Best Buy Creates Value for Loyalty Members


In a continued effort to bring more value to the members of its Reward Zone loyalty program, Best Buy has partnered with Mall Networks to create an online "mall" that allows members to take advantage of special offers and shop at more than 500 program partners, including Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dick's Sporting Goods, Lands' End, and Travelocity.

"We want to continue to offer something that's relevant to our customers, and good for us," says Amy Halford, senior manager of loyalty marketing for Reward Zone. "We offered a Reward Zone MasterCard about a year ago that allows them to get points faster, and this is in response to the fact that our customers like to shop around."

Mall Networks COO Ben Kaplan says his company, which provides the loyalty shopping platform, typically offers a client around 500 of its roughly 650 potential partners for vetting.

"We only deal with blue-chip partners, because there's an implicit endorsement by our clients and their loyalty programs of these companies," Kaplan says. Best Buy chooses which partners to include in the "mall," and can add or subtract partners at their discretion.

In Best Buy's case, direct competitors like Circuit City are left out, but Kaplan notes that other partners like Target, which offers electronics and other products that Best Buy offers, are included but "promoted in a way that doesn't highlight those similarities. Instead, Target is promoted as a general multicategory retailer."

"We felt that taking this step helps us engage more with customers and adds value to our currency of Reward Zone points, by allowing [customers] to earn more points at more stores," Halford says. "It's a more robust model. If they spend $2,500 or more through the program or on their Reward Zone MasterCard, they're raised to our Premier Silver Status tier, which provides them with additional point-earning opportunities and other services uniquely specific to Best Buy."

Such services include signed books by various authors, items signed by NASCAR driver Jeff Green, who's sponsored by Best Buy, and even a chance to win a guitar signed by the members of Coldplay, whose current tour is coponsored by the store.

Reward Zone mall launched in July, so Halford does not yet have data about its success, but says plans are already afoot to identify and add more partners to enhance the program further.