The author of a new Brief published by Forrester Research suggests some ways in which grocers could use loyalty programme data.
According to Robert Rubin, author of How to Unlock Loyalty Card Value, many grocers are wasting their loyalty card data. Most of them have invaluable purchase information for the majority of their customers at their fingertips, but do little more with it than target their weekly specials.
Rubin suggests that grocers should instead use the purchase histories of customers to offer them targeted promotions while they are actually shopping, using systems such as the Unipower Solutions one that Stop & Shop has piloted. This uses cart-mounted equipment to offer coupons based on purchase history, as well as information about the store and self checkout facilities.
Grocers could also use loyalty card data to make online shopping more attractive to shoppers who usually only shop off-line. (Another Forrester Report, Online Grocery's Second Wind, September 2001 reveals that online grocery shoppers spend US$1,200 more per year on groceries than off-line only shoppers).
Another idea would be to use the data to understand the customers' lifestyles, then use this understanding to market groups of products that fit these lifestyles.
Rubin predicts that retailers will seek to push technology into their customers' homes, to the extent of subsidising the additional costs that manufacturers incur in making refrigerators with an electronic interface that scans and re-orders groceries as they are used.
Clearly, all this technology will not appeal to everybody, and small grocers will enjoy a sales boost as the technophobes among consumers move away from high-tech supermarkets and back to the corner store where they can interact with real live people.
Related article: Home shopping: online or off-line?