May 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

Godiva sweetens the deal for loyal customers

Chocolate maker and retailer Godiva Chocolatier Inc. is launching its first loyalty rewards program that offers free chocolate each month as well as free shipping to its members.

 

Chocolate maker and retailer Godiva Chocolatier Inc. is launching The Godiva Chocolate Rewards Club loyalty program on May 29. Customers who sign up get a free piece of chocolate each month at one of the company’s retail stores and free shipping on their first online purchase of $10 or more.

The company started developing the program in 2005. “We discussed how to gain more intimacy with our current customers and appeal to a broader customer base,” says Mike Giresi, senior vice president and chief information officer. “Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days where customers experience our brand. On an everyday basis, we thought about what we can do motivate more people to do so.”

Godiva worked with loyalty program consultants Brieley+Partners as well as web design and consulting firm Fry Inc. and marketing technology company Acxiom Inc. to shape the program. Consumers can sign up for the program in stores or at Godiva.com/rewards.

“In the pilot, we have been happy with the traction and response,” says Giresi. The company hopes to sign up 400,000 customers in the first year. Customers who join before June 12th will be eligible for a drawing to win a chocolate party with hors d’oeuvres and chocolate refreshments for 25 friends.

While the loyalty program’s primary aim is to drive traffic to its retail stores, Godiva, which will not release specific sales figures, sees the Internet as an important growth channel. “We are confident that our Internet customers will benefit as well.”

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