Young's Liquors and Vision

Fighting Breast Cancer

on 2010-07-27 Tony Pitale wrote

I’m sure like many of you, we are often asked by local charities to donate gift baskets of wine and spirits for fundraising events. At Young’s, if the charity is local and a true not-for-profit charitable organization, we always oblige. Call it a combined sense of helping a good cause and maintaining our good name in the community. This summer, however, working with Jim McMillan and Tony Pitale, we created a new way to help a needy charity, utilizing our loyalty card program as a way to offer our customers an opportunity to donate their loyalty card points. The program is off to a great start and has been very well received by our customers.

It came about when a local charity, the Manhasset Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer (MWCABC), asked us to donate a basket of cheer. Long Island, unfortunately, is a nationally known hot spot for breast cancer. The MWCABC, over the last ten years, has raised over a million dollars to help fund research organizations and to create an outreach program to assist those afflicted. The Coalition volunteers work long hours to raise funds for the group. We felt that there had to be more that we could do to help this organization – one that had done so much for such a worthy cause.

To provide some background, our loyalty card program, the Young’s Cost Cutter Card, was begun in February, 2005. The program rewards card holders with ten points per dollar spent, and pays cash to our customers when they hit certain point thresholds. We also offer triple Cost Cutter points on various products throughout the store and, we have contests that customers are automatically entered into when they buy certain products. Card history is also used to target specific customers with offers on products that their purchase history tells us they would enjoy. We now have over 5,000 customers who use the Cost Cutter Card and their purchases account for over half of our sales.

Working with Tony and Jim, we devised a process on Vision that allows our customers to tell the cashier that they wish to donate their Cost Cutter Card points to the MWCABC. The cashier simply checks off a membership box on a pop up window in Vision Register and, from that point forward, the customer’s points are “donated” to the charity. We run a monthly report to sweep the points to the charity account and we then match all points donated as our contribution to the charity. We’ve placed signage throughout the store letting our customers know that they can do this and we’ve gotten press coverage in the local paper to get the word out, as well as promoting the program in our weekly email. The MWCABC, as reciprocal marketing, also featured the program in the “What’s New” section on their site, www.manhassetbreastcancer.org.

We are delighted that we can create more value out of our Cost Cutter Card program and, in this case, help a worthy cause in their fight against a terrible disease. If you have questions about the program and how it operates, by all means, give me a call. I’d be delighted to discuss it with you. Finally, if you haven’t yet availed yourself of ICS’s loyalty card program, you are missing a huge opportunity to solidify your customer base, to create high powered, targeted marketing, and, in this case, partner with your customers to help an organization carry on important disease fighting work.

Ed Wassmer, Young’s Fine Wines & Spirits, (516) 627-1234