, consumer products and related companies.

When Rite Aid launched wellness+ chainwide in April 2010, it noted that the program was the industry first customer loyalty program to provide health and wellness benefits along with shopping discounts and special prices.

"Rite Aid's launch of wellness+ was impressive for more reasons than growth in front-end and pharmacy sales," stated John Karolefski, executive director of the Shopper Technology Institute, which conducted the awards program on behalf of 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."

Rite Aid added that wellness+ also was chosen as the nation's top-ranked and most-recommended loyalty program by the Zocalo Group Recommendation Index, an independent ranking of organic social media postings. And last month, the drug store chain rolled out wellness+ for diabetes, a new loyalty program offering resources and savings specifically for people with diabetes and their caregivers.